Largely unseen by the public, Alan Mushroom Kapuler has been painting modern art canvases for most of his adult life.
Using modern art to reflect the major challenges of our times
If you have watched our earlier videos of Alan Mushroom Kapuler, you know that he’s a man of effusive ideas and enriching accomplishments.
Trained as a molecular biologist, in the 60’s Kapuler became disenchanted with the whole idea of making poisons to control weeds and pests and for their use during the Vietnam war. As a lifelong hippie that began then, he turned toward the growing of food while living in a commune. After-all, he says, someone had to grow the food if they were to eat.
This led to a lifetime of work developing open-pollinated, open source organic seeds ideally suited for an organic farming and gardening regiment. He built a spacious greenhouse—96′ x 36’w x 16’h—23 years ago to test what tropic and semi-tropical plants (bananas, citrus, etc.) could be grown in temperate climates. There he also grows a variety of the Andean root plants such as Yacon, Mashua and Oca that were once a healthy staple of the Native American diet. His boundless creative mind arranges the widely diverse plants into a kinship garden layout, a scientifically accurate way to visually represent their place in the evolutionary tree of life.
But there’s another side to Mushroom that may surprise you. He’s also a modern artist who has been diligently painting for almost 50 years. His colorful and often abstract images express his expansive worldview and deeply held personal perspectives on life. Says Kapuler of his work: “this is using modern art talking about the issues of our times and the issues are relevant and the paintings are unique.” As you see in the video, his paintings are deeply moving and they follow major themes that reflects the world at-large.
Summary of Kapuler’s central themes:
(not listed in any particular order of importance):
- Struggle for the Earth – In Alan Kapuler’s own words, these paintings reflect: “…the struggle for the earth is a struggle with the military, the struggle with totalitarianism, the struggle with religions that believe the only people who matter are their people and on and on. We are still in the middle of the struggle.”
- Karma of Our Times (KOOTS) – As we go through life, we accumulate experiences and impressions from the people and events that influence and help shape our individual lives.“It means everything that you face that becomes embedded in your mind and perception that you have to deal with.” Kapuler is asking, “how do you get from the illusory base of reality to a significant correspondence to existence as it is?”
- The Earth is in Our Hands – Quite literally so, but in an abstract manner, the precarious yet enduring quest of all living things to survive. As Kapuler points out in the video, we face the threat of the sixth major extinction of plants and animals over a half-billion years.
- Hyper Dimensional Character Analysis (HDCA) – Not directly represented in the video but an important theme in Kapuler’s work. Kapuler compares ‘HDCA’ with Picasso and other cubists who greatly influenced his own style. They (the cubists), says Kapuler, “painted people by defracting them into subsets of pieces of their faces and bodies. That was interesting.” Kapuler takes this concept of a fragmented view and seeks to extend it further: how radical a view of a character can one paint? He experiments over time and arrives at his own answers while his paintings continue to evolve.
A time of great unease as the struggle continues
We are living in an extraordinary period of political uncertainty and unsettling times. And yet, humanity has faced very challenging times in it’s past. In Kapuler’s paintings and also in his words and entire life’s work, there’s a deep wisdom and optimism he expresses that offers a welcome counter-balance to the fear and despair gripping the world.
Modern art, Kapuler argues, offers a way to look at the world through a different set of eyes and different perspectives of what’s possible to achieve.
In the video, Kapuler inquires to the sane among us: “Can we finally wake up and know that we do not need to use petroleum products to run automobiles? We do not need nuclear energy to boil water. We can have other more intelligent solutions. Put solar cells on everybody’s roof on the whole United States and let’s get out of the mess about fuel, about function, about cooperating to make a world where everybody can get an education. Can’t everybody get an education and not go into debt? Can’t everybody have a chance? Everybody needs a chance otherwise we don’t have a chance.”
Alan Kapuler: Kinship Garden and Greenhouse Tour
Alan Kapuler: His Garden and Thoughts on Life
Alan Kapuler: Man of Science, Ideas, and Humanity (video)
Alan Kapuler: Man of Science, Ideas, and Humanity -2 (video)
Alan Kapuler: Man of Science, Ideas, and Humanity -3 (video)
Alan Kapuler: Man of Science, Ideas, and Humanity -4