Michael Steirnagle began his art career like many other fine artists—as an illustrator. After studying for a degree in illustration from the Art Center College of Design in Southern California, he worked on major commissions with clients such as American Airlines, AT&T, and Pepsi from 1975 to 1993. During this time he also illustrated an array of record album covers, including the cover for Jerry Garcia’s 1976 solo album, Reflections. Along the way, Steirnagle picked up numerous awards for his work from prestigious organizations like the Society of Illustrators. But ultimately, in 1990 at the age of 40, he decided it was time to venture down a new path in his creative life. Today he is comfortable with the way his work has evolved, citing Bay Area figurative artist Richard Diebenkorn and abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning as major influences.