UH Med Now

In Memory: Linus Chao, Artist, Painter of Deans and more

Date: May 3rd, 2019 in JABSOM News    Print or PDF

Pictured: Crowd applauds Linus Chao at the unveiling ceremony of his Deans paintings. Vina Cristobal photo.

The artist Linus Chao has left a legacy of his craft at the University of Hawaiʻi John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). In 1970, Chao painted a large bust of former Hawaiʻi governor John A. Burns, after whom the UH medical school was named.

In 2017, Chao was chosen to create a series of paintings of the JABSOM deans and unveiled his first painting, that of Dr. Windor Cutting, JABSOM’s first dean. Chao was recently honored at the March 2019 Dean’s Circle event, where he unveiled the last four paintings of JABSOM deans, including one of current Dean Jerris Hedges, who sat for the artist.

The series of JABSOM deans paintings are two by three feet, rendered in oil and framed in koa wood. Anyone entering the Dean’s Office Suite at the medical school will first be greeted by all five JABSOM deans, proudly displayed on the walls of the second floor Medical Education Building.

Dean Hedges with Linus Chao.

Artist Linus Chao (R) with his wife and Dean Jerris Hedges, who stands next to his painted portrait. DMD photo.

JABSOM Communications Director Tina Shelton interviewed the Artist during the unveiling of the first in the series of Dean’s Portraits in 2018. His devotion to his art was evident.


More about the artist:
For 50 years, the multi-talented artist had diligently contributed to the enrichment of culture and arts in Hilo. Chao’s works in Chinese brush painting, calligraphy, watercolors, oil portraits, photography and animation are in private and museum collections around the world. He is most well-known for harmonizing traditional Chinese brush painting philosophy with Western watercolor techniques.

Linus Chao was born in the Year of the Horse in 1930 in Shangdong Province, China, and received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Fine Arts from Taiwan National Normal University. During the 1960s, Chao studied and trained in animation and film at Toei Motion Picture Co. in Tokyo, Japan, and Walt Disney Studio and Hanna-Barbera Productions in Hollywood. He is known as the “Father of Animation” in Taiwan and China for pioneering animated educational films in Taiwan.

He moved his family to Hawaiʻi island in 1969. Later, he received a Master of Science Degree in Visual Arts Education from New York’s Parsons School of Design. He was a professor of fine arts at Hawaiʻi Community College from 1971-2003. In 1997, Chao received the prestigious County of Hawaiʻi Living Legend Award for his dedicated contribution to promoting culture and the arts. In 2002-03, he received the University of Hawaiʻi , Board of Regents Medal for Excellence in Teaching Award.

Related Story:

Oil Paintings of Deans Applauded at Dean’s Circle Event

Share this: