is the artists view that consciousness prompted by enlightened intuition,
in order to be effective and truly transformative, must be woven with threads
drawn deeply from inner intuitive sources, creating a fabric of perception informed
by more than intellect alone. Feeling is the silent shuttle at the heart of
In every aspect of ones perception, even to the essence of meaning itself, all may be informed, indeed transformed, by spiritual energy.
It is the artists belief that it is just such a power and agency, the spontaneous, autonomous life of the unconscious, which inherently resides in each of us, waiting to show the way. To quote the artist: Only in the center of our being will we be able to find the guidance necessary to prevent our own extinction.
Since the 1960s Mulleian's personal experience has given him a vivid sense of the 'Now', a timelessness that permeates through all of his work, especially in his nationally and internationally acclaimed 1987 painting entitled "Dies Irae", a powerfully disturbing yet dramatically captivating piece on the subject of nuclear disaster. Author Leonard Roy Frank discovered the artist in 1969, a discovery that led to Mulleians first exhibit at the Continental Gallery with renowned sculptor Benny Bufano, and soon after, at the Frank Gallery in the 1970s. It wasnt long before the artists career would peak, and, by 1974, Mulleian was featured in "After Dark", a prestigious national entertainment monthly magazine, published out of New York. In the August 1974 issue the magazine dedicated a special tribute focusing on the city of San Francisco, its people and its pace setters.
During that bygone era of the late 1960s and 70s, many admirers of Mulleian's work, meeting him in his very early twenties, were stunned to find such an accomplished painter to be so young. They assumed the artist, behind his paintings, to be in his fifties, noting the fact of his advanced technical achievement, not to mention his complexity of conception, the originality and layered wisdom that pervaded the work, as well as the level of acquired skill manifested at such an early age.
to this were his unconventional personality style and purity of intent, expressive
elements belonging to an unwavering depth of awareness and a moral perspective
tempered by a great sense of social justice, all of which combined to create
a mysterious charisma that became virtually irresistible to an unsuspecting
public taken by surprise.
The dynamic historical factors of this artists life are numerous, to say the least. He survives a war but he brings home a prophetic vision. He is nearly court-martial for carrying his dismantled rusted rifle parts in a gunnysack in protest of the war. During Vietnams Tet offensive, A prophetic intuition warns him of an occurrence that would take place precisely twelve hours later; warns of a direct hit by a mortar shell, but human fatality was prevented by a mystical intervention.
In 1969, a seer's insightful predictions pertaining to the artist's life revealed that he would deliver a great message to the world by millions. yet another vision occurred to him in 1970, as Grace Cathedrals Ghiberti Doors mysteriously opened for him. In time, his work was brought to the attention of such luminaries as film star Shirley Temple Black, actor and art connoisseur Vincent Price, rock star Elton John, singer Janis Joplin, American philosopher Eric Hoffer and radical lawyer and civil rights activist William Kunstler and art connoisseur Tullah Hanley.
moment (whenever he was broke) he is feted in the back alley of a famous San
Francisco hotel with a candlelight dinner catered by the head chef, and the
next moment, he is dancing at a downtown discotheque with legendary art connoisseur
and former dancer, Tullah Hanley. On June 27,
1970, Mulleian would march in the first San Francisco Gay march, a year after
the Stonewall riots of 1969. The march was known as the
Gay Freedom March, which would eventually become known as today's
Gay Pride Parade. And on January 1, 1973, during
the Nixon era and shortly after J.
Edgar Hoover's death in 1972, he makes a daring admission to the
national and international press that he is a homosexual; this, at a time
when being homosexual was illegal. This candid announcement drew the attention
of the FBI to the front door of the artist's
studio and insured his place in the events of the time.
1977 a near fatal car accident nearly cost the artist his life. And today
his message is heard and seen nationally and internationally. Mulleians
constant and meticulous attention to the rendering of visual aspects of
all forms of life and matter, his prophetic insights and an informing
imagination, all these factors have allowed his vision to stand out from
all the rest. This is true not only through his art, but also in his outspoken
views on human rights, the liberation of gay culture in the U.S. and as
an anti-nuclear activist. That such an artist from the very beginning
has attained so great a proficiency in his chosen field is rare enough.
What is truly extraordinary is that he is entirely self-taught.
Familiar objects in unfamiliar context...the juxtaposition of reality without distortion. These are attempts to define the work of San Francisco artist, Mark Mulleian. His style is called transrealism. His technique is a heightened under-painting technique of the Old Masters.
Unique subject usage creates powerful impact and offers involving, out-of-the-ordinary experiences in the visual and emotional realms of contemporary art. Crystallized energy, spiritual warmth, power of concept, and abstract elemental awareness within Mulleian's images capture the imagination with depth in feeling the sentimental to the profound. His realism is so complete that one can experience an immersion (forget that it is a painting) as though experiencing the real thing, such as in this painting by Mulleian entitled "Day After Summer".
It is important to keep in mind when viewing any of Mulleians works that, like the artists of the Symbolist movement of the mid- to late-nineteenth century, Mulleian deals extensively, indeed, almost exclusively, in symbolic forms. Often mystical, his images express archetypal motifs, exploring, as most of his works do, the themes of spirituality, imagination, and transformation, all within both the personal and social spheres. Much like an even earlier group of symbolists, the alchemists of old, Mulleians view of the world, both as it is and as it might be, is expressed through symbolic representations that are drawn directly from his imagination. That is, images drawn from what is described by the eminent Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, as the collective unconscious; a concept defined by him as an unceasing ocean of images and figures which drift into consciousness in our dreams [Jung, Carl G., CW8, para. 674]
work is filled with these ideas that derive their meaning from
a vast reservoir of unconscious images or motifs, forms or situations, all
of which best embody what Jung has termed archetypes.
In the field of comparative religion, these entities are defined as categories
of the imagination. Eidos is the word used by Plato to describe
them. They represent the very essence of an idea, the dog-ness
of dog or the tree-ness of a tree, and they invariably express,
as well as is possible, something which is virtually irrepresentable in any
other way. In Mulleians work, a dog is seldom just a dog, or a tree
seldom just a tree. Each is almost always a symbol, representing intangible,
archetypal ideas that, until they are understood, are as meaningfully elusive
as they are eventually enlightening, as immediately confounding as they are
ultimately transformative. Using symbolic images of very real objects to direct
the viewers attention beyond the physical realm into a world of ideas
that are intended to transform the lives they touch, the artist attempts to
persuade the viewer of the advantages and benefits of seeing and thinking
beyond the surface, of discovering unforeseen possibilities in everything.
Mulleian begins and ends with an intuitive
understanding that symbols comprise the working vocabulary used by the unconscious
to visualize and articulate essential, intangible aspects of reality. By applying
and adapting these symbolic elements, the artist hopes to draw attention to
their potential to enlighten with ever dawning consciousness, and transform
through inner reflective experience.
Mulleian's technique begins with painstaking and tedious application and manipulation of texture, form, and color tones of the thin impasto under-paint applied to a carefully prepared surface. This primary step is one of numerous procedures, during which five separate techniques merge into a common denominator and create startling realism.
Under-painting with layers of pigment and glazes permits light to enter the painting and causes illumination from within. Mulleian came upon this technique through his own experimentation in his early formative teen years, not knowing until much later that the technique was first used by artists of the Renaissance and was known as chiaroscuro, or the use of exaggerated light contrasts to create the illusion of volume. Mulleian has developed this procedure to a level of technical excellence in the rendering of color brilliance and three-dimensional qualities. The total result is an intricate complexity of texture, color, lighting, tones, illusion, form, composition, and energy, such as in this Mulleian painting entitled "Bridle Path".
has been painting since pre-teen school years and well into high school
and is self-trained. It was here in the 1960s that faculty members
would purchase or commission works by the young artist. Recognizing Mulleians
gift, members of the school board as well as teachers furnished him with paints,
brushes and an easel which was set up in an old bungalow marked with the number
eight. It was here that Mulleian was left alone
to paint, a nurturing environment that eventually opened a pathway for this
artist to the world.
the late 1960s, he has had exhibitions in various California locations and
coverage both within and outside the United
States. His collectors are widespread throughout the United
States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Australia.
this time, at the age of sixteen, Mulleian
would be working among other known artists of the bohemian era, the beatnik
generation in San Francisco's North Beach,
specializing in color, tone and detail of life size wax figures of 1960s
icons, ranging from the Beatles and Jean
Harlow to various American presidents for wax museum's throughout
the US, until he was drafted into the armed forces at the age of eighteen.
Mark spent one year in Vietnam and returned
to the United States in 1969 to be discovered
by author, Leonard Roy Frank who, upon viewing a
single eight by ten inch pencil drawing,
was the persuasive force, indeed the catalyst, that would launch the
his use of Transrealism, a perspective from which
the artist observes all of the refined elements that our life here
To quote Robert Arbegast, after experiencing this same visual phenomenon of Mulleians painting in 1977, It would have been impossible for Muleians paintings to have consistently had this kind of effect on people if this kind of energy wasnt in Mulleians paintings in the first place. One of Mr. Arbegasts fields of specialty was in energy composition dynamics in art and he understood the physics of the phenomenon only too well.
Arbegast graduated from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and was awarded the Bachelor of Science Degree in Science Education. He would later move to Trenton State College to do graduate study in organic chemistry and earn an advanced Science Degree. From 1960 to 1973 he taught chemistry at Princeton High School and designed a curriculum for a new approach to teaching methods. He would later move to San Francisco to be part of a growing counter-culture movement that was sweeping the country and finding its unique voice against the war in Vietnam.
This counter-culture, universally known as the Hippie Movement, was a guiding force which helped to galvanize new ways of seeing through individual expression in literature, music, and the arts, and later, evolving into the vanguard of the Peace Movement, served as the catalyst that helped transform social norms.
time moved on, Arbegast later become a lead trainer
in mainframe programming at IBM. He first became aware of Mulleian's paintings
through a friend who brought him to the exhibit at the Frank
Gallery where, by chance, he was introduced to the artist in person
At 9 a.m. on a warm June morning in 1968, standing in front of his bunker, the artist received a prophetic intuition of an occurrence that would take place precisely twelve hours later. Throughout the rest of that day all of Mulleians thoughts, feelings and energies were intensely focused on this inner vision, so clearly and intensely focused, in fact, that for the next ten hours, time seemed to vaporize.
Two hours before the event a siren sounded and Mulleian and twelve others took refuge in the bunker, awaiting the moment of certain death. Distant explosions became less distant as the sounds of other hits approached, intensifying the collective fear. Without intent or even conscious awareness, Mulleian began to vocalize the growing anxiety welling up from his inner being. Drenched in sweat and shaking with growing, frantic despair, an unintelligible stream of words poured first softly, then with growing intensity, from his mouth, filling the surrounding silence with this indecipherable plea for protection. This deluge of welling terror built to its deafening crescendo, then, like the sound of the approaching buzz bomb headed for its English target in WWII, the vocalization of approaching terror abruptly ceased, and a deafening silence exploded in its place. For thirty seconds the silence reigned.
At exactly 9 p.m. that same day, a direct hit by a 75 millimeter recoilless mortar sliced through the decade old dilapidated bunker where Mulleian and twelve others of his company were sheltered. The mortar shell was designed to spin on its way in a propeller-like motion and cut through its target of two and one half inch steel, the thickness of the wall of an armored tank, and explode within the tank, blowing it an all its contents in every direction. The roof of the bunker was made up of two layers of half-filled rotting sandbags supported by very old, two and a half inch thick dry-rot timber planks. The explosion blew a large hole two feet in diameter, two and a half feet above Mulleians head. Hot jagged metal pieces of all sizes rained down and gently came to rest like feathers on the men where they laid on the floor. Sand and dry rot timber deposed the lethal energy of this missile. Or did they? Was it only sand and timber? Was the painting, entitled "Stone Statue Epiphany" by Mulleian, inspired by this profound event thirty eight years ago in this artist's life?
When drafted, Mulleian did not apply as a conscientious objector, nor was he influenced by any religious restraints on this matter. Yet, in spite of his engagement in the 1960s Vietnam war during the Tet Offensive, as a young infantry soldier, Mulleian had not fired a single shot, even while under major ground attacks by the North Vietnamese Army (NVA). Instead, he walked away with profound new insight, as he did in many other segments of a life that was guided consistently by pure faith.
Decades later, in a 2011 messages on a nationally televised interview, Mulleian stated:
have always regarded killing as a state of unconsciousness. These diabolical
wars would not exist if it were not for certain ruling elite, who are responsible
in reducing the entire surface of the planet to a chessboard for imperial
economic power, which could lead to world catastrophe for nature and man if
a correction is not made."
1968 a seer foretold events in the artists life, events which would
part of Flores readings, she was puzzled
by a noticeable single break in Mulleians lifeline. The seer wasnt
able to resolve this single mystery. Looking back retrospectively through
most of the years of the artist life, one could speculate with clearer
perspective on this issue. It is possible that what Flores
was seeing, but was unable to interpret for some reason, was
the artists near fatal accident that nearly cost him his life. Flores
received the artist without payment.
In this same year, Mulleian would also meet his nineteen-year-old lover Ron Raz who eventfully became the model for Mulleians most notable 1970 mural-sized painting entitled "Spring Crossing". A controversial work, the painting depicts the crucifixion of Christ, suggested by the results of a sixty-six year study by Professor Loren Ferri. This epic piece, concurrently covered by nine mainstream news stations and United Press International, became an iconic public attraction throughout the 70s on Sutter Streets Gallery Row in San Francisco, and would launch Rons modeling career, from Laguna Beach to New York City, throughout the late seventies and eighties.
was during the year 1970, (approximately a year and a half after the artist's
profound mystical experience in Vietnam as described
in his biography), the young artist once again experienced an unexplained
event that occurred immediately after touching one of the bronze panels and
entering through the Ghiberti Doors as it
opens at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral.
directly lead to the creation of Mulleian's 1970 prophetic painting entitled
Forsaken Paradise, foretelling of a world
to come that clearly emphasizes an ecological calamity. This six by four
foot painting was Mulleian's first of it's kind, and it consequently opened
the doors to many of the artist's other greatest works which followed
through the decades to come. These include paintings such as The
Calendar 2047, a 1971 piece which, like his painting "Forsaken
Paradise", depicts a planet in peril, while
his 1974 painting "Forces
of Man and Nature" also depicts
an imperiled planet and the consequences of mans inaction in the face
of natures warnings. His notable work Dies Irae
Dawn" both foretell nuclear catastrophe. Stone
Effigy gives a glimpse into the future through a space/time
continuum as both moments blend within a temporal paradigm, also warning
us of where we are heading, and The Crypt,
a work depicting a critical convergence, unfolding ancient, transformative
information yet to be discovered beneath the sands of Egypt, marking the
beginning of a New Age. Many of Mulleian's most profound paintings seem
to convey prophetic messages as warnings, as well as inform us of the
transformative powers within ourselves, again expressed in his work"Ancient
This is elaborated upon in Paul Deegans "Analysis and Review of an Artist's Work", a comprehensive, greatly detailed examination of the layered nuances in Mulleians images. Analysis and Review is a study into the mystical dynamics of Mulleians paintings, and uncovers hidden metaphysical meanings through the artists use of symbolism. The essence of his work indicates that man has the option to change his destiny.
From 1969 through 1970, Mulleian's work was first exhibited at the Continental Gallery, (owned by Leo Hills, and managed by Leonard Roy Frank, located on Stockton Street, center of Union Square, San Francisco, where now stands the Grand Hyatt hotel. Sculptor Beniamino Bufano's works were also exhibited at Leo Hills's gallery. Mulleian was featured from 1970 through 1975 at Leonard Frank's landmark Frank Gallery on Sutter Street gallery row, San Francisco, and again shared space with Bufano. The exhibit brought national public attention from all walks of life, ranging from the very young to the very old, from the poor to the very rich, and from the proverbial know-nothing-about-art man on the street to a wide range of discriminating collectors, intellectuals, and particularly other professional and academic artists, many of whom copied works from the gallery display.. There were celebrities in attendance as well, with such notables as Herb Caen, Elton John, Janis Joplin, Vincent Price, Shirley Temple Black, Beverly Sills, Tullah Hanley, Three Christy Minstrels, Thomas S. Szasz, Robert Shields and Lorene Yarnell, Eric Hoffer, and William Kunstler. All were among the admirers of Mulleian's work at the Frank Gallery.
It was a decade unlike any before it, like a pool of enigmatic energies indulging the world in new ways of seeing and perceiving. It was sparked by spirited individuals who helped galvanize the 1970s into the 70s Renaissance appearing on the scene for a brief moment then vanished like an enigma.
In one of her earliest visits to the Frank Gallery on a warm summer's eve, Janis Joplin suddenly appeared, standing motionless, in rapt attention amidst Mulleian's paintings. Studying both the art and the artist, she eventually commented on the artists heavy subject matter and its mysterious energies within the works, as she expressed wonder at their technical expression. Ingratiated by her southern-comfort style of silk and ostrich feathers, lavender and magenta streaking through the air, chiffon trails floating behind her she made her majestic way toward the front of the gallery. She left with a flourish and jaywalked her way through the rush hour traffic of Sutter Street.
Soon after, sparing through the late San Francisco evening air, William Ball, founder and president of the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) entered the front door of the Frank Gallery. Draped in furs, accompanied by two affluent female members of his entourage, in jubilation he walked up to the artist and dropped to his knees in admiration and invited Mulleian's input for art direction and stage set design for a play being produced by The American Conservatory Theatre.
On another occasion, Mulleian would find himself holding and shaking the hand of Shirley Temple Black. In one of her many visits to the Frank Gallery she expressed enthusiastic admiration of Mulleian's work.
And in numerous visits, the mime, Robert Shields, entered the gallery and walked as a robot up to Mulleian. Then, suddenly Shields turned into a frog, leaping high into the air alongside the artist as they went for coffee.
Soon after, William Kunstler, attorney of the Chicago Seven, Many others would follow.
During the 1970s Thomas S. Szasz, one of the nation's most controversial professors of psychiatry, in one of his visits with Leonard Roy Frank, meets with Mark Mulleian in his studio at the Frank Gallery, while in San Francisco for a speaking engagement.
Szasz once mailed
an old key to Mulleian, who then put the key
into a painting and sent it to Thomas Szasz
as a gift. The motto
in the painting appears alongside a key on a torn piece of paper that reads,
"Why not leave hidden the things that are not here and not hide things
Leonard Roy Frank, author of many books, among them the Quotationary Dictionary (published by Random House) and one of the most prominent human rights activists, building a nation-wide human rights movement, exposing the abuses of psychiatry and electroshock treatment in the U.S. over the past thirty years. Help make possible in bringing forth into the public consciousness the works of G. Mark Mulleian in the late 1960s through the 70s. Leonard Frank arranged Mulleian's first feature exhibit with Bufano in 1969 that lasted to the mid 1970. Upon Bufano's death his works were recalled by estate administrators, consequently expanding Mulleian's exhibit to an ongoing feature at the Frank Gallery, bringing further international exposure, attracting people worldwide.
August 16th, 1970: Death of Beniamino Benevento Bufano. World renowned sculptor and lifelong peace activist, Beniamino Bufano was born on October 14, 1898 in San Fele, Italy and was brought to the United States at the age of three. He first came to San Francisco to work on a sculpture for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Afterwards he traveled extensively in France, Italy, and China and, for a time lived with Mahatma Gandhi at his ashram in Ahmedabad, India.
Bufano is considered to be one of the great artists of the 20th century. Playwright Henry Miller wrote of him, "He will outlive our civilization and probably be better known, better understood, both as a man and artist, five thousand years hence." Bufano was also highly regarded by San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto, who, along with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, was instrumental in getting several of Bufano’s largest sculptures placed in and around San Francisco. In addition, Beniamino Bufano was instrumental in choosing International Orange. for San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. In a letter to Consulting Architect Irving Morrow, Bufano wrote:
I have been watching very closely the progress of the towers on the Golden Gate Bridge in its structural beauty its engineering and architectural simplicity - and of course its color that moves and molds itself into the great beauty and contours of the hill - let me hope that the color will remain the red terracotta because it adds to the structural grace and because it adds to the great beauty and the colorful symphony of the hills - and it is because of this structural simplicity that carries to you my message of admiration.
In 1970 Bufano sat for Mulleian in a modeling session, posing his right hand for a sketch. Legend has it that in protest of the First World War, Bufano cut off the index finger of his right hand and sent it to President Woodrow Wilson.
Bufano died in San Francisco on August 16, 1970 at the age of 82. It was Leonard Roy Frank, Mark Mulleian and Leo Hills who discovered his body in his San Francisco Studio. Mulleian, Frank and Ron Raz would ride in the limousine behind Mayor Alioto in Bufano’s funeral procession to Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, just south of San Francisco, where Bufano would be laid to his final rest.
crossing paths in the careers of Mulleian
and Bufano would last a year, a time in
which their creative relationship was solidified in their mutual admiration
and respect for each other’s work. The death of Bufano
is a profound loss to Mulleian
to the present day.
In 1971 in San Francisco's Civic Center, Brooks Hall had one of its largest exhibitions, "The Arts and Industry exhibition." Mulleian paintings, including a mural-sized work of the Crucifixion entitled "Spring Crossing", were a featured attraction and drew viewers by the thousands. Among those attending the exhibit was Grammy Award-winning Mexican rock musician and guitarist Carlos Santana, who expressed great enthusiasm and admiration for the work to the degree that he suggested the possibility of reproducing Spring Crossing for a future album cover. Channels 2, 4, 7, and 9 News aired the event and featured Mulleian's contribution to the exhibition.
It was at this time that two charismatic intellectuals entered the artist's life. The first of these was artist / photographer Jacques Andrian Janvier, also known as Jacques Lloyd. The second was Rebecca Campbell, a sister of the Holy Order of MANS, a religious order founded in San Francisco by Fr. Earl W. Blighton in 1960. Both Janvier and Campbell would have extensive and ongoing influence on Mulleian's thinking and creativity, much as others have had before and since. These include author Leonard Roy Frank, Benny Bufano, Thomas S. Szasz, and later, Robert Arbegast and Paul Deegan.
Mulleian's belief that there are certain people and events that come into our lives and are intended to reveal or teach certain facts, realities and truths. These events may inform, enlighten, admonish or encourage, events that alter the way we perceive and make us aware of truths which, without the event, we might never have experienced and understood.
Known for his mammoth sized paintings, in addition to his other works, Mulleian was becoming a big attraction at the Frank Gallery on Sutter Streets Gallery Row. While painting them high on a scaffold in plain view of public spectators, the artist was often interviewed by the press, who frequently brought their news cameras to document the progress of various paintings and feature them in their columns, including United Press International (UPI). Foremost among these was Herb Caen, who made mention of Mulleian and his work several times in his daily tales of goings-on in Baghdad By The Bay.
Characteristic for their strong subject matter, the artists challenging themes constantly raise thought provoking questions about man and his place in the universe, depicting mans struggle with the forces of nature, the metaphysical properties within reality, and transformative hope and rebirth. All of these elements are best exemplified in the daring and provocative early mural sized painting entitled "Progression", painted in 1972 and Forces of Man and Nature, painted in 1974. Mulleian has always been known for fearlessly speaking his mind through his paintings. His greatest horror is for any artist to diminish their work by allowing the popular or conventional influences of the establishment to overshadow the integrity of the creative vision. To capitulate is to lose ones voice.
As author Leonard Roy Frank once said in a television documentary on Mulleian: What he felt was imported was to express his true feelings and express his true desire to bring to consciousness in other people human possibilities. In that, since his art was really subversive, it was a challenge to the status quo. The status quo was something he wasnt satisfied with.
1972, the late Thomas Albright, northern California's
influential art critic of the San Francisco Chronicle
published a piece in the weekend edition on Mulleian's new surrealism, accusing
the artist of attempting to turn back the clock to literalism and such of
those of a bygone era of the Dutch and Italian renaissance masters. Albright
found this to be a threat to the sensibilities of the 1970s loosely defined
art world of abstract expressionism, conceptualism and experimental modernism.
Mulleian responded: "Should I take Albright's
comments literally or conceptually?" A day later the San
Francisco Examiner rushed to Mulleian's defense. Art critic William
Zakariasen wrote, "An impressive exhibit of large scale paintings
is at the Frank Gallery by Mark
Mulleian that has a worthy message with well developed technique
to translate it to the viewers. Mulleian's fine sense of perspective and anatomy
of heroic figures is reminiscent of Caravaggio.
In this same year Mulleians exhibit would appear in Herb
Caens column in the San
In 1972 Mr. Medders produced the insightful and perceptive article on the artist entitled "Portrait Of A Man As A Young Artist", a comprehensive study describing the artist's transcendent insights, written in a personal, novelistic style after spending a year studying the artist, his work and public reaction to his paintings. Medders, Mulleian and gallery owner Leonard Roy Frank would frequently meet casually for late evening dinners around San Francisco's Union square through the early 70's. Medders was one of the very few writers of that era who would be able to get close enough for a unique perspective of the artist and his career. Mulleian would eventually regard Stan Medders as a friend.
Mulleian had been perceived by many to be quite
approachable, at the same time he had a reserved, almost shy nature that kept
his public life outside his studio, only allowing small groups of people that
he felt comfortable with to enter extensively into his inner creative life.
However, it was precisely in this area of homosexual expression that Mulleian's outspoken views drew the attention of the FBI to the front door of the artist's studio in an investigation into his controversial and challenging commentary on aspects of fundamental social values during the Nixon era and shortly after J. Edgar Hoovers death in 1972. Nevertheless, this cover story and the subsequent FBI investigation brought a national outpouring of response by mail to the painter from the Gay community throughout the United States, a wave of public reaction that lasted for over six months.
Despite the fact that the FBI continued to collect published articles on Mulleian throughout the early 70s, the original Brian Jennings article qualified Mulleian to be the first nationally known artist to be exposed as openly gay in both the gay and straight media throughout the country, and, by default, helped to legitimize the newly emerging gay culture in both gay and straight sensibilities in that early era.
Irrespective of the artist's outspoken observations of the national scene, his media attention continued to climb for over three decades, This attention came not only from mainstream media but also from the media of a newly emerging counterculture that was finding its voice in what would later come to be thought of as a bridge between the radical sensibilities of North Beach, (radical as perceived by the status quo), and the dawning of a new age of personal expression and sexual freedom. He was thought by many to be ahead of his time. Mulleian's art and his avant-garde views created a unique relationship with the media of two cultures, both gay and straight, and from as far away as Australia and New Zealand, England, France, Germany, and all through the rest of Europe; a symbiotic relationship that was not only unprecedented but, indirectly, a testimony to the universality of his work.
Two weeks after the Advocate story broke, a similar two-page cover feature would appear in the European equivalent of the Advocate, the German magazine Him, a monthly periodical reaching a wide audience in Belgium, Denmark, England, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the United States. Mulleian was twenty-five years old.
1974 After Dark Magazine,
a prestigious national periodical, dedicated a special issue
to the pace-setters of San Francisco,
featuring Mark Mulleian, along with
seventy two other as personalities, such as
Osawa, Lawrence Ferlinghetti,
Allen Ginsberg, Francis
Ford Coppola, Herb Caen, Charles
Pierce, Sylvester, Eric
Hoffer, Bill Graham, Robert
and Lorene Shields, Scott Beach,
Grace Slick, Imogen
Conningham, Keith Rockwell,
Paul Winfield, Peter
Ruth Asawa and many more. The photo became
one of Mulleian's most famous and has been republished by many newspapers,
magazines and periodicals throughout the 70's in the United States. Once
again the artist's controversial and
avant-garde views and personal
style created an ongoing provocative visual style which became a photographer's
delight. He was well documented by renowned professional photographers,
as well photography students from the San Francisco academy and other
photojournalists and writers who surrounded the artist and his work during
that era. Notable among those was Dean
Goodman, playwright, actor, theatre critic and freelance
writer. Goodman was one of the first to do what proved to be the biggest
story on Mulleian during the 70s; an in-depth article, which appeared
in 1975 in In
Touch Magazine, a national publication, based out of Los
was during this period that Rock Star Elton John
along with his partner John Read stepped out
of there limo and entered the Frank Gallery to
a Mulleian exposition and visited with the artist
and his manager Leonard Roy Frank. During which
Elton John stood transfixed before a Mulleian
painting. The Rock Star points to it, and becomes the owner of Mulleians
oil entitled "The Pilot Jacket."
The image is of an aging 1940s, vintage brown leather jacket with a fir collar.
From within the dark wine-red lining, as a teary human eye pears out at the
spring evening in 1977, on his way to his San Francisco studio, a dark and
terrifying moment nearly cost the artist his life. Mulleian
is struck by a car on Fifth and Mission Street leaving the artist with two
broken legs, bones that tear through his flesh, nearly causing amputation
of his right leg, and a broken left arm, all of which land him at the emergency
department of San Francisco General Hospital.
Here, Mulleian spent six weeks in traction under intensive care after undergoing
three major surgeries. The doctors speculated that the artist might never
walk again. This near fatal accident immediately hit the west
cost newspapers, most notably Herb
Caen's column of the San Francisco Chronicle,
leaving many stunned by the news.
Two months later, Mulleian returned to his studio, weakened from weight loss of nearly forty pounds. While recovering, he was under the care of Ann Watters, a friend of the artist who drove Mulleian home from the hospital, and brought great comfort to him in his recovery. Two weeks later, once again with Ann, Mulleian walked into San Francisco General with both full-leg and left-arm casts draped over his shoulder, much to the astonishment of orderlies and nurses, who greeted him in disbelief. Mulleian and Watters were both once part of a small, highly spirited group of friends who met in San Franciscos Haight-Ashbury district, joining in stimulating intellectual discussions, songs, and energized ideas over coffee during the burgeoning of the Hippy movement of the 1960s. Today Ann, who has always had a great interest in the powers of healing, is currently a polarity practitioner and teacher.
was at this period in the late 1970s that the artist completes two pen
and ink drawings, the first entitled Crossroads,
a work relating specifically to his car accident. While lying on the operating
table, as doctors and nurses prepared Mulleian
for his second surgery, the artist studied his shattered bones in the x-rays
displayed on a wall sized vertical light table next to where he lay. Mentally
converting the x-ray image from negative to positive, the resulting visual
commentary on the metamorphic nature of the event appears to be a statement
on the nature of strength in the face of adversity. The drawing of the shattered
bones, like finely sculpted Temple pillars, framing the image of a prone figure,
has a visceral elegance expressing strength and transformation.
Soon after, while still recovering from the ordeal, the artist created a powerful and provocative drawing entitled Death of Hephaestion. This work later received acclaim for its strong composition, particularly noting the arrangement of geometrical shapes of light and shadow, the effect of which ultimately forces the viewers eyes to lock into the grief-stricken eyes of Alexander the Great.
In 1986, one of Mulleian's most popular paintings, "The Orphan," received a Public's Choice Oil Painting award in an (international art competition held by Artists' Society International (ASI) at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Over 15,000 artists from around the world participated, 531 pieces of artwork were nominated for the ASI Awards. Of these finalists, including two Mulleian oil paintings, thirty-six became winners of ASI Awards. Mulleian's painting, "The Orphan," was awarded the ASI Public's Choice Oil Painting award, presented by Charlotte Mailliard at the gala event, hosted by Scott Beach and Claire Isaacs. The Honorary Committee for Artists' Society International included Dianne Feinstein, Tony Bennett, Douglass Cramer, Joan Fontaine, Burt Reynolds and Red Skelton. The art competition was one of the biggest in U.S. history lasting over a year.
In 1990, the oil painting entitled "Dies Irae," by Mulleian was a featured piece at Gallery on the Square in San Francisco's North Beach. Awe-stricken by the show-peace painting in its incredible power and technique, Art collector and promoter Wayman R. Spence would buy the rights to publish this work for reproductions and later, published in an international book, The Healing Arts. Consequently, the original painting is now in the collection of Wayman R. Spence, founder and owner of Spenco Medical Corporation and WRS Group, Inc. of Texas. This sobering work "Dies Irae" , depicting nuclear disaster, was conceived in 1968. It came to the artist in the form of a vision, while lying in a bomb crater during a large-scale ground attack by the North Vietnamese army as they advanced into South Vietnam. However Mulleian didn't begin the painting until November of 1985. And it was not finished until the spring of 1987. The oil painting is forty-eight by fifty-seven-inches in size. Dies Irae would eventually become Mulleians best-known work, succeeding Mulleians award winning painting entitled "The Orphan" by 2006.
In 1999, computer programmer, Robert F. Arbegast designed and built this website ( www. mulleian.com ) in dedication to Mulleian's paintings. Mr. Arbegast, in his devotion to the artist and his work, became instrumental in promoting Mulleian's art by financing reproduction lithograph prints and post cards. Mr. Arbegast would also write several magazine and newspaper articles on the artist which were published during the late 1970's and well into the 1980's.
In 2002, Paul Deegan, author of "Analysis and Review of an Artist's Work", would enter Mulleian's career. As a dancer of the 1960s Deegan studied classical mime with Jacques Lecoq at his Rue Du Bac School, and ballet at the Place Clichy studios in Paris, and later with Barbara Weisberger's Pennsylvania Ballet Company, performed with guest soloists Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev. Academically, Deegans background includes a mid-to-late1970s study in the Bachelor of Education degree course at Mather College, Manchester University, England, with majors in Education, English Literature, and History of Western Art.
by Mulleian's paintings and the artist's prismatic intellectual depth, Deegan
in 2007 would write the most insightful analysis to date and focus
on discoveries made from his comprehensive study of the artist's work. Deegan
discusses the prophetic quality that permeates this artist's vision
as well as the geometrical layering elements, not only in Mulleian's technique
but also in his choice of subject matter, composition, juxtaposition of images
and ideas, such as in this elegant drawing by Mulleian
unifying conceptual paradigm throughout his works is manifest in elements
which comprise a disarmingly subtle commentary on the metaphysical realities
underlying everything from individual human experience to collective world
social conditions, as seen here in this painting by Mulleian
the Hour", themes which resonate
with the spiritual and metaphysical nuances in the writings of psychologist
In April of 2005 one of the darkest days was to fall across the artists life. His closest companion, Robert F. Arbegast died after a long, tough battle with liver cancer, and a thirty-year relationship suddenly came to an abrupt end. On April 23 of that year Roberts spirit slipped quietly away into the moonlit night.
There in the hospital room, left alone with Arbegast for the last time, Mulleian embraced the body that was once so full of life. After leaving the hospital, Mulleian brought himself to say, "This is the darkest moment of my life, but it's just the beginning. He went on to say "It was Robert's death, but it is my funeral. Mulleians grief is well translated in one of his most powerful and poignant poems entitled "Metallic Sound", written only days after his companions death.
1984 to 1991 Mr. Arbegast was a lead trainer in IBM mainframe programming
and operations trainees at The Computer Learning Center in San Francisco,
and lead instructor at AT&T Professional Development Center, also in San
Francisco. By 1996 he had become a proactive consultant and end-user software
trainer. With this knowledge in computer programming Arbegast would eventually
design and build this website, www.mulleian.com,
in dedication to Mulleian's paintings, so that they could be seen and
shared throughout the world. The site opened to the internet in 2000.
In 2006, Dirksen-Molloy Productions produced an insightful biographical interview on Mulleian for "Positive Spin", a national news magazine, hosted and produced by Bill McCarthy, that was aired eleven times on Free Speech TV via Satellite Dish Network and is carried on 183 Cable access stations, reaching 30 million homes nationwide. Mulleian talked about his paintings, the world's political situation, war and peace. It was aired ten times in 2007 on "Positive Spin", as the national news magazine celebrated its 100th Anniversary with highlights from interviews with Kofi Annan, former secretary-gereral of the United Nations, Jane Goodall, naturalist, G. Mark Mulleian, artist, and Cindy Sheehan, anti-war activist and many more. Together, they delivered an urgent message for world Peace that was televised nationwide.
2007, film documentarian and chief editor Damon Molloy
of Dirksen Molloy Production completed one of the most dynamic
and comprehensive biographical television documentaries on Mulleian
to date, entitled "The Transrealism of
Mulleian's "Moccasins" and "Lost Journey" exemplify this very point. The painting entitled Moccasins is a sublime example of this detail revealed through individual grains of dessert sand. This is also exemplified by fields of grass in the painting entitled Lost Journey. The story behind the painting Moccasins questions our mortality. While the painting Lost Journey depicts an old wagon and other relics abandoned on the rolling prairie by pioneers whose secret, locked in a trunk and guarded by the seasons, tells a tale of a mysterious force with a face that only the eyes of faith could see.
The entire segment is narrated by Faith Winthrop, renowned San Francisco Jazz vocalist-songwriter and singer-in-residence at the legendary hungry i, who performed there in the 60s with such luminaries as Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Jonathan Winters and Woody Allen. Ms. Winthrop is featured here in an explosive, dramatic Gallery sequence, unfolded by her elegant voice, unlocking the story behind the paintings.
This enthralling documentary was executed by award winning film documentarian Damon Molloy and narrated by Molloy along with Faith Winthrop, taking nearly two years to complete.
2009 International Day of Peace A Global
24 Hour Internet broadcast, telecast via Radio and Free
On June 26th 2010, a documentary on Artist G. Mark Mulleian aired on Positive Spin, a national news magazine, produced and hosted by Bill McCarthy on Free Speech TV, via Satellite DISH Network and Direct TV, reaching over 40 million homes nationwide, and carried by over 183 Cable access stations nationally.
In this half hour Documentary film documentarian Damon Molloy and Positive Spin producer Bill McCarthy, introduce one of the finest half hour documentaries Analysis and Review of an Artists Work, G. Mark Mulleian by art curator and author Paul Deegan. Deegan reveals the hidden meanings behind Mulleian's paintings, including his most powerful work Dies Irae, a prophetic view of nuclear disaster and environmental devastation, with hopes of the raising of peoples consciousness, human potentials and possibilities.
airing occurred just days after an historical event in the media world. On
June 23, 2010 DISH Network linked up with Direct TV,
doubling Free Speech TVs national viewership
via this second satellite network.
On March 19, 2012, Mulleian delivered a powerful, spellbinding message to the nation on "Positive Spin", a national news magazine, produced and hosted by Bill McCarthy and is televised on Free Speech TV Satellite Dish Network and Direct TV. This segment dramatically highlights Mulleians latest comprehensive and prophetic insights into were we now stand in relation to our global ecological realities through his transrealism painting.
his segment of the program the artist speaks to us of misdirected human consciousness
through his 1974 transrealism painting entitled Forces of
Man and Nature, a dramatic work that underscores the consequences
of Mans unthoughtful alliances and shortsighted miscalculations in relation
to his place within the overall economy of Nature. Just when hope and human
consciousness are about to vanish into darkness, and mans environmental
enslavement and ultimate extinction seem assured, Nature intervenes to compensate,
correct, and restore the balance. This mesmerizing work serves as a precursor
to Mulleians most notable painting, Dies Irae,
a further development of the theme of Mans moral and intellectual negligence
increasing the potential for worldwide nuclear catastrophe. The program is
narrated by Damon Molloy, Faith Winthrop and
curator Paul Deegan.
On January 15, 2015, Pioneering Activist Leonard Roy Frank died at age 82. Author of many books, among them the Quotationary Dictionary, published by Random House, and human rights activist, Mr. Frank discovered G. Mark Mulleian in 1969 and introduced the artist's work to the public consciousness by arranging Mulleian's first feature exhibit in San Francisco with Sculptor Beniamino Bufano, thus launching Mulleian's career on a national and international scale.
In 2016, producer Bill McCarthy, president of Unity Foundation and host of Positive Spin, introduced an hour-long national television special on the gay movement, entitled Stonewall: The Movement, reaching over 40 million households. The program is a chronological narration of the progression of the U.S. Gay Movement, from the 1600's to the 1969 Stonewall riots, through the first wave of Gay Parades, to the first San Francisco gay marriages in 2004.
This award winning documentary film, directed and produced by Mulleian, introduces its participants who describe aspects of the gay movement from the eyes and ears at City Hall and the State Capital, as well as from those who were there at Stonewall during the riots. It covers the period from the late 1960s to the present, with such activists as Harry Britt, George Raya and Jim Willeford, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, and former State Senator Carole Migden, as well as activists Sally Gearhart and Nancy Adair of Word Is Out, each relating from their own perspective. Also included are Jack Fritscher, American author and former editor in chief of Drummer Magazine,Felice Picano, (considered by many to be one of the founders of the modern gay literary movement), and Stonewall witnesses Jim Lonergan, Ted Alden, and John McCormick, Drag Artist Rick Shelton, AKA "The Countess Lola Montez of Landsfeld". Add to this historian and author Ron Williams, and artist and activist G. Mark Mulleian, who lead us into their first hand accounts of the first 1970 San Franciscos historical gay march, called the Stonewall March, organized by a group of gay men calling themselves The Liberation Front, in commemoration of the first anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Rounding out the line-up are Felicia Elizondo, one of the original Screaming Queens of the Compton Cafeteria Riot (which presaged the Stonewall riots by three years), Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, known simply as Miss Major, a black, formerly incarcerated Attica State Prison and Stonewall riots survivor, (being also a transgender woman, and activist for the transgender community), and, finally, gay filmmaker Charles Roseberry, who was discharged from US military service in 1953 as the result of a McCarthy Era witch-hunt. All share their personal insights and observations, relating their experiences on the long but steady march from Stonewall to gay marriage.
Each interview for this program was filmed by award winning film documentarian and chief editor Damon Molloy of Dirksen/Molloy Productions, and is originated, produced, and directed by Artist G. Mark Mulleian, with Bill McCarthy as associate producer. The program narrative is written by author, historian and associate producer Ron Williams, interview sequences are edited by assistant director Paul Deegan, and Chroma key refinement is by technical assistant Stefan G. Voice overs by Kate Aragon, Joseph Amster of Emperor Norton's Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine, Kikelomo Adedeji, actress and singer, and Faith Winthrop, renowned San Francisco Jazz vocalist-songwriter and singer-in-residence at the legendary hungry i, performing in the 60s.
Mark works in his San Francisco cottage studio where he is creating his current collection.
Windmill - Ocean Beach SF CA