Mahoney, Jean

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Mahoney, Jean
(Jean K. Mahoney)


Born in New York, NY; daughter of Robert E. and Blanche Healey; married Donald P. Mahoney (a marketing executive), October 5, 1968; children: Jeanette Mahoney Molineaux, Ellen. Ethnicity: "American." Education: Georgian Court University, B.A. Hobbies and other interests: Painting, photography, reading, travel.


Home and office—Southampton, NY. E-mail[email protected].


Worked as advertising art director in New York and Texas, from 1967 through the 1970s; freelance graphic designer in Singapore, 1993-97; Southampton College, Southampton, NY, adjunct professor of English as a second language, 2001—.


(With Peggy Landers Rao) Japanese Accents in Western Interiors, Shufunotomo (Tokyo, Japan), 1987.

(With Peggy Landers Rao) At Home with Japanese Accents, Shufunotomo (Tokyo, Japan), 1990.

(With Peggy Landers Rao) Nature on View, Shufunotomo (Tokyo, Japan), 1993.

The Nutcracker Ballet Theatre (juvenile), illustrated by Viola Ann Seddon, with musical compact disc, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.


Jean Mahoney told CA: "There's nothing like sitting in a darkened theater when suddenly the orchestra pit lights up and the sound of the instruments tuning up washes over the audience—especially in an old theater. Looking around at the ornately carved and painted ceilings and walls in anticipation of the curtain rising sets even a child's heart pounding. These were childhood memories that illustrator Viola Ann Seddon and I shared, hers in Victorian Melbourne, Australia, and mine on flashy Broadway. The Nutcracker Ballet Theatre is that memory made tangible, a magical moment in miniature.

"I met Ann Seddon in Tokyo in 1987 when we were both living there. We met once a week to paint with a few other artists. For a few hours we would work to the music of a beautiful opera or ballet. Ann had a great music collection, and she always had a few personal anecdotes about the music, since she grew up with it. At the time, Ann was working on her first book, one for children, and I was working on my first book, a style book on integrating Japanese and western design. Two other members of the group were also working on books. After we finished painting, we would update each other on the progress of our books. Although mine and Ann's were very different, we talked about one day doing a book together.

"Besides our interest in art and music, we had both been leading sort of nomadic lives with our families. Ann left Tokyo for Hong Kong, and I left for the United States and Singapore. I went on to do more Japanese-inspired books. Then Ann moved to London, and I went to Vienna, the city that was the inspiration for the Nutcracker. I frequented the opera houses but felt a frustration for having to read uninteresting librettos. The gorgeous music and sets were a thing apart from the boring little brochures. That was the kernel of the idea that morphed into the book. The last move overseas was to London, where once again Ann and I were in the same city."