For more than a decade, Dean Morrissey, a self-taught artist, painted award-winning book covers illustrating other people's stories. But Morrissey is also an imaginative writer whose ambition was to illustrate his own stories; an ambition realized with the publication and monumental success of his first book, "Ship of Dreams". "The reception has overwhelmed me," Morrissey acknowledges. "I was the kid who used to daydeream and doodle in school. I got my knuckles whacked. Now I'm living something I absolutely love."
Hailed as "one of the most beautiful children's books ever" by "Parent's Digest" and "magnificent" by "USA Today", over 160,000 copies have been sold in only three months! "Publishers Weekly" placed it at number five (and climbing) on its list of children's bestsellers in November. "The New York Times Book Review" named "Ship of Dreams" as one of the 10 best illustrated children's books of 1994, and "People" magazine recommended "Ship of Dreams" as one of its "Picks" for young readers. The television show "CBS Sunday Morning" scheduled a special segment featuring Dean Morrissey which aired Christmas morning.
After a whirlwind two-month national bookstore and gallery tour, Morrissey is already working on his next book, a story about Father Time. The Boston native and his wife, Shan, are the parents of a one-year-old son, Ian. For fun Morrissey plays guitar in a blues band he calls "The Two-Bit Chiselers." His active imagination is teeming with ideas for future paintings and stories - his intricately detailed paintings are each a story in themselves: "People often ask me what comes first; the paintings or the story. I think in terms of pictures, but both come from the same place. They're different manifestations of the same creative force. My thought process is a constant swirl of images and ideas."
"The characters, some of whom I've already introduced in my paintings, are a conglomeration of characteristics of people who have impacted my life. The Sandman, Father Time, Professor Throttleman and now, Mother Nature, all live together on an island across the Sea of Time. But they come into our realm to oversee and maintain things. They are good-hearted and good-natured people who check in on us." Morrissey's future paintings and books promise art collectors and readers more magical visits into this delightful realm, as seen in the whimsical painting, "Checker Cab".
"I see the Sandman as an itinerant and consistent shepherd, who, every night, checks in on you to make sure you're okay. Professor Throttleman is the official problem solver of the island and an innate inventor. Father Time comes to him for new machines, such as "The Telescope of Time" and "The Amazing Time Elevator." My new painting, "The Wooden Swan", depicts another resident of this island, Mother Nature; a beautiful woman, but a woman of substance. She has a major job to do, and it's heavy duty. I like the whole idea of the spirit of the character. In "The Wooden Swan" she's inspecting her handiwork and adding an ingredient that's lacking - the angel with the light of hope. Her spirit is in everything around her as represented by her reflection as a swan in the water . . . she's more than flesh and bone."
The realm Morrissey creates appeals to the young and the young at heart. He transforms ordinary objects with colors so rich that his radiant canvases seem to glow from within, appealing to the child in all of us. He invites that child to imagine what if . . . what if an ordinary red wagon could fly . . . what if you could travel through time . . . what if the world was infused with hope by a benevolent caretaker . . . what if dreams do come true? Dean Morrissey is living proof that they do.