A self-taught artist, Kassialos received a few lessons of hagiography in elementary school form the teacher and hagiographer K. Pierides. A cobbler until the time of the Second World War, he also practiced the art of mirror decoration, painting on glass, making decorative objects out of clay and plaster and imitations of ancient discoveries. Around 1957, he turned to painting, eventually devoting himself to the craft. Kassialos is considered the father of contemporary Cypriot naïf art. The day to day life in a village inspired him; he used it as his central theme, drawing from life or memory.
With great attention to detail, he portrayed Cypriot traditions, customs and old routines, giving them descriptive and anecdotal tenor. There is a sense of immediacy to his subjects, guided by his feelings and instincts as well as the wealth of his fertile imagination. His figures, calm and static, are positioned against a colourful backdrop; they are executed cleanly, with clear contours, coloured themselves with rich, vivid, clean hues and placed on uniform, block-colour surfaces. Byzantine traditions and Cypriot folklore spring forth from his compositions, combined with the decorative elements of Oriental art and the rigid structure found in ancient Greek conventions.
Michael Chr. Kassialos, Shepherd Watering his Sheep at the Well, 1971, Oil on canvas, 66 x 106 cm