A student of both the Fine Arts department and the Melbourne Institute of Asian Languages and Societies of the University of Melbourne, Justine Ulmann has completed degrees in various fields including Medieval illuminated manuscripts, Albrecht Dürer, art curatorship and museum management, and the relationship between Japanese screen and wall painting and castle interior architecture. In 2003, Justine was awarded a PhD in Japanese Art History, her thesis examining the depiction of insects in Rimpa painting of the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries.
Descended on her father's side from a family of Swiss painters. sculptors and designers, all with a keen interest in animals ranging from monkeys and horses and reptiles and frogs, Justy has been immersed in naturalist art since her birth in Alice Springs in 1971. As both child and adult, she sketched and painted with her father, noted wildlife artist Robert Ulmann (WASA member), on field trips through New Guinea, China, the Cook Islands and extensively throughout Australia, particularly the outback. Back in the studio she had unlimited resources and encouragement to experiment, even attending life drawing classes at the age of seven. Her first named drawing, in 1973, was, prophetically, "Ant's Faces", and her first exhibition was with her father at the age of eight. "Another Ulmann" proclaimed the Warrnambool Standard as she proudly displayed a linocut of octopi, but over the intervening years, her linocuts, watercolours and acrylics reveal an increasing love of insects, flowers and the art of botanical illustration, which she has studied at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne with Dianne Emery.