Michelle Sakhai received her Masters in Fine Arts from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with high honors from Hofstra University in Long Island, New York. Majoring in Art History and minoring in Fine Arts, she also attended classes at C.W. Post College, New York University and in Venice, Italy. She continued her studies at d'Arts Plastique I Disseny, also known as LLOTJA, in Barcelona, Spain, with the School of Visual Arts in New York City. This was where Michelle painted the streets of Barcelona and landscapes of Valencia.
In 2006 Michelle received a grant to attend the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT and shortly after travelled to France to study at the Marchutz Academy of Fine Art in Aix en Provence. She painted in many areas of southern France including Ventabren, Arles, Eguilles, and Marseille. She continued her studies with artist Nikolai Kojoukhovski in Port Bail, Normandy and Nice.
While studying in San Francisco to receive her MFA, Michelle was able to paint the diverse landscapes that the region has to offer.
Traveling to many countries from an early age, as well as her mixed heritage, plays a vital role in her artistic study and influences.
She has been a member of several organizations such as the Art League of Long Island, The New York Academy of Art, International Plein Air Painters, and has also been involved with the Nassau County Museum of Fine Art. Michelle was initially taught by Russian artist Vladimir Terechtchenkov from a very early age. She currently resides in San Francisco, California and often travels to her home town of Long Island, New York.
I believe every living soul has a connection with nature. Being on earth, we unify and become part of creation. I try to expose what is deep beneath the surface to reveal landscapes at their most natural and purest state. 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, warmth, peace, and contentment that transcends race, religion or nationality. These are human qualities that lead to a path of peace and harmony.
Traveling at a young age and experiencing many cultures has been a source of inspiration in my work. My paintings represent places where I have lived and traveled-U.S., France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Japan, Egypt, Brazil, Australia, England, Dubai, Greece, Sweden, Alaska, Panama, Mexico and Canada. The images from these different cultures and landscapes build connections with my paintings.
Having a mother from Japan and a father from Iran, I find myself carrying both Eastern and Middle Eastern traditions. My parents immigrated to America, so I have a strong sense of both cultures, with the added label of being “American.” Keeping the balance between these traditional cultures in today's society, is an ongoing experience and life lesson that I express in my paintings.
As a result, I want to express the idea of time and nature. It is an unfortunate truth that beautiful landscapes eventually grow old and gradually die. Therefore, these frozen moments on my canvases are a reminder that every moment is precious.