ArtistSara GallagherResidesUnited States
Pan Pastel
CK Contemporary
San Francisco, CA. USA
ThemesEmotional Intimacy
Mental Health Awareness
Female Representation
Figurative Realism
Contemporary Surrealism
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About the artist

Sara Gallagher (American, b. 1990) is a figurative realist who is passionate about promoting emotional literacy and breaking social taboos that surround mental health in the United States. Harnessing her experience of working with houseless youth and people with disabilities, she brings an empathetic lens into the complex experience of what it is to be human.

Soft, ethereal, and at times surreal, her mixed-media graphite and panpastel works personify emotions in a way that can be familiar to many, representing diverse voices from different ages, cultures, gender identities, and abilities. Her practice exists on and off the easel, engaging in vulnerable dialogues with her subjects initially, then sharing their stories visually while poignantly addressing broader mental health issues. Always keeping her participants engaged, they are often involved throughout the whole process from the visual conception to posing for the piece themselves.

The goal is to start the piece with a conversation and end the piece by sparking new conversations. This is done with the hope that people can access solidarity with others who relate to the emotional states being depicted, encouraging more transparency, dialogue, and support in our communities.

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. 

Artwork Themes & Subject Matter

Sara Gallagher’s drawings depict individuals’ emotions around challenging experiences that have shown up recently in their lives. Because of this, the pieces speak to current happenings in our world, while at the same time touching a core, timeless thread of basic human emotions. The body of work as a whole explores themes around domesticity, societal norms, intimacy, women’s rights, mental health, and healing.


Sara Gallagher’s drawings have been published in notable magazines and online sources including American Art Collector Magazine, Create! Magazine, Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, Portfolio 121, Invisible City Literary Journal, and Artist’s Network Magazine. She has also been featured in fine art books including International Realism, the Leonardo 2022 Guide, the Artists of the Bay Area Book, and more. 

Upcoming Exhibitions

Group exhibition: “Art Market SF”Fort Mason Center
San Francisco, CA. USA
Group exhibition: “16th International ARC Salon”Sotheby’s New York
New York, NY. USA
Group exhibition: “CK Contemporary 10th Anniversary exhibition”CK Contemporary
San Francisco, CA. USA
Group exhibition: “Art on Paper Fair”Pier 36 NYC
New York, NY. USA



2013, BFA: Dual emphasis in Painting & Drawing and Photography, San Francisco State University, CA. United States

2011 Painting & Drawing and Photography, CSU Long Beach, CA. United States

Solo Exhibitions

2022 Our Inner World, 33 Contemporary Gallery (Online Exclusive), Chicago, IL. United States

2020 Intimacy, Art Works Downtown, San Rafael, CA. United States

Selected Group Exhibitions


Art On Paper Fair, Pier 36, New York, NY. United States

ModPortrait 2021, MEAM (Museo Europeo de Arte Moderno), Barcelona, Spain

Art Market SF, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, San Francisco, CA. United States

ModPortrait 2021, Sala Arte Roma, Zaragoza, Spain


Quest for the Modern Figure, 33 Contemporary Gallery, Chicago, IL. United States

Annual National Juried Exhibition, WMOCA, Wausau, WI. United States

Epiphanies, MANIFEST Gallery, Cincinnati, OH. United States

Allied Artists of America 108th Annual Exhibition, Salmagundi Club, New York, NY. United States

Painting the Figure Now 2021, WMOCA, Wausau, WI. United States

International Biennial Portrait Competition, WMOCA, Wausau, WI. United States


Ethereal Epiphany, 33 Contemporary Gallery (online exclusive), Chicago, IL. United States

Innovator Showcase, TEDxMarin (online exclusive), Marin, CA. United States

The Human Spirit, Marin Open Studios (online exclusive), Mill Valley, CA. United States

Ambivalence, 33 Contemporary Gallery (online exclusive), Chicago, IL. United States

2018 YBCA Public Square Annual Pop-Up, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA. United States

Sara Gallagher - Figurative Drawing - 8
Sara Gallagher - Figurative Drawing - 6

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