Lee Mullican was born and raised in Chickasha, Oklahoma. Born on December 2, 1919 to Harris Nichols Mullican (1884-1972), a businessman and Zula Jolley Mullican (1887-1974), an amateur painter. Mullican started painting when he was 15, using his mother’s art supplies and guidance.
After graduating from Kansas City Art Institute, Mullican was drafted into the army in June 1942. Mullican went to the topographic school in Fort Belvoir, Virginia after basic training. Learning how to draw maps for the army became a lucrative asset to his later work.
After the war ended, Mullican eventually moved to San Francisco, CA, where he started using the printer’s knife. The printer’s knife used to apply fine, slightly three-dimensional, parallel uplifts of paint to create intricate images, which is definitive of a large portion of his work.
His art has been interpreted as representing what it was like to be human in the second half of the twentieth century. He described his own art as being “landscapes of the mind.” Mullican was an innovative artist who practiced art as a part of his whole being. Lee Mullican died in 1998 residing in Santa Monica, CA.
Download Full Biography