Michael Cullen was born in Wicklow, Ireland in 1946, Michael Cullen studied at the Central School of Art and Design, London in 1969 and attended the National College of Art and Design in Dublin from 1970 to 1973. He has spent various periods living and working abroad in Spain, Morocco, the United States, Mexico and Berlin. He won the Independent Artists major painting award in 1984, the National Portrait Award in 1989, and several Arts Council bursaries. He is a Member of Aosdána and lives and works in Dublin.
Cullen has spent some half of his life outside of Ireland, and now divides his time between Spain and Ireland.
His works are in many important collections including the National Gallery of Ireland, the Ulster Museum, the Arts Council of Ireland and under several collections in IMMA, the Irish Museum of Modern Art.