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JULIAN ALLEN: A RETROSPECTIVE
An exhibition brochure
with writings by
Milton Glaser, Steven Heller
and Whitney Sherman

 

Julian Allen Biography

Julian Allen was born and raised in Cambridge, England. He studied at the Cambridge College of Art and completed his post-graduate studies in Illustration and Print making at the Central College of Art in London. Afterward he worked as a freelance illustrator in London during the 1960’s, primarily for the Sunday Times magazine, as a reporter-artist.

In 1973 his illustrations caught the attention of Clay Felker and Milton Glaser, then editor and art director of the newly created New York magazine. On their invitation Allen moved to New York to work as a contributing editor and resident artist.  During his employment at New York magazine, he covered such diverse subjects as: the Watergate scandal; the Yom Kippur war in the Middle East (where he was injured in a bomb explosion); the Entebbe rescue; gypsies in New York; the bicentennial of the Revolutionary War; youth gangs in the South Bronx and numerous stories about New York subculture, crime, politics and food.  When New York magazine changed hands in 1977, he decided to return to freelancing.

Since then Julian Allen’s illustrations have appeared in nearly every major national and international magazine, creating images of celebrated and controversial people and events.  His client list includes: Esquire, GQ, Newsweek, New York, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, Time, and many others.  In 1990 he collaborated with writer Bruce Wagner to create the ‘noir’ comic strip Wild Palms, which appeared monthly in Details magazine and later became an ABC TV miniseries produced by Oliver Stone.  It’s success led to a second comic strip entitled Cul de Sac, which also appeared in Details.  Allen’s illustrations have also appeared on a diverse array of posters, books jackets and advertisements.  In 1994, he was commissioned by the United States Postal Service to create a series of stamps depicting Blues singers, which included Ma Rainey, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Robert Johnson.

Julian Allen has won numerous awards and medals from the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration (of which he was a founding member), European Illustration, Society of Publication Designers, Communication Arts and many others.  His work can be seen in the books Innovators of American Illustration, Art for Survival, The Art of New York, This Face You Got, 20 + 1 Best American Illustrators, Rolling Stone's The Painted Portrait and The Graphic Design Reader.  Articles about his work have appeared in AIGA, Print, Graphis, Illustrators (Japan), and Creative Review (London).

For eighteen years Mr. Allen taught and lectured on illustration in England and the United States.  In 1988 he was among five prominent illustrators invited to Korea and Japan to visit art colleges, teach workshops, and give lectures.  During those years Julian was a faculty member at Parsons School of Design’s illustration Department and for eleven years he taught in the School of Visual Arts illustration Masters program.  He has also been a guest at The Smithsonian Institute, Philadelphia College of Art, The Royal College of Art (London), The Cambridge College of Art (England), Art Center (Los Angeles) San Francisco Art Institute, East Dallas University, University of North Carolina, Syracuse University and Brigham Young University.

In 1997 Mr. Allen moved from his home of twenty years in New York City’s TriBeCa district to Baltimore, Maryland, to fill the position of chair of the illustration department at The Maryland Institute College of Art, where his talents as chair, teacher and his charisma as an individual attracted enormous numbers of students.

Julian’s life was cut short in 1998 when he succumbed to Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma at the age of fifty-five. He is survived by his wife Victoria,   and his two children, Rubin and Holly.

 

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