Jean Kazandjian was born in Beirut, Lebanon, where he lived until his early twenties. He was influenced by a wide array of Mediterranean cultures. Of Armenian heritage, he was also exposed to French and English as a second and third language. His family had fled Turkey in 1915 at the onset of the Armenian genocide; after spending many years in Ethiopia, they settled in Lebanon in 1933. Beirut was a culturally rich and sophisticated city and was often referred to as the "Paris of the Middle East" prior to the civil war, which began in 1975.
Jean is the third of five children. Born 1938. Lives and works in Los Angeles and Paris.