The Art of Sandra Yagi

Sandra Yagi

Sandra Yagi is a painter who lives and works in San Francisco, California. She is interested in the intersection between science and art, using themes
of anatomy, genetic manipulation, evolution, myth and medical oddities as tools in
the creation of intricate, small and medium scale paintings in traditional
styles. These works depict strange worlds where flesh is malleable, skeletons
of conjoined twins play, flayed simians invade the historical canons of
Western art, and small, delicate, genetically hybrid creatures satisfy unusual
curiosities and symbolize moral conundrums.

She was raised in suburban Denver Colorado, and from an early age she
loved science (especially biology) and drawing. Yagi’s parents instilled in her
an ethics of getting a “useful” education because of their concern for
monetary and domestic stability—a result of their internment with other
Japanese-Americans during WWII. Yagi therefore put art aside, obtained a
Masters in Business Administration, and worked in the corporate world,
where she put in 27 years at major financial institutions. However, due to
the pent-up need to create, she took up drawing and painting again at age
32, while still working in finance. She left the corporate life behind for good
in 2008 and became a full time artist. Her works are in numerous private
collections, including those of Axl Rose, Ben Stiller, Miley Cyrus, Chris Vroom (Co-Founder
of Artspace), Paul Ruscha, and film director Lee Unkrich (director of Toy
Story 3). Her work has been shown internationally, and may be viewed at
Bert Green Fine Art in Chicago, IL, Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, CA and at her website:


Science, zoology, human folly and an obsessive curiosity for the macabre provide the fuel for my subject matter. My work is inspired by the natural sciences as well as by the traditional drawing and painting techniques of the old masters, including anatomical studies by artists such as Andreas Vesalius and Bernhard Siegfried Albinus. My recent paintings incorporate anatomical imagery to explore the human psychological condition and humanity’s affect on the natural world. Cutaway skulls are used to portray our basic human drives and the thin veneer of humanity overlaying our animal nature. Conjoined twin skeletons contrast figures with a natural deformity undertaking great feats of athleticism and grace. Hybrid creatures result from the use of art and fantasy to play with the principles of genetics and evolution.