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Jeff Mann Bio

Jeff Mann | ArtistMy life as an Artist started before my memory formed. There was an event in my life that stayed with me…my drawing of my first classroom full of detail. I have been drawing ever since.

As an Artist I am specific in my needs and interests. I have always been inspired and drawn to classic craftsmanship and juxtaposing realism and fantastic images.

In Art School at San Francisco State in the early 1970’s I was fortunate to study under the “Super Realist” masters of the day, Robert Bechtle and Richard McLean. It was a unique time as I lived on the Napa Street Pier in Sausalito and worked in my studio at the Industrial Center Building, which was filled with artist studios of such notable bay area artists as Walt Kuhlman and David Best.

After Art School, I was in the right place, with the right skills at the right time. George Lucas had recently moved his LucasFilm Studio from L.A. to Marin County to continue the creation of his Star Wars films as well as other film and commercial projects. They visited my studio one day and hired me. I worked for 25 years at LucasFilms Industrial Light & Magic on some of the coolest projects ever…an artist and craftsman’s dream come true.

I started off in the Model and Creature Shop designing and building Spaceships, creatures and miniature sets for such films as Poltergeist, ET : The Extra-Terrestrial, Star Trek II, III, IV, Indiana Jones II, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Starman, Cocoon Young Sherlock Holmes and Out of Africa.

From 1985-1992 I supervised ILM’s Model and Creature Shops. This was the era of many large-scale practical photography projects. Die Hard II, Innerspace, The Abyss, Ghostbusters II, Indiana Jones II, Back to the Future I and II, Always, Ghost, Willow, Fire in the Sky and Rocketeer are among the dozens of films and commercials completed during this time.

From 1992-1998 I took on the role as Director of Production Operations overseeing ILM’s Physical and Post Production Departments as well as Studio Facility Operations. This was a time of tremendous growth and the transformation to photochemical and digital film production on such films as Men in Black II, Mission: Impossible, Back to the Future III, Twister, Casper, Congo, The Mask, Forrest Gump and Schindler’s List. In 1997 I was accepted as a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in the Visual Effects Branch.

For the next 7 years I was the Vice President of Creative Operations and a member of ILM’s Senior Staff. This role oversees ILM’s award winning staff of Visual Effects Supervisors, Animation Directors as well as the Art Department, Character Design Group and the Digital Matte Painting Department.

Regarding the artists who inspire me…Robert Bechtle and Richard McLean for their realism and Walt Kuhlman for his atmosphere and painterly style.

I was and still am drawn to the classics of Delacroix, Ingres, DaVinvi as well as Gustave Moreau and Gustave Courbet. Joaquin Sorolla is a favorite for his color, movement and brushwork. More contemporary artist’s would be Picasso for his bold imagination and I love Walton Ford but also H.R. Giger for his weirdness and imagination.

About 5 years ago after an amazing time working on some of the coolest projects ever with some of the most talented artists on the planet it was time to make a change and pursue my own personal art once again. My Wife and I wanted to move to a place that had a creative community and a country feel. We had always planned to move to Ojai since my wife grew up here. I became acquainted with the Porch Gallery through Guy Webster. Over time I became friends with Lisa and Heather and the idea of a show of my work in the community I live in became a reality, which was a goal all along. Being part of this community is the perfect step in my life as an artist.