Michael Gassaway was born in New York in 1938. He graduated with a BA in English Literature with a Minor in Art History in 1961. He joined the USA armed forces due to pressures of the Viet Nam conflict, ultimately becoming a Naval Officer with Explosive Ordnance Disposal, basically underwater bomb disposal. Three voluntary tours to Viet Nam and many temporary assignments around the Pacific have significantly influenced his approach to painting, resulting in his focus on figurative work to the exclusion of everything else.
Michael worked in the offshore oil industry from 1968 until 1988 when his position as Managing Director of one of the world's largest underwater contractors was suddenly terminated. He started writing seriously in 1988 and painting in 1990. In 1994 he first began painting from models. He and his wife, Susan, having met one of China's most important artists during a business trip to Guangzhou in 1984, established Syllavethy Gallery in 1990 as a result of their growing friendship with Chen Yan Ning. Fortunately, their property included a large granite barn...now Syllavethy Gallery.
Michael works almost exclusively in oils and has exhibited work in Scotland and London. His paintings have been acquired by clients in Britain, France, America and Brazil.