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Sara Gallagher

Artist Statement

"Soft, ethereal, and at times surreal, my artworks depict the vulnerable emotional states revealed to me through intimate dialogues held between myself and the participating individual. Always keeping them engaged, the participant is involved from the conception of the visual representation, all the way to posing for the piece themselves, when possible. Through use of figurative realism, the image personifies emotions in a way that can be familiar to many, representing voices from all different ages, cultures, gender identities, and mental and physical abilities."


Sara Gallagher (b.1990, Vallejo, CA) is passionate about breaking the taboos that surround mental health in the United States. She harnesses her experience of working with houseless youth and people with disabilities to bring about an empathetic lens into the complex experience of what it is to be human.

Through her hyperrealistic graphite and PanPastel works, Sara provokes dialogue around the inner landscape of the human experience. Shaped in collaboration, she engages with her models personally by allowing a vulnerable, authentic discussion to set the direction of each piece. Detailed, emotive imagery and subtle surreal qualities provide a brave and beautiful space for our challenging emotions to exist. This creates an emotionally intimate exchange between herself, the model, and the viewer, and invites us all to experience powerful solidarity and understanding of some of our most personal thoughts and feelings.

Sara received her BFA with a dual emphasis in Painting & Drawing and Photography from SF State in 2013. From 2019-21 she studied under the renowned German hyperrealism artist, Dirk Dzimirsky.  She received multiple awards in the 16th International ARC Salon, 1st Grand Prize in the 2022 John Dalton Art Prize, an Honorable Mention in Artist’s Network Strokes of Genius 14, and has placed as a finalist in numerous competitions, including ModPortrait, the Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize, and more. Her work has been featured in national and regional art magazines and books, and has shown in galleries and museums across the globe. She is included in public and private collections internationally and even on the moon, most notably The Bennett Collection of Women Realists and The Lunar Codex, The Polaris Collection. Sara is represented by CK Contemporary in San Francisco, CA, and lives and works out of her small studio in a redwood grove in the North Bay Mountains of the San Francisco Bay Area, CA.