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Post-Prada, artist James Jean is again in fashion

March 11, 2011 |  7:08 am


James Jean’s illustrations of fairylike deities garnered him a cult following, with comic book fanboys at one end of the spectrum and high-end designer Miuccia Prada at the other. Four years ago, Prada tapped Jean, 31, who lives in Santa Monica, to draw his sprite-like figures for a store mural in the Epicenter stores that ended up livening her spring 2008 collection of apparel and accessories.

The collaboration was so well received that Jean was able to take a break from commissions. “After Prada, I felt like it was the perfect time to retire from doing commercial work and concentrate on my fine art,” he said. Jean’s new work will be exhibited in a show, “Rebus,” opening Saturday at the Martha Otero Gallery and running through April 30. The gallery notes describe his latest work as depicting “fictionalized subconscious representation of deities in an apocalyptic decaying romanticized setting.”

But the Taiwan native is still partial to fashion. In conjunction with the show, he collaborated with brand OVM for a collection of Japanese-made print scarves entitled "Lotus War" featuring his ethereal figures crawling into an anamorphic skull. The silk twill accessories come in a limited edition of 100 for $385 each, available at starting Saturday and through Martha Otero, who can be contacted at

Jean, who has exhibited at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and has work in the permanent collection of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, is still enamored of Prada.  Would he collaborate with the Italian fashion house again? “I would if they asked me,” he said.

The gallery, at 820 N. Fairfax Ave., is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

-- Max Padilla

Scarf photo courtesy of James Jean