David Kaplan was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. With supportive parents, Kaplan attended advanced art classes at a young age. In his early life he moved to Detroit and also lived for a time in New York. He started exhibiting in juried and invitational art shows in 1938. Upon returning to Cleveland he married the late Jeanne B. Kaplan and worked as a display artist until he went to serve in WWII. After the war Kaplan moved his two daughters, Debora and Charlotte, back to New York. While there he worked for many years as a head designer, retiring in 1980. Kaplan then returned to Cleveland and began concentrating on his artwork: sculpting, painting, drawing, and printmaking. His first show was in the May Show at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Since then Kaplan exhibited in well over 55 museums and galleries, including the Butler Museum of American Art, the Canton Museum, the Beck Center for the Arts, Tulane University, the Jewish Community Center and the AAWR. Kaplan was a significant artist among the legendary group known as The Cleveland School of Art. For many years he was an active member of the Friday drawing group that still meets every Friday.
David described his process as, “technique and craftsmanship are important factors in my work. I just try to be myself and be honest…when I work at a piece of art it’s entertainment for me and it’s also like playing a game, because I want to win in this game…I could do this all the time and be fully engaged.”