Many people grow up dreaming of becoming artists. For those who love Disney, or who just appreciate an environment where imagination and animation flourish, it is no wonder that so many aspire to be a part of the magic that is Disney. With original artwork widely sought after by celebrities and art collectors alike, multi-talented American artist and actor James C. Mulligan is best known for painting celebrity art, large scale fine art and commercial murals, as well as some of the most popular Disney portraits and artwork. It seems, creative inspiration is never far for someone like Mulligan. "Search for little bits of inspiration every day... You'll see them, they're out there. Some days it's a cloud, some days it's a certain shape of a leaf. Some days it's the smile of the St. Bernard when they've got a ball in their mouth. I, personally, find great inspiration in the eyes of my kids. And Sinatra. I recommend "The Summer Wind," a favorite to get me painting."
Born in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Mulligan grew up with his three brothers, Peter, Sam, and Michael, in Los Angeles and Orange County, California, where he attended high school at Capistrano Valley Christian School and the South Orange County High School of the Arts. He first become interested in becoming an artist when he was a little kid, drawing Bible stories for fun. "It was usually David cutting the head off of Goliath or John the Baptist being beheaded. Something really gory. I was clearly a delightful kid."
Mulligan was attending University as a theatre major when he was hired to work in the art department of the Walt Disney Company. Only 18 at the time,"really just a kid," he admits, Mulligan started out in the art department, doing menial work as an associate designer, before moving quickly into painting. His projects included concept design for both characters and theme park shows and attractions. Over the years, he worked on everything from Light Magic to Animazement. He lent his talents in the character headroom, finishing character heads, and in entertainment art, designing photo locations for the resort. Slowly it started to involve more and more into the fine arts side where, Mulligan said, "I honestly was happiest."
Over the past several years, Mulligan has been commissioned to produce original works for prestigious clients such as such as Oscar winner, Richard M. Sherman (composer, Mary Poppins), Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit, Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner, Neil Patrick Harris, Chuck Liddell, and many others. Additionally, he spends a great deal of his time creating fine art out of icons such as the Presley estate, Chuck Jones characters, Buck Rogers, and Tarzan. He had the privilege of creating the art direction for Playboy's 2011 spread for Playmate of the Year. He has also been involved with creating a series of fine art pieces for ZORRO, the Broadway Musical, debuting 2012. His solo shows at Planet Hollywood, the Aria and Bellagio properties broke all records for sales for a solo artist. His work is widely sought by collectors, and his work resides in the collections of stars. From large-scale commercial murals to custom finishes for the home, Mulligan's art features the finest in specialty decorative elements and should be a featured part of even the most discriminating collector.
As for the requisite training needed to become an artist, especially at Disney, Mulligan was candid about the effort necessary to reach the top of the food chain. There's no magic formula, no secret or shortcut. Nothing beats hard work. "Draw. Draw. Draw. Paint. Paint. Paint," he advised. "Chuck Jones, one of my great inspirations, used to say, ‘Everybody's got 100,000 bad drawings in ‘em, so it's best to get those out of the way as soon as possible.' I suggest to any young artist to find another artist that really inspires them and try to learn their style, and refine it from there. You'll find your own way. Develop a really keen portfolio, and work on being able to tell the story in the least amount of strokes possible. Character is something that communicates on the most base level, and if you can make emotion come across in your character, that's something that's going to connect people. Disney is always about story, and always has been. So if you can capture a brief shining moment, and communicate both character and story in that instance, you'll be just fine."
The son of actor Richard Mulligan (Soap, Empty Nest), Mulligan's already storied career extends well beyond the canvas to the stage, his first love. As a child, Mulligan acted in several elementary and high school plays. He had just finished the national tour of OLIVER. with Andrea McArdle when he was invited to audition for Saved by The Bell, The New Class. He won the pilot, which spurred a number of television appearances. On stage, his appearances include Jekyll and Hyde, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, and South Pacific. In June, 2009 Mulligan filmed a pilot of his own reality series, The Muralist in Miami, for the Fox Network.
Mulligan currently lives in California, and spends much of his time along the coast, as well as in Las Vegas. When asked about his favorite piece of artwork, a question he compared to "asking what my favorite breath is that I've taken," Mulligan said, "It's whatever the most recent one is that gets me onto the next. But I will say I really love the Dancing on the Rooftops piece that I did in homage to Mary Poppins, as well as the new Frozen stuff. Dancing on the Rooftops is really special, because Dick Van Dyke and Richard Sherman and I all signed the full original addition. Mulligan has had an extensive creative portfolio, including well-received contributions to the Disney oeuvre - Ariel hand-embellished Giclee
on Canvas, The Little Mermaid; Chasing Down a Daydreamer hand-embellished Giclee on Canvas, Tangled; Dancing on the Rooftops hand-embellished Giclee on Canvas, Mary Poppins; Dreams Come True, Cinderella; Elvis Stitch hand-embellished Giclee on Canvas, Lilo and Stitch; For Once it Might be Grand, Beauty And The Beast; Girl in Red, Who Framed Roger Rabbit; Jolly Holiday with Minnie hand-embellished Giclee on Canvas; Letting Off Steam, Frozen.
World Wide Art
World Wide Art is known for its wide selection of limited editions and originals by renowned artists, including the amazing works of James C. Mulligan. Their expert staff also specializes in custom conservation framing
. In business since 1996, World Wide Art is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a well-known art shop for both serious collectors and casual decorators. The staff at World-Wide-Art.com not only deals art, but are collectors and artists themselves who consider their work a labor of love and lifestyle of art appreciation.