Karen Chew


Artist Statement



A San Mateo County native, Karen Chew graduated from UC Berkeley in Environmental Design (Architecture, Visual Design). Since 1998, she has exhibited drawings, paintings, and artist books in Italy, Florida, and the Bay Area. Her paintings and mixed media pieces are created in layers of professional grade watercolors, acrylics, etc. over BFK printmaking paper or fine canvas. Chew finds that these archival quality paints and surfaces offer an unlimited range of wet and dry applications, while exploring family and cultural narrative.


Karen L. Chew

1998 -2004: Various group shows and exhibits: US, Italy

“Unfolded: The Accordion Wall Book” group show, Drawing Works Art Studio
“E” series continued, collage/mixed media, Winright’s Gallery, Jacksonville, FL
“Beyond the Bamboo Curtain” series: solo show, Gallery 25, San Mateo, CA
New work and continued work, Zanzibar Gallery, Los Altos, CA
“Autumn Splendor” series: mixed media, Winright’s, Jacksonville, FL
“Winter on the Peninsula”: group show, ARTshare, Gallery 25, San Mateo, CA

“Autumn Splendor” series, paintings, Winright’s Gallery, Jacksonville, FL
“Exposed”, mixed media, The Main Gallery, Redwood City, CA
“Da Venezia”, ink drawings, Winright’s Gallery, Jacksonville, FL
Artist books, group show, Gallery 1212, Burlingame, CA
Various Mail Art calls: Italy, France, Belgium, Ukraine
“Brushes with Italy”, group show, Broome Street Gallery, New York City, NY
Continued work at Gallery 1212, Burlingame, CA
Various Mail Art calls and online exhibits: Italy, France, Belgium, Ukraine
“Words for Peace”: traveling exhibit, Fresno Art Museum, Fresno, CA
St. Augustine group show

Various Mail Art calls and online exhibits: Italy, France
Continued mixed media and book arts work at Gallery 1212, Burlingame, CA
Bay Area Book Artists, Olive Hyde Art Gallery, Fremont, CA
Works San José Benefit Auction, San Jose, CA
Book Arts Jam member show, Los Altos, CA
Bibliophoria II, Sebastopol Center for the Arts
Kindred Spirits, Butte College, Oroville, California
TechShop San Jose, September
Encoded Structures: Interpreting the Story, Handmade & Bound, Nashville, Tenn.
PCBA Bookworks, Members’ Show, SF Public Library
15th Anniversary Exhibition, SFCB
Book Arts Jam member show, Los Altos, CA

Artists’ Books Cornucopia III, Abecedarian Gallery, Denver, CO
Marin MOCA The Altered Book benefit auction
Feminism and the Artist’s Book, Central Booking, Brooklyn, NY
Book Arts Jam member show, Los Altos, CA

“underCurrents”, Asian American Women Artists, SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA
“Bay Area Women Artists Show”, O’Hanlon Art Center and Gallery, Mill Valley, CA
“Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here”, a traveling collection of artist books and broadsides, US, UK, Iraq (Beau Beausoleil)
Menlo College “85 Years, 85 Artists” – Feb-Mar 2014
“Absence and Presence”, a traveling collection of prints, US, UK, Iraq – 2014
Mail/Art/Book – Feb-Mar 2014, Ex Postal Facto 2014 at San Francisco Center for the Book (Jennie Hinchcliff)
Zalop – Feb-Mar 2014, Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia (Michael Orr)


June 2006 to present: Art Commissioner, San Mateo County Art Commission
Bay Area Book Artists
Foothill Letterpress Group


University of California, Berkeley, CA: B.A., Environmental Design: Architecture, Visual Design
1982-89: Residential building design
1989-97: Building inspector, City of Redwood City, CA
1997- 2007: Workshop instructor for San Mateo County Corporate and Community Education Program, College of San Mateo
1997 to present: Karen Chew Designs: Residential and commercial building design,
Green Point Rater
1998-to present: Karen Chew Studio: Fine art, including mixed media paintings, artist books
Continuing painting and book arts studies: domestic and international
Various volunteer services in local schools, PAL events, etc