Born in the city of Shiraz, Iran in 1951, Hessam Abrishami was the son of middle-class parents and one of eight brothers and sisters. It was not until he was 15 years old that, through the inspiration and encouragement of a high school teacher who was an artist, Hessam discovered both his love of art and his talent for painting. He soon became obsessed with painting. While Hessam devoted his major effort to painting, he also seriously studied related types of art, including calligraphy and architecture - both of which he credits with making major contributions to the development of his work. At 17, Hessam received his first award for painting. A year later he won top honors in painting in a national student competition in Iran. At 19, he achieved first-place honors in the Iranian New Artists Competition. Many other national and international honors followed.
Upon his high school graduation, Hessam served in his country's military for 2 years. After his military service, Hessam decided to go to Italy - the center of art in Europe - to study. He completed a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts at the Accademi De Belle Arti Pietro Vanucci in Perugia. Although he pursued his love of portraiture by concentrating on realistic painting and special studies in anatomy, he also developed his talent further by studying other styles, such as Impressionism, Surrealism, Cubism, and Modernism. Hessam notes he was influenced most by the artistic atmosphere in Italy in general, saying colors were bright and the atmosphere was quiet and relaxed.
His subsequent return to Iran had a profound affect on his artwork. He found Iran in a state of revolution. The social atmosphere was darker, activity more frenetic, and the general mood less relaxed. His resulting anger was immediately seen in his paintings; they became less realistic, their subjects darker with more overall movement.
Ultimately, Hessam settled in the United States. He exhibits his work in Europe, Asia, and North America. His work has been published in several Ivy League University textbooks nationwide. The French press has called Hessam's artwork "a statement in fluidity of human figures with tension between each figure, a kinship that provokes the viewer to seek reasons for such relationships." Another described Hessam's work as "taking the onlooker to a realm of suggestion and mystical beauty…where everthing is alive with a sense of everlasting, fluid motion."