Michael Whelan was born on June 29, 1950,
in Culver City, California. Whelan received a B.A. in Painting as a
President's Scholar from San Jose State University. He identifies M.D.
Stewart and Raymond Brose as his “primary mentors and
influences” during his training. He also attended the Art Center
College of Design in Los Angeles for a short period of time.
For the past two decades, Whelan has been
known primarily as one of the world's top illustrators of speculative
fiction, having completed more than 350 cover illustrations for major
science fiction works. In this field his hundreds of outstanding
paintings have been the subject of four books, and have won him an
unprecedented fifteen Hugo awards. A self-described Imaginative Realist,
he has earned an enormous, loyal fan base for his dreamlike paintings
which combine brilliant classical technique with wholly original, often
spiritually symbolic, subject matter.
He has turned his attention entirely to
his gallery art, in a visual exploration of our own interior space as
human beings. His figurative work is painted from life, working with
his models from initial monochromatic studies to the final finished
oils or acrylics. Whelan's work has been featured in museum, university,
and gallery exhibitions in this country, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
He paints and resides in Connecticut.