Michael Whelan is one of the world’s premier painters of imaginative realism. For 40 years he has created book and album covers for authors and musicians like Isaac Asimov, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Brandon Sanderson, the Jacksons and MeatLoaf. His clients have included every major U.S. book publisher, the National Geographic Society, CBS Records, and the Franklin Mint.
A graduate of San Jose State University with a BA in Painting and a President’s Scholar, Michael went on to attend the Art Center College of Design also in California, but he dropped out to accept his first book cover assignment. He soon became known for his dedication to bringing an author’s words to life and Whelan covers dominated the science fiction and fantasy field throughout the 1980’s and 90’s. He was largely responsible for the realistic style of genre covers of that era, and his stunning color and composition have influenced many artists to this day. He continues to do cover art for bestselling authors, but since 1995 he has also pursued a fine art career. His non-commissioned works are in established collections throughout the world.
Michael Whelan has published 4 art books as well as numerous limited edition prints, posters, calendars, and licensed products such as greeting cards, t-shirts and sculptures.
As the most honored artist in Science Fiction, Michael has won an unprecedented 15 Hugo Awards (SF’s Oscar), 3 World Fantasy Awards, and 13 Chesleys from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists. The readers of Locus Magazine (for SF insiders) have named him Best Professional Artist 30 times in their annual poll (including 2014) and the Spectrum Annual of the Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art named him a Grand Master in 2004. Other noteworthy awards include a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators, a Vargas Award, a Grumbacher Gold Medal, and the Solstice Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America.
In 2009, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in Seattle, the first living artist to be named to the distinguished list that features such luminaries as H.G. Wells, Steven Spielberg, Rod Serling, and Ursula K. Le Guin.
Whelan paintings are rich in symbolism and offer many layers of meaning to be explored, but Michael Whelan’s lifelong passion has been to live up to his favorite quote from G.K Chesterton: “The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world.”