“I am, as usual, doing too many and too few things at once,” says artist Gaye Chan when asked what she’s currently working on. 
Chair of the University of Hawai’i’s Department of Art & Art History, art director for poetry publisher Tinfish Press, and the brain behind a “HI-5 anarchist recycling bin project,” Chan focuses not on what art is but what it is used for. 
“I’ve been looking at portraiture for a long time—who gets pictured, who wants to be pictured, how they want to be pictured,” says Chan. Her current work-in-progress, Frass, scheduled to open at the Honolulu Academy of Arts this year, incorporates 200 miles of aerial photographs around the U.S./Mexico border. 
But Chan isn’t concerned with maintaining a signature style, and her work—placed for free in the community and viewable at locations like the University, Hawai’i State Art Museum, and Four Seasons Maui—is driven by what she finds interesting. 
“I’m free to imitate or impersonate, depending on what serves the project best.”

Originally published in Modern Luxury Hawaii Magazine, December 2009
Photo by the delightful Marco Garcia
–Also check out Chan’s dynamic book Waikiki: A History of Forgetting and Remembering, and my review here.