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James Jean

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James Jean

James Jean
Born 1979 (1979)
Taipei, Taiwan
Nationality Taiwanese American
Education School of Visual Arts[1]
Known for Painting

James Jean is a Taiwanese American visual artist, known for both his commercial work and fine art gallery work. He is known in the American comics industry as a cover artist for various books published by DC Comics, as well as for his work for Prada, ESPN and Atlantic Records. His work, which has been collected in numerous volumes, has been compared by The New York Times to that of Maxfield Parrish.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Notable works 3
    • Prada 3.1
    • Phillip Lim 3.2
  • Critical analysis 4
  • Published works 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Jean was born in Taiwan and was raised in Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey.[2] He was educated at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, from which he graduated in 2001.[1][3]

Starting in 2011, Jean underwent a lengthy divorce process that bankrupted him and forced him to move to Asia in 2013, where he is currently based out of.[4]


In 2001, Jean became a cover artist for DC Comics, garnering seven Eisner awards, three consecutive Harvey awards, two gold medals and a silver from the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles, and a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators of New York. He also worked in advertising,[5] and has contributed to many national and international publications. His clients included Time Magazine, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Spin, ESPN, Atlantic Records, Target, Linkin Park, Playboy, Knopf, Prada among others. He illustrated covers for the comic book series Fables and The Umbrella Academy, for which he has won six Eisner Awards for "Best Cover Artist".[6] In 2006 he won Best Artist from the World Fantasy Awards.[7]

In 2008, Jean retired from illustration and commercial projects in order to focus on painting.[8][9]

Notable works

Prada advertisement featuring James Jean designs


In 2007, Jean created a mural for the Prada Epicenter stores in New York and Los Angeles.[10] He also created a backdrop for Prada's Spring/Summer 2008 show in Milan.[11]

Aspects of the Epicenter mural and the Milan wallpaper were transformed into clothing, handbags, shoes, and packaging. Prada undertook a global campaign that featured Jean's work in advertising environments, animation, and special events.

In 2008, Jean again collaborated with Prada, developing an animated short based on the wallpapers, clothing, and accessories produced in 2007. He wrote, storyboarded, and did the visual development for the animation, which would be eventually titled "Trembled Blossoms", taken from the poem "Ode to Psyche”, by John Keats.

Phillip Lim

In 2010, Jean was commissioned by fashion designer Phillip Lim to paint a series of portraits featuring Los Angeles-based actors, musicians, and tastemakers, including Rachel Bilson, Selma Blair, and Devendra Banhart.[12]

Critical analysis

Dana Jennings of The New York Times says of Jean's work: "And, as with his Fables work, the paintings and illustrations are often suffused with a dreamy romanticism and lyricism worthy of Maxfield Parrish, even as Mr. Jean subverts those and other isms."[3]

Published works

Jean currently has seven published works, all of which collect his illustrations and art: Process Recess volumes 1 - 3 (v2 & v3 have both a regular and a special edition), Fables: Covers, XOXO and Kindling:12 Removable Prints. Kindling is an oversized poster book featuring works from Jean's 2009 gallery show of the same name. The Process Recess volumes display Jean's process in his illustrations, by showing both the original sketches and the final coloring, Process Recess is also the name of his blog, which includes similar content. Fables: Covers is a collection of the cover art illustrations James Jean has made for the comic book series Fables. XOXO is a selection of his illustrations displayed in the form of postcards.

  • Process Recess (2005) [13]
  • Process Recess 2: Portfolio (2007)[14]
  • Xoxo: Hugs and Kisses (2008) [15]
  • Fables: Covers (2008) [16]
  • Process Recess 3: The Hallowed Seam (2009) [17]
  • Kindling: 12 Removable Prints (2009) [18]
  • Rift (2010) [19]
  • Rebus (2011) [20]


  1. ^ a b "Painfully Self-aware And 'Serious' ", Communication Arts Insights, March 31, 2009
  2. ^ Seman, Rob "He draws on comic book love", Daily Record (Morristown), March 30, 2004. Accessed August 30, 2007. "Jean, who grew up in Parsippany on Westminster Drive, was a weekly customer at Funnybooks, on North Beverwyck Road, but never expected his work would one day wind up on store shelves."
  3. ^ a b Jennings, Dana. "The Power of Fairy Tales". "Comics Canonization". The New York Times. August 18, 2011
  4. ^ Interview with Evan Pricco "James Jean", "Juxtapoz", February 2013.
  5. ^ Melrose, Kevin. "The 25 best comic covers of 2008", "Robot 6", Comic Book Resources, January 2, 2009
  6. ^  
  7. ^ World Fantasy Convention (2010). "Award Winners and Nominees". Retrieved 4 Feb 2011. 
  8. ^ Jean's announcement of retirement from illustration and commercial work
  9. ^ "James Jean Kindling: New Works on Paper and Canvas". Jonathan Levine Gallery. 2009. accessed August 20, 2011.
  10. ^ Work for Prada featured in TMagazine, the New York Times fashion magazine
  11. ^ "Prada Trembled Blossoms Issue 02". Wallpaper Magazine. accessed August 20, 2011.
  12. ^ Kantor, Jessica. "FNO Highlight of the Day: Phillip Lim L.A. Boutique". Vogue magazine. August 19, 2010
  13. ^ Process Recess - AdHouse Books catalog
  14. ^ Process Recess 2 - AdHouse Books catalog
  15. ^ Xoxo - Chronicle Books catalog
  16. ^ Fables Covers - DC Comics catalog
  17. ^ Process Recess 3 - AdHouse Books catalog
  18. ^ Kindling - Chronicle Books catalog
  19. ^ Rift - Chronicle books catalog
  20. ^ Rebus - Chronicle books catalog

External links

  • James Jean Website
  • James Jean Twitter
  • James Jean Fan Page
  • James Jean at Martha Otero Gallery
  • Huffington Post article on Jean's show at Martha Otero Gallery
  • Excerpts of an interviews where James Jean describes the crippling divorce he is being forced to endure, with severe damage to his art
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