aatonau Skip to main content

“It has been so liberating to become an abstract painter. I don’t have to make anything look like anything or give it a name. Energy flows onto the canvas, emotion takes a unique form.”

The Journey Begins: From Long Island to Global Canvas

Michelle Sakhai‘s artistic journey is a testament to the interplay between an artist’s life experiences and their creative expression. Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Sakhai’s early exposure to art came through ‘plein-air’ painting, a foundation that would later serve as a springboard into more profound artistic explorations. Traveling from California to Europe, engaging with diverse landscapes and cultures, Sakhai honed her skills and began to carve out her identity as a landscape painter. However, this was just the beginning of a transformative journey that would see her transition from capturing the external world to exploring a more introspective, abstract space.

This evolution was not just about changing styles or subjects; it was about Sakhai’s growing understanding of her place in the world. Her rich heritage, a blend of Japanese and Persian cultures, alongside her American upbringing, imbued her with a unique perspective that transcended geographical and cultural boundaries. This fusion of influences became a cornerstone of her artistic identity, setting the stage for a significant transformation. Sakhai’s realization that her art was a living reflection of her inner growth led to a pivotal shift, where she embraced abstract expressionism, finding a new voice that resonated with the depths of her soul.

Michelle Sakhai: Metamorphosis and Embracing the Abstract

The transition to abstract expressionism marked a new chapter in Michelle Sakhai’s artistic journey. Completing her Masters in San Francisco, she experienced a profound shift in her creative process. The confines of traditional landscapes and formal training gave way to a more liberated form of expression, where Sakhai could channel her emotions and energy directly onto the canvas without constraints. This newfound freedom was not just a change in technique; it was an alignment with her spiritual journey, allowing her to explore and express her innermost self without the duality of structured forms.

Sakhai’s abstract works, particularly her series focusing on the sky and its ever-changing clouds, became a medium for her inner dialogue, reflecting her transition from a physical to a spiritual perspective on art. The use of metal leafing in her pieces added a tangible texture to her work, bridging the gap between the ethereal and the material. Exhibiting this series under the title ‘Awakening’ at Soma Arts in San Francisco, Sakhai solidified her commitment to this new direction. Her journey reflects a broader narrative of self-discovery and transformation, illustrating how true artistic expression stems from an alignment with one’s innermost truths and experiences.

Michelle Sakhai: A Confluence of Cultures

The artistry of Michelle Sakhai is profoundly shaped by her multicultural background, embodying a blend of Eastern and Western influences. Having spent her childhood summers in Japan, Sakhai was deeply influenced by the Japanese aesthetic, characterized by its depth and simplicity. This exposure, coupled with her Persian heritage, provided her with a unique artistic lens through which she viewed the world. The landscapes of Niigata, the Black Sea, and the surrounding mountains offered her endless inspiration, contributing to the development of her distinct artistic voice. These experiences, rooted in her family’s heritage, played a pivotal role in shaping her identity as an artist, enabling her to draw upon a rich tapestry of cultural influences in her work.

Sakhai’s artistic evolution is a testament to the power of cultural synthesis. Her early series, ‘Japanese Translations,’ exemplifies this blend, where she reinterpreted traditional Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints into large-scale oil paintings, infused with metal leaf. This series was not just a tribute to her cultural roots but also an exploration of how traditional art forms could be transformed and reimagined through a contemporary lens. Her ability to seamlessly integrate the essence of Japanese art with her personal vision reflects her broader approach to art: one that is inclusive, exploratory, and deeply rooted in a dialogue between past and present.

Artistic Evolution: From Representation to Abstraction

As Michelle Sakhai transitioned from representational landscapes to abstract expressionism, her art became a medium for exploring deeper, more universal themes. This shift was not merely stylistic but reflective of her internal growth and the expanding scope of her artistic inquiry. Sakhai’s abstract works transcend cultural and geographical boundaries, tapping into a more universal language of emotion and spirituality. Her use of color, light, and texture in these works goes beyond mere aesthetic considerations, serving as a conduit for expressing her inner world and connecting with viewers on a profound level.

This evolution in Sakhai’s art is emblematic of her journey towards finding a more authentic voice—one that is capable of articulating the nuances of her multicultural background and personal experiences. Her abstract pieces do not just invite viewers to observe but to engage, to delve into their interpretations, and to find their connections. Through her art, Sakhai fosters a dialogue that is both deeply personal and universally resonant, showcasing the potential of art to bridge individual and collective experiences, to heal, and to inspire. In this way, Sakhai’s work is a celebration of art’s transformative power, illustrating how it can be a vessel for personal growth, cultural expression, and shared human understanding.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu


542-0085 Osaka
Chuo Ward, Shinsaibashisuji
1 Chome−4−10