In the spring of 1987, Lee Mullican began participation in UCLA’s Advanced Design Research Center’s Program for Technology in the Arts. The program allowed the then 67-year-old artist to expand his vast oeuvre to the digital. He found inspiration in the similarities between his painting style and a computerized matrix. Replacing his brush and signature palette knife striations with a clickable mouse and pen-like stylus, Mullican merged the late Surrealist method of automatism with the computer’s instant and precise replication of marks, stating; “I found that beyond what one thought, the computer as being hard-lined, analytical, and predictable, it was indeed a medium fueled with the automatic, enabled by chance, and accident, the discovery of new ways of making imagery.”
Feral File presents the fruits of these experiments with computer painting software in their March 23 NFT drop titled LeeMullican.PCX, curated by Anika Meier. The cascading forms in 8-bit color schemes approximate the artist’s painting style to create repetitive patterns, taking it in new directions. Collectors receive .PCX file, Enhanced 35mm slide scan, Art Sale Agreement, Artists + Collector Rights.
Lee Mullican was born in 1919 in Chickasha, Oklahoma, and died in Los Angeles in 1998. Upon graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1942, Mullican was drafted into the army, serving four years as a topographical draughtsman before moving to San Francisco in 1946. After winning a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in 1959, he spent a year painting in Rome before returning to Los Angeles where he joined the UCLA Art Department in 1961, keeping his position for nearly 30 years. He divided the later part of his life between his homes in Los Angeles and Taos, traveling internationally and co-organizing exhibitions at UCLA. A retrospective spanning fifty years of the artist’s work was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2006.
Mullican’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.