Sandy Takashima Shaw

Sandy Takashima Shaw sees art as a springboard for conversation. A lifelong painter, she studied fine art while majoring in business. She’s half Japanese and grew up in Ohio, so after graduating she moved to Japan to learn more about her heritage. She then traveled around Asia before moving to San Francisco to work as a marketing manager in the technology industry. After years of painting in the evenings, Sandy was able to quit her day job, travel the world and paint: her dream.

Now she lives in Aptos with her family, paints while the kids are at school, shows in galleries around the U.S., teaches art and does commissions for corporate clients (the SF Google office is her most recent). She still travels annually with her family to surfing destinations. AND, fun fact, she’s also a certified life coach!

Known for her vibrant, mixed media acrylics featuring hundreds of translucent layers of paint, Japanese rice paper and ink, Sandy’s main goal is to be completely authentic in her personal expression. She weaves a narrative throughout each series, with the intent that ultimately, her art stimulates meaningful connection. This can take the form of internal connection as well as an interpersonal dialogue. Some pieces uplift and inspire joy, while some ask the observer to pause and reflect, and some challenge the viewer to look at things from a new perspective.

“My goal as an artist is to create art to ignite positive social impact, thoughtful conversation, and meaningful connection.”

In her newest series, the ‘AND’ series, each painting represents an issue in our current political, social and cultural landscape. The word ‘and’ (or &) is prominently featured in each, always brightly illuminated.

Following the election of Donald Trump, Sandy took to her studio seeking healing. “I was filled with fear, upset, and mistrust with our world leaders.” As she began painting, spilling black tears and blood over a map of the world, she thought, “How can the world heal?”

“I believe the concept of the word ‘and’ is healing. It represents ideas such as inclusivity, acceptance, collaboration and it is expansive… The enlightened ‘AND’ is an invitation for the viewer to take a moment to step out of the chaos and feelings of despair to open their minds and embrace the ‘AND’ mindset. What possibilities and solutions exist that have yet to be explored? Is there a way we can bridge our differences? Is there a middle ground?”

Out of this series, the idea was born to create an ‘Art Inspired’ Salon, bringing people together to “think about positive actions we can take in our lives to create the world we want.” She holds the event at her studio, where attendees come together to enjoy bites, beverages and conversation, study the series on display and discuss their findings.

“I believe that if we stay optimistic that positive change is possible, we will be more motivated to take personal action, both small and large, to make the world a more compassionate and kinder place.”

Sandy has now held four ‘Art Inspired’ salons, which debuted at the last Open Studios. Her next one will be on February 3, showcasing the ‘AND’ series, and YOU are invited! “It will be an engaging evening of artful conversation and meaningful connection… with delicious appetizers, wine and non-alcoholic mocktails.” Tickets are $40 in advance, AND she is offering a special price for the Discover HER tribe: a whole 50% off the ticket price! Just use the promo code: DISCOVERHER50.

She says, “The time has come for feminine leadership to rise and heal our country and world.” Thanks, Sandy! We look forward to joining in the discussion.

Current and Upcoming Events

October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018

Resilient and Revived, from the Black Heart Sculpture Series

Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History

The Chamber of Heart and Mystery Exhibit

January 5 – February 4, 2018

Spoken/Unspoken Juried Exhibit

Santa Cruz Art League

Reception: February 2, First Friday, 6:00-8:00pm

February 8 – March 17, 2018

Spoken & Unspoken

Porter Faculty Art Gallery at UCSC

Opening reception:  Feb 8th, 5-7 pm

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Art Inspired Salon Series featuring The ‘AND’ Series

Aptos Studio | 4 pm – 7 pm |  $40

Tickets at:

Written by our discoverHER blogger: Liz Hodges