Visual storyteller Dean Morrissey’s love of drawing stretches as far back as he can remember. In elementary school, he created a cast of characters similar to Robin Hood and his Merry Men and illustrated their adventures, which took place around and through the walk-ups of his native Boston. After high school, he eschewed college for a number of odd jobs, including construction work. Nights were spent drawing. After almost a dozen years of illustrating book covers in the evening and winning accolades for his work, Dean decided to become a full-time painter. In the years that followed, he refined a style reminiscent of the Old Masters painting ordinary objects in extraordinary situations, using dramatic light effects and color so rich and radiant that his canvases seem to glow from within. Dean believes that seeing familiar things in a fantasy painting makes the magic believable. Besides adding small, recognizable items to a complex painting, he incorporates paint chips, worn spots and dents into the inanimate objects he paints, adding character and suggesting a history which he leaves to the viewer to interpret.Since 1992 when Gallery One first introduced Dean’s work to its collectors world-wide and to Mill Pond Press (Dean is now with the Greenwich Workshop), more than 50 limited edition and open edition prints of his paintings have been released. Most editions have sold-out quickly and continue to be highly sought-after on the secondary market. In 1994 Abrams Books published Dean’s first story, “Ship of Dreams.” The book is about Joey, a little boy who finds himself sailing through the night sky aboard the Sandman’s ship. Together, Joey and the Sandman travel through a sea of stars and sprinkle sleeping dust over the world’s children. “Ship of Dreams” is filled with paintings Dean created especially for the book, which was named one of the ten best illustrated children’s books of 1994 by the New York Times Book Review. “People” magazine recommended “Ship of Dreams” as one of its “Picks” for young readers, and on Christmas Day, 1994, Morrissey was featured in a national interview on CBS Sunday Morning. The book has since been translated into German and French and sold more than 100,000 copies in its first year of publication alone. Sales of “Ship of Dreams” have now passed the 300,000 mark and the book was named among the best-selling children’s books of all time.Dean has been featured on NBC’s Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning and CNN Headline News. Images from “Ship of Dreams” have been on the cover of the prestigious FAO Schwarz Christmas catalogue, and in 1996, Saks Fifth Avenue chose “Ship of Dreams” as the theme for its annual holiday window display.Other books followed including “The Great Kettles: A Tale of Time,” “The Christmas Ship,” “The Moon Robbers,” “The Winter King,” “Song of Celestine” and “The Monster Trap.” Along with the books came awards and honors, among them a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrations. “Ship of Dreams” was one of three finalists for the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Award for Children’s Books and was unanimously named the Gold Award winner by Spectrun, a design and packaging annual, in the book category. Dean was one of 10 authors nominated to receive the ABBY award, which is bestowed upon the author whose book booksellers most enjoyed selling. He was selected by the American Library Association to illustrate a poster encouraging children to read and he was asked to appear at Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida to kick off international Children’s Book Week and address animators at Walt Disney World. His art has been used on the covers of nearly 100 books published by Avon, Doubleday, American Publishing, Armadillo/St. Martin, Simon & Schuster. Baen, Orion, and others
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