The recipient of the NUX Literary Prize at the Milano, Italy, book fair in October, 2012

Milano book fair

Education

M.A., 1975: University of South Alabama, Fairhope
B.S., 1969: Auburn University

Tours and Exhibitions

During the summers of 2008 and 2009, Capps toured Italy, making presentations on fiction writing as part of "Festival Blues Piacenza," Piacenza, Italy (see http://www.festivalbluespiacenza.it). (His son, Grayson Capps, participated as a musician.)

In addition, Capps' paintings, sculptures, and mobiles have been on exhibition at a variety of arts festivals in the following locations: Foley, Robertsdale, Brewton, Fairhope, Pensacola, and New Orleans; a variety of cities in Tennessee, South Carolina, New York, Minnesota, California, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana; and internationally in Mexico, Germany, and England.

Memberships/Organizations

Water Hole Branch International Artists' Collective (WHBIAC) was founded to provide Baldwin county residents and other visitors with opportunities and events associated with South Alabama arts and culture. These include weekend artist internships (mentoring) for young artists; writers' workshops; theatre performances in "The Playlike Playhouse"; poetry and fiction-reading; filmmaking; and an annual "Shoe Burning" festival during which those invited tell stories about the shoes that they then must toss into a bonfire for burning. Activities of the WHBIAC for children include: peddle-boating, fishing with hand-made fishing poles, photography, acting in "The Playlike Playhouse," swinging, gardening, painting, sculpting, and playing on an 18' "playboat" moored next to an island in the middle of Water Hole Branch.

Artist's Statement

Growing Up: There were no fathers in our neighborhood in East Brewton who valued reading and movies or music. Art was for girls and sissies. You would never see those fathers working in kitchens. They mostly left religion to the mothers. Laziness meant not doing physical things much. Sitting down things were usually not considered to be work for men. Hard physical work and play were highly valued by these men. These were the "Great Depression" era fathers. They had little formal education. They felt "common sense" was all anyone needed. Most of them believed that college was a waste of time—it was for rich boys and females. "Get a job in a good factory, with good ‘benefits.' Always be ready for another depression," they advised.

Writing: My favorite books in the world are probably Lilith, Cannery Row, and The Glass Bead Game. I love Flannery O'Connor's short stories; she just blows me away. And Tennessee Williams has always been significant to me. I was in the army and read Thomas Wolff's Look Homeward Angel in the library. "This is something," I thought. This man has been saying something that was in my heart, and all these years and I didn't express it—I couldn't. F. Scott Fitzgerald I enjoyed a lot. Hemmingway, and people like that. Romantic lives—I found that attractive.

Painting: I started painting in the late 1990s as a diversion from writing. I tried it and I didn't like what I was doing, and so I started to read art books, and then I had a devil-may-care attitude. I was enjoying the hell out of it—learning about light and shadow, and it ended up stealing me away from writing. I don't have the lust I used to have. Writing requires a lust—a burning desire—and I have gotten to the point that I just don't have it anymore.

Sculpture and Mobiles: I really don't know what to say about the sculpture and mobiles. I go places and look for ideas and things. I look for anything that is the right size, color, and shape; or that has a nice sound or fits into a subject; is unique, durable, the right weight, hang-able and so forth.

I use a variety of tools—hammer, electric drill, screwdrivers, punches, paint and stain pens, clamps, various cutting tools, pliers, files, sanding tools, wrenches, gloves, pipe cutters, patina chemicals, polishing devices, wire cutters, and saws.

I work with wood, copper, steel, brass, rope, fishing line, different strings, plastic, glass, wire, rocks, stones, leather, rusty things, and so forth. I always have a variety of items before me, mostly within reach. I treat the items somewhat like paints tied somewhat to bases and lines. I have more ideas than necessary items.

Making sculpture and mobiles has a lot to do with imagination, drawing from other things, being sometimes erratic and sometimes orderly, messing up, chance, being bombastic, cool, trying and trying again, joy, balance, division, combinations, manipulation, being weird, eccentricity, abstraction, seeing both the trees and the forest, off-centeredness, centeredness, unorthodoxy, truth, help from something like what I think is the unconscious, seeing the aesthetics in trash, being comfortable with being sometimes different and sometimes not, on-goingness, and so forth.

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