Born in Potchefstroom in 1946, Michael qualified with a BA (Fine Arts) through the Pretoria University at 21. In the same year (1967), Heyns was awarded the New Signatures prize through the then SA Association of Arts. Initially working at the National Film Board, Michael’s fulltime career as an artist commenced in 1979, with countless solo and group exhibitions to follow in the ensuing years. In 2007, a self-published coffee table book, ‘Kronologies/Chronological’ was produced, and updated in 2011, showing a valuable and detailed personal glimpse into the significant life of Michael and his wife Susan
In a professional art career spanning 42 years, Heyns’ themes explore concepts of birth, life, growth, illness and pain, underpinned by an obsession with, and an eternal quest for beauty. A deeply introspective soul, his art is imbued with notions of impermanence and fragility, alluding to his own increasing vulnerability over the passing years. Heyns is renowned for his distinctive but vast subject matter, including the commonly explored flower/s, flower pots and vessels, fish, butterflies and other plant and animal matter. Expressions of the human figure, including portraits, often in combination with the above, is reflective of his preferred existence of solitude. Eternally creative, Michael shows his love of various mediums to explore his chosen themes, testimony to his broad scope of expressive ability. Ceramics, clay sculpture, and printworks add to paintings and drawings as part of his extensive repertoire.
Michael lives in Pretoria, where his studio is also located.