Chuck Caplinger Lizard Mural, Twentynine Palms, CA

meet the artist, Chuck Caplinger


Chuck Caplinger’s professional art career dates back to the 1960s when he worked with Tech Productions and later RCA Service Co., which held the graphics contract with
Artist Chuck Caplinger NASA at George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Caplinger worked as an illustrator and art director of the Space Concepts Department, servicing NASA Director Dr. Wernher von Braun’s Research and Development Department.

Returning to Houston, Texas, in late 1965, Caplinger continued to work in the creative field of design, illustration, and art direction. He created his popular series “Hollywood Faces” and was commissioned to paint portraits of then current stars like Sammy Davis Jr.; actors Sal Mineo, Tom Ewell, Lisa Hartman Black, Bob Crane; comedian Rich Little; and many others.

In 1979 Caplinger relocated to Hollywood, California, to work with film distributor Lone Star Pictures International. In 1987 Caplinger married actress Holgie Forrester and, in 1997, the couple established their new creative base, Desert Art Studio & Gallery, in the Mojave Desert community of Twentynine Palms, California. In their inspiring dome home next to Joshua Tree National Park, he now creates oil paintings of desert landscapes and desert wildlife, commissioned portraits, and murals of the southwest.

Caplinger has also been instrumental in
29! Ribbon Cuttingpromoting the arts and cultural tourism in Twentynine Palms and throughout the Joshua Tree Gateway Communities, co-founding in 2001 the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council and the annual Open Studio Art Tours, now called the Hwy 62 Art Tours. In 2004, he co-founded a public arts program for the City of Twentynine Palms--Art in Public Places--and the Public Arts Advisory Committee (PAAC), and is Chair Emeritus.

In 2009, Caplinger designed and donated the concept for the City’s iconic 29! sculpture, a 7-1/2-ft. tall by 13-ft. long steel sculpture positioned at the western entrance to downtown Twentynine Palms, and in 2010 created a “29” branding logo for the city.

Caplinger regularly exhibits his works in group and solo exhibitions. A series of his paintings were featured in Southwest Art Magazine, and his “Tribute to Marilyn” mural was exhibited in the Hollywood Entertainment Museum in Los Angeles. In the fall of 2001, his paintings were featured at the Edward-Dean Museum in Cherry Valley, CA. The exhibit, titled “The West—From the Reservation to the Range—A Retrospective,” also featured the museum’s collection of bronzes by Russell and Remington. His award-winning creations hang in public and private collections around the world, and his historical murals are represented in cities throughout California and Texas.

Currently, Chuck Caplinger is available for portrait, painting, and mural commissions and consultations; one-on-one painting instruction in his studio; and group painting demonstrations.


29 Palms Sculpture

Promoting Arts & Tourism

Murals – Within a year of moving to Twentynine Palms (Spring 1997), I joined the board of Action Council for 29 Palms, the organization responsible for the City of Twentynine Palms’ wonderful “Oasis of Murals” program (and the organization that had commissioned me to paint a “Desert Storm Homecoming” mural for them in 1995). When the opportunity arose for our community to host the Global Mural Conference 2000, I volunteered to chair the event, and for the next 2 years my planning team and I worked diligently to present an event worthy of the task. Being a relatively small community with few choices for venues and services, we nevertheless pulled it off, and the event was considered to be a huge success. That was in October of 2000. ...READ MORE

Artist's Resume

With a commercial art career dating back to 1960, Chuck Caplinger, a native Texan of German and Cherokee Indian lineage, relocated from Houston, Texas, to California in 1980, where he operated Caplinger Studio in Hollywood.  In 1997 he moved to Twentynine Palms, CA, where he established his world headquarters--Desert Art Studio & Gallery.  Here, on the edge of the Mojave Desert, next to Joshua Tree National Park, he concentrates on oil portraits, desert landscape and wildlife paintings, and murals of the Southwest.

Chuck Caplinger’s paintings and portraits have been represented in public and private collections, group and solo gallery exhibitions, murals in Southern California and Texas, and featured in Southwest Art Magazine. His “Tribute to Marilyn,” a 3’6” x 8’ mural of the life of Marilyn Monroe, was featured in the Hollywood Entertainment Museum in Los Angeles, CA (2001-2006).


•  Portrait of Bob Burke for the lobby of the Bob Burke San Bernardino County building in Joshua Tree, CA, unveiled by County Supervisor Neil Derry and Yucca Valley Town Manager Mark Nuami (Nov. 16, 2012)

• “29!” Steel Sculpture for Twentynine Palms, CA, installed and dedicated by City of Twentynine Palms Mayor pro tem Steve Flock and Public Arts Advisory Committee (May 1, 2009)

•  Joshua Tree National Park Art Festival, Oasis Visitor Center, Twentynine Palms, CA, juried art  festival exhibitor (April 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
•  Hwy 62 Art Tours, Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council, participating exhibitor [formerly Open Studio Art Tours], Desert Art Studio & Gallery, Twentynine Palms, CA (Oct. 2002 to 2013)
•  Art in Public Places Exhibitions, Twentynine Palms Visitor Center & Gallery (2010 to 2013)
•  29 Palms Art Gallery, Twentynine Palms, CA, Desert paintings solo show (March 2013)
•  Tumbleweed Gallery, Borrego Springs, CA, featured artist (March 2013)
•  29 Palms Art Gallery, Twentynine Palms, CA, judged group exhibitions (2010, 2011, 2012)
•  Chaparral Artists judged group exhibitions, Twentynine Palms, CA, (2010, 2011, 2012)
•  Art Fx Gallery, Yucca Valley, CA, featured artist (2012)
•  29 Palms Art Gallery, Twentynine Palms, CA, “East Meets West” solo show (Oct. 2010)
•  Art in Public Places, Twentynine Palms City Hall, “Desert Images” solo show (Oct./Nov. 2009)
•  “Fall into Winter,” Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council juried group exhibition (Nov. 2008)
•  29 Palms Art Gallery, Twentynine Palms, CA, “Eclectic Mix” solo show (Sept./Oct. 2007)
•  Hi-Desert Water District, Yucca Valley, CA, “Desert Rainstorms” solo show (Sept. 2007)
•  M. Hale Gallery, Palm Springs, CA, “Hollywood Faces” solo exhibit (Dec. 2006-2007)
•  A Roadside Attraction, Twentynine Palms, CA, “Marilyn Visits...” retrospective paintings of Marilyn Monroe (Oct./Nov./Dec. 2006)
•  Water Canyon, Yucca Valley, CA, solo exhibition (April/May 2006)
•  29 Palms Art Gallery, Twentynine Palms, CA, MBCAC “Heads” group exhibition (May 2006)
•  Morongo Valley Art Colony Annual Spring Show, judged group exhibition (April 2006)
•  29 Palms Artists’ Guild, “Members Show” judged group exhibition (April 2006)
•  City of Norco “Art of the American West” annual judged exhibition, Norco, CA (2004, 2005, 2006)
•  Open Studio Art Tours, “The Mystical Desert” duo show with International night sky photographer Wally Pacholka (three-time winner Time-Life Picture of the Year award), at Desert Art Studio & Gallery, Twentynine Palms, CA (2005, 2006)
•  29 Palms Inn, Twentynine Palms, CA, “Desert Dreaming” solo exhibition (Spring 2005)
•  Joshua Tree National Park 10th Anniversary Exhibition, Gallery 62 at A Roadside Attraction, Twentynine Palms, CA. (Nov. 2004-Jan. 2005)
•  29 Palms Art Gallery, Twentynine Palms, CA, “Southland Show” judged exhibition (Nov. 2004)
•  Arts on 5th Gallery, San Bernardino, CA, Arts Council of San Bernardino County judged members exhibition (Nov./Dec. 2004)
•  Morongo Valley Art Colony 40th Annual Art Show, Morongo Valley, CA. (Oct. 2004)
•  Gallery 62, Twentynine Palms, CA, “Open Studio Art Tours Review Show” (Oct./Nov. 2004)
•  Arts on 5th Gallery, San Bernardino, CA, Desert Arts Festival preview show (2004)
•  Water Canyon, Yucca Valley, CA, “Southwest Images” solo show (2003)
•  A Roadside Attraction Gallery, Twentynine Palms, CA, “Oasis” solo show (2002)
•  Morongo Basin Desert Arts Festival & Open Studio Tours (2002, 2003, 2004)
•  Edward Dean Museum & Gardens, Cherry Valley, CA, “From the Reservation to the Range - A Retrospective” solo exhibition of Chuck Caplinger oils on canvas, shown with Charlie Russell and Frederick Remington bronzes (2001)
•  Hollywood Entertainment Museum, Hollywood, CA, “Tribute to Marilyn” mural by Chuck Caplinger featured in Happy Birthday, Marilyn celebration honoring the late star’s 75th birthday (June 2001)
•  29 Palms Art Gallery, Twentynine Palms, CA, one-man show of oils and assemblages.
•  Mt. San Jacinto College, San Jacinto, CA, “Autumn Gathering” group show of Native American arts, curator Lucinda Luvaas.
•  The Furniture Cafe Gallery, Burbank, CA, solo show of desert oils.
•  The Art Factory, Las Vegas, Nevada, solo show of desert oils.
* Gallery 5770, Twentynine Palms, CA, featured artist, ongoing group showings.
•  Desert Iron Gallery, Twentynine Palms, CA, group showings.
•  Celebrity Center, Hollywood, CA, “Unity Through The Arts” group exhibition sponsored by Los Angeles Visual Artists.
•  Playhouse Gallery, Long Beach, CA, solo showing, “Desert Gothic.”
•  Hartog Fine Arts Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, “Paradigm of Ten” group show, “Desert Gothic.”
* American Film Market Gala, theme: “Hollywood’s First 100 Years,” Art Director Jim Saunders.
•  Century Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, “Realism: Photo & Surreal” group show, Curator Lee Musgrave.
•  Annenberg Gallery, Palm Desert, CA, group show.

•  2012 - 29 Palms Art Gallery, “Members Show,” 2nd Place for “Amigos” (oil)
•  2012 - Chaparral Artists Spring Show, judged group exhibition, 1st Place, People’s Choice, Best of Show for “Old Friend II” (oil landscape); 1st Place for “Arapaho” (11x14 oil portrait); 1st Place for Animal Category.
•  2011 - Chaparral Artists judged group exhibition, Best of Show
•  2010 - Chaparral Artists judged group exhibition, 1st Place
•  2008 - “Fall into Winter,” Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council judged group exhibition, 1st Place for “Winter Storm Passing” (36x18 oil)
•  2006 - 29 Palms Art Gallery, “Members Show,” 1st Place for “Caught in the Open” (24x24 oil)
•  2006 - Morongo Valley Art Colony, 2nd Place for “Running Free” (oil)
•  2005 - City of Norco 9th annual “Art of the American West” show, 3rd Place, Premier Division
•  2004 - Morongo Valley Art Colony 40th Anniversary Art Show, 1st Place for “Magic Thumb” (oil)
•  2004 - 29 Palms Art Gallery, “Southland Show,” 1st Place for “Magic Thumb” (oil)
•  2004 - City of Norco 8th annual “Art of the American West” show, 1st Place, Premier Division, for “Drygulched” (oil)
•  2004 - 29 Palms Art Gallery, “Members Show,” 1st Place Under Glass Award for “Long Way Home” (watercolor)
•  2003 - 29 Palms Art Gallery, “Members Show,” People’s Choice Award for “Ancient Ones” (oil)
•  2001 - 29 Palms Art Gallery, “Southland Show,” 1st Place and People’s Choice Award for “Old Friend” (oil)
•  1998 - 29 Palms Art Gallery, “Southland Show,” 1st Place for “Courtin’ the School Marm” (oil)
•  1997 - 29 Palms Art Gallery, “Southland Show,” 1st Place award for “Bill Key’s Car” (oil)
•  1996 - Hollywood Arts Council and Hollywood Chamber’s “Hollywood Arts Affair” group showing, voted Most Popular Artist for series of oils “Hollywood Faces.”

•  Norco, California - “Galloping Herd” 30’ x 8’ ranch fence mural for Donna Smith, Tonalli Capayo Ranch (2007)
•  Twentynine Palms, California - Smoketree Building murals, 60’x15’ Lizard and 60’x15’ Roadrunner, east/west exterior walls (2007)
•  Shafter, California - “Shafter Drug Store circa 1920” 18-8’ x 9’ mural on Rite Aid building for City of Shafter, Community Enhancement Director (2007)
•  Norco, California - “Mediterranean Island” 57’ x 8’ pool-patio mural for Tyson family (2006)
•  Norco, California - “A Celebration of Riding” 39’ x 16’ first historical mural, City of Norco Beautification Committee (2004)
•  Weatherford, Texas - “History of Weatherford, TX” from 1800 to present, 1,300+ sq.ft. of indoor murals, seven scenes, acrylic on canvas (2003)
•  Santa Paula, California - “Farming & Ranching History” 60’ x 12’ historical mural #6, Murals of Santa Paula (2002)
•  Yucaipa, California - “The Yucaipa Apple Show 1912” 14’ x 45’ first historical mural, Yucaipa Renaissance Committee (2001)
•  Exeter, California - “The Monarch Grape Industry” 25’ x 20’ mural #14 Festival of Arts Mural Committee and Exeter Chamber of Commerce (2000)
•  Twentynine Palms, California - Series of nine indoor murals (oils on canvas) for Desert Ranch Market (2000)
•  Twentynine Palms, California - “Desert Wildlife” 12’x 60’ mural #14, Oasis of Murals, Action Council for 29 Palms Inc. (1999)
•  Indio, California - “History of the Date Growing Industry in the Coachella Valley” 18’ x 77’ mural #3, Indio Chamber of Commerce Historic Mural Project and Old Town Indio Business Assn. (1998)
•  El Segundo, California - “Aviation History” 14’ x 72' mural #6, Heritage Walk Mural Program (1997)
•  Montebello, California - “Famous Places in Montebello’s History” 10’ x 30’ mural, Metro Rail Station (1997)
•  Waterworld Company - Sound wall mural 18’ x 15’
•  Los Angeles, California - Riveria theme (stylized) 68’ mural for Barbara Mudge residence
•  Twentynine Palms, California - “Desert Storm Homecoming & Victory Parade” 18’ x 101’ historical mural #5, Oasis of Murals, Action Council for 29 Palms, Inc. (1995)
Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas - Sheraton Hotel, 8’ x 18’ mural in dinner showroom.
•  Odessa, Texas - “History of Oil Exploration” 6’ x 28’ mural, O.I.L. Co.
•  Houston, Texas - The Confederate House Restaurant, 14’ x 8’ mural in oils.
•  Houston, Texas - Bogart’s Club Restaurant, eight 6’ x 12’ portrait vignettes, in acrylics.
•  Houston, Texas - “The Paper Industry” 12’ x 18’ mural in acrylics, Moore Paper Co.
•  Houston, Texas - Finger Contract Furniture Co., murals for six Ramada Inns
•  Miami Beach, Florida - The Ocean Club, 20’ x 60’ mural and three 8’ x 10’ vignettes in acrylics.
•  Atlanta, Georgia - The Gold Club, two oils on canvas: 4’6” x 8’6” and 4’6” x 6’6”

Major General Les Palm, USMC, MCAGCC 29 Palms, CA; Dr. Hogue, Hogue Memorial Hospital, Newport Beach, CA; Judge Roy Hofheinze; Coach Sid Gillman; Film producer Caruth C. Byrd; Quarterback Dan Pastorini; Dr. Wernher Von Braun (former NASA Director); Dr. Hermann Oberth (Germany’s “Father of Rocketry”) featured in Time Magazine, now permanently exhibited in Germany. Actors: Tom Ewel, Sal Mineo, Ben Johnson. Actresses: Lisa Hartman, Mitzi Gaynor, June Wilkerson, Dawn Wells, Mercedes McCambridge. Singer: Willie Nelson. Comedian: Rich Little. Entertainer: Sammy Davis, Jr.

Art Director/Illustrator for RCA Service Co., contracted to NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama (1961-1965).

Design and construction contracts for Anheuser Busch, “Busch Gardens, Houston,” creative signage, including the main theme park entry treatment. Design and fabrication of bird show arena set; portable and permanent food and snack bars; and other park features.

Caplinger/Nations Gallery, The Galleria (Houston Oaks), Houston, Texas. Co-owner, Gallery Director. Negotiated for and purchased prints and original art, coordinated gallery functions and showings. (1970s)

Designed and illustrated movie posters and ad campaigns for more than 20 feature films for Lone Star Pictures International (Hollywood, CA) and other film distribution companies.

•  2011 - “Chair Emeritus” honor presented from the Public Arts Advisory Committee, City of Twentynine Palms, CA, “In gratitude for your creative and forceful leadership.”
•  2010 - “Cultural Contributor Award” from BasinWide Foundation, Yucca Valley, CA, and State Assembly recognition award from Assemblyman Paul Cook.
•  2005 - Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council Special Award “Thanks to Chuck Caplinger Artist, Cowboy & Visionary for founding the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council.”
•  2003 - “Together We Can! Award” from BasinWide Foundation presented to Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council, Inc., Chuck Caplinger, Chair; in appreciation for community cultural efforts and basin-wide event, Desert Arts Festival 2002.
•  2003 - “Certificate of Recognition in Honor of Service to Communities” presented by State Senator James L. Brulte.
•  2000 - City of Twentynine Palms Mayor’s Recognition Award presented to the Global Mural Conference 2000 Executive Committee (Chuck Caplinger, Chairman)
•  1999 - City of Twentynine Palms Mayor’s Recognition Award presented to Chuck Caplinger for “Person who most embodies the spirit of Twentynine Palms, CA.”

Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce (President 2012-2013, Board Member 2011-2013)
Public Arts Advisory Committee, City of Twentynine Palms (2004-2001, Co-Founder 2004, Chair 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, Chair Emeritus 2012)
Planning Commission, City of Twentynine Palms (2001-2011, Chair 2001, 2003, 2009)
Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council, Inc. (Co-Founder, President 2001-2004)
Morongo Basin Desert Arts Festival & Open Studio Tours (Exec. Director 2002, 2003, 2004)
Global Mural Arts & Cultural Tourism Association (Chair, Global Mural Conference 2000, Twentynine Palms, CA)
Twentynine Palms Artists’ Guild (Member, Exhibitor, former Board Member)
Chaparral Artists (Member, Exhibitor)

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