David LaPlantz: Biography

David LaPlantz was born in Toledo, Ohio and grew up in Northwestern Ohio. His formative years were spent in Genoa, a small rural farming town. LaPlantz received his BS Degree in Art (1966) from Bowling Green State University, Ohio where he studied with Hal Hasselschwert. Graduate study, with Richard Thomas (MFA, 1969), took place at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan where he majored in Metalsmithing.

LaPlantz began his teaching career at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico (1967-68). From there he went on to teach at the Flint Community Junior College, Flint, Michigan (1968-69), Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado (1969-70), San Diego State University, San Diego, California (1970-71) and finally Humboldt State University, Arcata, California (1971-2002). During the academic year 1977-78, he was a visiting artist and taught at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio.

LaPlantz is included in Who’s Who in American Art and Who’s Who in the West and was named Humboldt State University’s “Outstanding Professor” in 1981. He received a Fulbright Grant in 1985 to travel throughout New Zealand to conduct master jewelry workshops, and received the Humboldt State University “Scholar of the Year” Award in 1994.

From 1967 through 2002, LaPlantz led an energetic dual life as both a full time jewelry and metalsmithing teacher and full time studio artist. Balancing his precious time between the two, he carved out a career comprised of imparting knowledge and creating art jewelry and sculpture, while trying to retain his sanity. LaPlantz is currently a full time studio artist living on the high desert of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

LaPlantz has always been an active, productive jeweler and metalsmith. He seems to fluctuate back and forth between jewelry and social commentary sculpture. His most recent jewelry involves the use of Vegetable Ivory (tagua nut) and /or industrially painted aluminum, which he engraves, stacks and cold connects together.

LaPlantz’s sculptural pieces visually explore more political and philosophical topics such as blacklisting in the entertainment industry, payola scandals in the music industry and in radio, along with the “spoken word” as demonstrated in his ‘Art Microphones.’ Making the ‘verbal visual, realizing and proving that microphones never lie’ is a platform LaPlantz enjoys standing upon to question certain contemporary verbal statements. Sometimes as a breather, he even creates Artists’ Books.

His jewelry and metalsmithing are represented in numerous permanent collections including: Schmuckmuseum, Pforzheim, Germany; Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Museum, Washington, DC; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI; and National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan, among others. LaPlantz has exhibited regionally, nationally and internationally since 1966.

Since 1988, he has written the textbook, Artists Anodizing Aluminum, The Sulfuric Acid Process and co-edited Jewelry/Metalwork Surveys 1991 #2 and #3 with the late Shereen LaPlantz. In addition to writing or editing books, he has also produced three instructional videos on Aluminum Anodizing, Chain Mail/Chain Mesh and Cold Connections for metal and mixed media.