Michael Sass migrated to Tauranga, New Zealand from Knysna, South Africa in 2000 with his wife, Kathy and their Staffordshire, Sarah to be with their two daughters Tracey and Carron and their grandchildren, Benn and Hannah. Their elder daughter, Tracey, married Darren, a New Zealander from Te Puke.
Having been in business all his life, Michael pursued art seriously for the first time when he semi-retired in 1998. Art has always been his first love and, although during his school career he won many prizes for art, he was not encouraged to do art as a career because it was 'not a proper job'. He had been taught throughout his life to be handy with his hands and was privileged to grow up with a father who had a fully equipped workshop with all the tools required to create. There was very little he could not create and was rewarded when he built all the cupboards and kitchen fittings in his and Kathy's first home out of sought after recycled indigenous timber and was featured in the South African Garden and Home magazine.
He did two painting courses with the celebrated South African artist Dale Elliot in 1998 and has been painting ever since. His preferred medium is pastel but he also does oils and acrylics – mostly in landscape realism. Since arriving in New Zealand, Michael has exhibited at numerous exhibitions and was honoured to be awarded best pastel drawing at the Molly Morpeth Canaday Awards in Whakatane in 2005 and again in 2007.
In 2008, Michael's painting "Meltwater near Lake Tekapo" won best landscape of show at the same awards. The same painting was entered in the International Artist magazine's landscapes competition and was one of ten finalists internationally. In March 2008 it was voted runner up at the New Zealand Pastel Artists annual exhibition in Stratford. His painting, "Evening on Lake Wanaka", won the People's Choice award at the same exhibition. "Rangitoto I" won the People's Choice award at the Miriangi Bay Art Awards in 2008. His painting "Base Track at Mauao" won the People's Choice award at the Tauranga National Art Awards in November 2009. "Southern Light" was the runner up at the National Pastel Artists annual exhibition in Feilding in March 2009 and also won the People's Choice award.
Michael and Kathy together took part in the Gisborne Working Artfest in February, 2007 and again in February, 2008. Soon after arriving in New Zealand, he pursued his love of Maori carvings and did a one-day course in bone carving. He made a beautiful pendant for Kathy in the style of the hook and she wears it with pride.
Michael did a course in picture framing so that he could frame his own paintings. This he does in his usual style of total perfectionism! Michael and Kathy have always been keen walkers and hikers and their love of Maori carving prompted their desire to share unique carved wooden walkings sticks with other keen walkers and collectors.
Michael is a member of Pastel Artists of New Zealand and the Internationalional Guild of Realism.