Photo by Jeff Hawe.

Photo by Jeff Hawe.

Lauren Hana Chai was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii being the first of her family to be born in the United States. Raised by her grandparents who are from South Korea, she grew up with dual cultures: Very traditional with a Korean lifestyle at home, while at the same time being immersed in the western world outside. In 2010, Lauren moved to San Francisco to attend the Academy of Art University and graduated in 2015 with her BFA in painting.

Lauren uses unconventional mediums with mixed media as well as working with her first love, oils. The mixed media brings together different elements which is a reflection of her identity. She paints issues such as taboo, the Korean cultural trait han, history, the clash of traditional and modern, east and west, and the struggle for balance in between.

Chai on her North Korea related work:

"As I grew older and became more interested in my Korean background, learning about North Korea started to become somewhat of a fascinating and heartbreaking obsession for me. I later found out that my grandmother was separated from her own brother during the divide and they were never able to see or hear each other again. It is so painful for her that she can't even tell me the story herself, I had to hear about it from another family member, and I could not have the heart to ask her about it. As a visual artist, images of North Korea and it's people--our people--really turned my stomach and naturally I wanted to paint them. As an American and a Korean, I want to shed more light on the issues of North Korea not just as a secluded "Hermit Kingdom" but as a part of the rest of the world, especially with current events today show, the actions of one can affect many."




2015     BFA Academy of Art University



2018     1st Place, INTERSECTIONS: Considering Imbalance, Kahilu Theatre, Juror: Andi Campognone

2018     1st Place, Orangenius: Explorations, Juror: James Razko

2015     Academy of Art University Annual Spring Show, 2nd Place Contemporary, Juror: Craig Nelson

2014     Academy of Art University Annual Spring Show, Director’s Choice, Juror: Craig Nelson




2018      Impact Hub Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawaii

Solo Exhibitions


2019 “JEONG”, Mori by Art+Flea, 1170 Auahi St., Honolulu, Hawaii

2018     "A Place In This World", Asian American Resource Center, Austin, Texas

2018     "Last Known Locations", Impact Hub Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawaii

2017     "Lauren Hana Chai: A Search For Self", The Korean Cultural Center, Houston, Texas

2016     "Last Known Locations", The Little Raven Gallery, San Francisco, California

2014     “Femme Fatale”, The Royale, San Francisco, California, Curator: Trevor Martin

2013     “Faces, Self-Exploration, Eroticsm”, Public Barber Salon, San Francisco, California

Group Exhibitions

2019 “G70 Group Exhibition”, G70, 111 S King St #170, Honolulu, HI

2019 “First Friday”, Hawaii State Art Museum HiSAM Gallery, 250 South Hotel St., Honolulu, HI

2018     "THE 7TH ANNUAL ARTISTS FOR APPLESEED", The Pacific Club, 1451 Queen Emma St., Honolulu, HI

2018     "Heritage", 1132 Bishop St. Lobby, Honolulu, HI

2018     INTERSECTIONS: Considering Imbalance, Kahilu Theatre, Juror: Andi Campognone, Kamuela, HI

2018     Orangenius Explorations Exhibition, Dejavu Gallery, New York, NY

2018     "Pattern", Cactus Gallery, LA, CA

2017    "EIGHT", Art Room Gallery, Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Fort Worth, TX

2017    "BAD GIRLS", Cactus Gallery, LA, CA

2017    "Six: Small Works," Art Room Gallery, Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

2017    "Metamorphosis", The Forbidden Gallery, Greenville, TX

2016    "Holiday Group Show", Davis Gallery, Austin, TX

2015    "STROKE", Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, San Francisco, CA, Curator: Kevin Moore

2015    “Spring Show Exhibition”, Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA

2014    “Bijou”, The Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics, San Francisco, CA

2014    “Bio Collective”, The Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics, San Francisco, CA, Curator: Daniel Segrove

2014    “Speakeasy Fine Art Exhibition”, 32 East Main St., Los Gatos, CA, Curator: Shari Flick

2014    “Spring Show Exhibition”, Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA

2014    “Dirty Works”, Wicked Grounds, San Francisco, CA

2014    “International Women’s Day Ninkasi Night”, BrewLab SF, San Francisco, CA, Curator: Alison Dubois

2014    “Multiverse”, Revere Tattoo, Hayward, CA, Curator: Hiro Hayashi

2013    “Spring Show Exhibition”, Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA 

Publications and Presentations 

”Touch Base in Seoul”, KBS World Radio, August 20, 2019:

“[월드피플+] 한국계 미국인 여성 작가, 행방불명된 어머니 찾는 사연 “, Seoul News 서울 신문, May 4, 2019:

“Honolulu artist traces her missing mother's footsteps across the globe“, NBC News, May 2, 2019:

“An Artist Searches for Her Missing Mother”, Hyperallergic Magazine, February 13, 2019:

“Hawaii Storytellers: How I Make Ends Meet”, Honolulu Civil Beat, October 22, 2018:

Hawaii Business Magazine, September 11, 2018:

"Lauren Hana Chai", Sukeban Magazine, June 17, 2018:

"I just want to give her a hug", Honolulu Star Advertiser, May 3, 2018:

"「日本を責めたいわけじゃない、でも知って欲しい」。日本にまつわる“韓国の思想”をアートで体現する女性|", Beinspired Magazine, April 27, 2018:

"Pecha Kucha HNL: ♀," Honolulu Museum of Art School, August 11, 2017:

"Effect of Paris Climate Decision on Houston Energy, and Koreans in Houston: Friday’s Show (June 2, 2017)," NPR Houston Matters, June 2, 2017:

"[뉴스풍경] 한국계 미국인 화가의 북한그림 전시회," Voice of America Korea (VoA) 미국의 소리, May 12, 2017:

"채하나 작품 전시회," Korea Daily Texas 중앙 일보, May 26, 2017:"채하나 작가 ‘자아를 찾아서’ 미술 전시회 개최," Korea Daily Texas 중앙 일보, May 18, 2017:

"Lauren Hana Chai 인공물 South Korea," Blnc Mag No. 6, March 6th, 2017:

"In Conversation: Lauren Chai," Han Type Co, April 2016:

"Fine Art Alum Lauren Chai Sends Love to Her Missing Mother With Series of Paintings," Academy of Art Newspaper, March 2016:

"LAUREN CHAI’S ‘DREAM OF THE FISHERMAN’S WIFE’," Juxtapoz Magazine, August 10, 2013:


Impact Hub Honolulu 1050 Queen St, Honolulu, HI

Kaneohe Elementary School 45-495 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI

Shorefyre 2446 Koa Ave, Honolulu, HI

Shorefyre International Marketplace 2330 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI

Maguro Spot 2441 Kūhiō Ave, Honolulu, HI

Pono Home Essentials Office Private Residence

Planned Parenthood 839 South Beretania St., Honolulu, HI