About the Artist

Mia Kaplan's Painting Porch at her Lacombe Studio. 

Mia Kaplan's Painting Porch at her Lacombe Studio. 

Mia Kaplan is a painter and sculptor from Southeast Louisiana. She earned a degree in Drawing and Printmaking from the Memphis College of Art, and has had her work included in many publications: Artforum, Food & Wine, Fitness Magazine, New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles, Country Roads Magazine, Modern Farmer, The Louisiana Review, and more. She exhibits nationally in galleries, museums, and public places. Her work is driven by an interest in transformational qualities and patterns found in nature as told through her personal process of documenting life in the marshes and swamps of her hometown, and through sculptural abstraction of natural borders, landscapes, wildflowers, and refuges. Though she began painting and selling her work at the age of fourteen, her passionate focus continues to allow her to share her unique creative spirit, love, and appreciation for life with others. 

Kaplan was born in Summit, New Jersey, and grew up in Slidell, Louisiana. Raised primarily by her mother's side, which included her mother, older brother, stepfather, aunt, uncle, cousins, and grandparents, most of Mia's days after school were spent with her grandparents, who were Spaniards raised during the dictatorship of Franco. Both her grandfather "Poppy" and grandmother "Abuelita" experienced many painful losses early in life: both had lost their parents as teens, and lived in poverty till immigrating to the United States in the mid 1950s. Mia, consequentially, came to a foundation of understanding life through their eyes. Listening to their stories of overcoming hardship instilled a powerful sense of gratitude. 

"Living in the deep south for most of my life, I felt like sort of an outsider...I found refuge in classical piano lessons, working in my mom's beauty salon, long bike rides, my Abuelita's paella, family flamenco parties, and later as a drummer in my high school marching band, as a painter of theatrical sets in high school, and in the music scene of Memphis in art school. As an adult, my focus became on finding peace through natural observation and transformation, studying and documenting the universal connections and patterns that tie everything back together, and making work that represents my ideal for growth and humanity. As an artist, wife, and mother of two daughters, my life remains dedicated to creating an understanding, and to sharing insights about the creative process with young artists so that they might also feel empowered by their own creativity."

In 2014, Kaplan created "Life on Paper", a workshop series for ages 9 - 15, to accomplish the goal of making mentorship-based learning free to young artists in her hometown. By partnering with Northlake Nature Center, a 400-acre natural reserve, students and Kaplan discuss what it means to create a drawing, where to begin, and learn a variety of techniques in observational drawing, paper making, and collage. To register a student (class size is limited), please contact rue@northlakenature.org.

To address a demand for her work to become accessible to a wider audience, in 2016 Kaplan created Flowering Blues. The company offers handmade products such as table napkins and hand towels, and most recently began collaborating with other Louisiana artists to offer one-of-a-kind patchwork quilts and luxury handmade furniture. 

Kaplan and her husband, photographer Cedric Angeles, live in Lacombe, Louisiana.

Download Curriculum Vitae

Portrait by Nathan Rocky

Portrait by Nathan Rocky


MORE STORIES:

"LA landscapes come to life with Lacombe artist's latest exhibition" by Sarah Bonnette, Times Picayune, August 2016 http://www.nola.com/community/st-tammany/index.ssf/2016/08/latest_exhibition_by_lacombe_a.html

"Artist mixing colors of Tennessee River with sites and scents of New Orleans in latest River Gallery exhibit" by Susan Pierce, Times Free Press, June 2016 http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/life/entertainment/story/2016/jun/05/insideout-river-gallery-features-works-mikapl/369008/

"Summer Brunch" written and styled by Valorie Hart, New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles. Summer 2016 http://www.myneworleans.com/New-Orleans-Homes-Lifestyles/Summer-2016/Summer-Brunch/

"Painter and sculptor Mia Kaplan Wants You To Watch Her Work In The Bluff View Sculpture Garden" by Richard Winham, WUTC. June 2016 http://wutc.org/post/painter-and-sculptor-mia-kaplan-wants-you-watch-her-work-bluff-view-sculpture-garden#stream/0

"Artist Mia Kaplan Sculpture Painting Time-Lapse" by Ole Miss News. April 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEmfHoXE8Ns&feature=youtu.be

"Mia Kaplan’s Swamp Flower re-blooms at UM Museum" by Austin Hille, The DM Online. April 2016 https://thedmonline.com/publish-immediatley-mia-kaplans-swamp-flower-re-blooms-um-museum-ag/

"Artist to Paint Outdoor Sculpture at UM Museum" by Kirsten McGill, Ole Miss News. April 2016 http://news.olemiss.edu/artist-paint-outdoor-sculpture-um-museum/

"Artist Mia Kaplan creates art from nature's inspirations" by Sarah Bonnette, Times Picayune. July 2015 http://www.nola.com/community/st-tammany/index.ssf/2015/07/artist_mia_kaplan_creates_art.html

"Park(ing) Day miniature public parks on Julia Street during Art for Art's Sake" by Doug MacCash, for Nola.com http://www.nola.com/arts/index.ssf/2014/10/parking_day_miniature_public_p.html

"Poydras Street Sculptures on Parade" by Deepak Saini, for WGNO's "News With a Twist". http://wgno.com/2014/10/02/poydras-street-sculptures-on-parade/

"Gjurasic Factor: Find Your Pen Pal" by Alexandra Gjurasic, for PYRAGRAPH, September 2013 http://www.pyragraph.com/2013/09/gjurasic-factor-find-your-pen-pal/

"Making Her Garden Grow" by Fred Cohn, for NOLAwoman. March 21, 2012 http://nolawoman.com/articles/spotlight/arts/187/

"Sculpture For New Orleans is a plus for Poydras Street" by Doug MacCash, for the Times Picayune http://www.nola.com/arts/index.ssf/2013/03/sculpture_for_new_orleans_is_a.html

"There's Something About Mia" by Julia Reed, for Fetch Magazine. http://www.fetchmagbytaigan.com/art/theres-something-about-mia/

http://www.nola.com/community/st-tammany/index.ssf/2011/11/art_east_artistic_inspirations.html
 

ARTICLES WRITTEN BY MIA:

"The Myth and the Mentor", for PYRAGRAPH, April 2015 http://www.pyragraph.com/2015/04/the-myth-and-the-mentor/

"How to Inventory Artwork", for PYRAGRAPH, April 2014 http://www.pyragraph.com/2014/04/how-to-inventory-artwork/

"Gallerist vs. Artist: What I learned about the art world by pretending to be a gallery director" for PYRAGRAPH, January 2014 http://www.pyragraph.com/2014/01/what-i-learned-pretending-gallery-director/

"Beyond the Canvas: How my issues turned into a dress" for PYRAGRAPH, March 2014 http://www.pyragraph.com/2014/03/making-your-work-accessible/

"Why I Teach Young People to Draw" for PYRAGRAPH, December 2013 http://www.pyragraph.com/2013/12/why-i-teach-young-people-to-draw/