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Leaving China: An Artist Paints His World War II Childhood

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James McMullan colors outside the lines of a self-imposed grid.

James McMullan was born in 1934 in Tsingtao, China and studied art at the Pratt Institute in New York City. He joined the venerated Push Pin Studios – founded in 1954 by Milton Glaser, Seymour Chwast, Reynold Ruffins and Edward Sorel - in 1966. He departed Push Pin in 1969 just as Milton Glaser and Clay Felker were starting New York magazine; he was one of the core group of artists who helped establish that magazine’s graphic style. A highlight was a series of five illustrations - including the cover - for the June 1976 story “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night,” which was the basis for the feature film Saturday Night Fever. McMullan has also done magazine work for Rolling Stone, Sesame Street magazine, New York Times Magazine, Esquire, McCall’s, Vogue and Sports Illustrated, among others.

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James McMullan did stunning work for the short-lived West magazine.

Interview with James McMullan
Featured title: Leaving China: An Artist Paints His World War II Childhood
Created by School Library Journal

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The Masters Series: James McMullan

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James McMullan was born in 1934 in Tsingtao, China and studied art at the Pratt Institute in New York City. He joined the venerated Push Pin Studios–founded in 1954 by Milton Glaser, Seymour Chwast, Reynold Ruffins and Edward Sorel—in 1966. He departed Push Pin in 1969 just as Milton Glaser and Clay Felker were starting New York magazine; he was one of the core group of artists who helped establish that magazine’s graphic style. A highlight was a series of five illustrations—including the cover—for the June 1976 story “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night,” which was the basis for the feature film Saturday Night Fever. McMullan has also done magazine work for Rolling Stone, Sesame Street magazine, New York Times Magazine, Esquire, McCall’s, Vogue and Sports Illustrated, among others.