Born in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1975, Derek Kaplan is a self-taught, abstract artist now living and working in New York City. As a young boy growing up in Southern Africa, Derek was inspired by the colors and the natural beauty of the tropical grasslands that make up the African savanna. Rainfall was infrequent during the long dry season, but when it came, the clouds and storms that accompanied it inspired Derek’s earliest paintings.
Throughout his school years, Derek excelled at art and gained recognition by his teachers. In fact, his high school art teacher was so impressed with Derek’s work that he encouraged him to advance his studies in art after high school, but Derek decided to pursue a more financially stable path. At the age of 21, Derek moved to London where he lived for 15 years. While always dreaming of going back to painting full-time, he pursued many different career paths and entrepreneurial ventures. Derek finally decided to become a full time artist and began selling his work privately through word of mouth to friends and to collectors.
Derek had his first solo show in June, 2013 at the Couture Gallery Contemporary Art Space in Stockholm, Sweden. Members of the Swedish Royal family attended the opening reception and all of the works on exhibit were sold on that very evening. Shortly thereafter Derek had his first exhibit at a gallery in the Chelsea Art District in Manhattan where he repeated his success in Stockholm by again selling all of the works on exhibit. In March, 2014, Derek exhibited new work at a gallery on Bleecker Street in Manhattan’s West Village. It met with a similar response. He continues to sell to a growing list of private clients and, in addition, his works have been used to help stage multi-million dollar properties in Manhattan’s demanding real estate market.
Derek currently lives in New York City. He is married to Fredrik Eklund, the noted New York realtor.
Derek’s philosophy of art is simple: he thrives on abstract painting as it allows his carefree spirit the freedom to create acting on impulse, driven by instinct. He desires to create visceral works that engage his viewer, triggering a sensory response and strong emotion within them. He aims to create artworks that come to life, almost becoming their own life form, while pleasuring the eye and hinting at a world that lies deep beyond the surface of his paintings.
It is through painting that Derek shares his soul and his own personal discovery with the world. He continues to invent his story by painting.