Michael J. Deas was born in Virginia and subsequently raised in Louisiana and New York. During the 1970s he mistakenly attended art shool in New York, in a vain attempt to learn representational painting. The experience left him a broken, bitter man. After three and a half years of being told that Realism was dead, Michael dropped out and turned his efforts towards illustration. His art, prints and posters have gone on to earn four Gold Medals and three Silver Medals from the Society of Illustrators. In July 2004 he received the Hamilton King Award, given for the single best illustration of the year.
His illustrations have been featured in a cover story in Communication Arts Magazine (which noted their sense of grace and serenity) and in Graphis. He is cited in Walt and Roger Reedís definitive history of illustration. In a time when such ability is in short supply, he has found a ready market for his beautifully rendered subjects. Michael has created sixteen commemorative postage stamps for the U.S. Postal Service, including three of the best-selling stamps in U.S. history: James Dean (1996), Marilyn Monroe (1995), and Audrey Hepburn (2003). Perhaps his best-known work is his luminous redesign of the Columbia Pictures logo, one of the most widely seen images in cinematic history. His art, prints and posters have thrice appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, as well as dozens of book covers, including the 20th-anniversary edition of Anne Riceís Interview with the Vampire.
Michael employs a traditional Renaissance technique, applying oil paint over a carefully delineated underpainting, drawn on hand-sanded wooden panels. His original paintings and art, prints and posters have been exhibited at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge Massachusetts, the Society of Illustrators in New York, the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, and the New York Art Directors Club. Between 1984 and 1988 Michael was an instructor at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He is also an historian and active preservationist, and is the author of The Portraits and Daguerreotypes of Edgar Allan Poe, an iconographic study of the poet published by the University of Virginia in 1989. He currently resides in Brooklyn Heights, New York.