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Michelle Sakhai, Umbrella Bonsai II, 2012. Oil, gold and copper leaf on canvas, 30” x 40” © Michelle Sakhai.


Michelle Sakhai

–San Francisco, CA–



Michelle Sakhai‘s extensive world travels and her mixed heritage have played vital artistic influences in her life.  With a Japanese mother and Iranian father, she grew up admiring varied landscapes and pieces of art from around the world.  From the age to two, she was traveling back and forth to Japan to visit her family.  At the same time, she grew up with her Persian family and community in New York.  Having both cultures in her young life impacted and influenced her perception and artistic imagination.

Sakhai received a Bachelor of Arts degree with high honors, majoring in Art History and minoring in Fine Arts from Hofstra University.  She went on to receive her Masters in Fine Arts from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA.  She has studied in Venice, Italy, at d’Arts Plastique I Disseny, also known as LLOTJA, in Barcelona, Spain, and with the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Michelle also received a grant to attend the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT and travelled to France to study at the Marchutz Academy of Fine Art in Aix en Provence.

Michelle currently resides in San Francisco, California, where she has her studio and teaches painting at the University of California, Berkeley.  She often travels to her home town in Long Island, New York, where her art career began.


Michelle Sakhai, Rainfall, 2011. Oil and gold leaf on canvas, 48” x 24” © Michelle Sakhai.



It is an unfortunate truth that many beautiful landscapes eventually grow old and die.  The frozen moments captured on my canvases are a reminder that every moment in our lifetime is precious.  When the viewer looks at my paintings, I want them to remember positive moments in their lives. My intention is to bring out feelings of purity, peace, and contentment.

Traveling from a young age and experiencing many cultures have been sources of inspiration in my work. My paintings represent places where I have lived and traveled.  In addition, having a mother from Japan and a father from Iran, I find myself carrying both Eastern and Middle Eastern traditions.  I have a strong sense of both cultures, with the added influence of being American.  Keeping the balance between these traditional cultures in today’s society is an ongoing experience that I express in my paintings.

Growing up visiting Japan every summer influenced the way I observe landscapes.  My time in Japan enabled me to see how culture and landscapes are integrated and shape one another. Japanese culture and colorful landscape is the root of my artistic vision.

– Michelle Sakhai


Michelle Sakhai, Rain, 2011. Oil on canvas, 48” x 36” © Michelle Sakhai.


Michelle Sakhai, Umbrella Path, 2011. Oil on canvas, 24” x 36” © Michelle Sakhai.


Michelle Sakhai, Kasa, 2010. Oil on canvas, 36” x 48” © Michelle Sakhai.



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