Float: Paper and Marbling at CCA, Santa Fe (6/28/15). Teaching traditional and experimental paper marbling techniques. Thank you to Angie Rizzo for the opportunity, Thomas Hodges and all the wonderful participants.

Photo credit: Angie Rizzo

Photo credit: Angie Rizzo

Demonstrating Suminagashi (Floating Ink).

Suminagashi Photo credit : Angie Rizzo

Photo credit : Angie RizzoIMG_0625

Suminagashi on cotton rag and hand made papers.


Hanging marbled papers to dry. These papers were marbled on a carrageenan size, using traditional European and Middle Eastern methods.

Fabric and Paper Marbling workshop at Artisan, Santa Fe (7.11.15).  Many thanks to Masako Drugan, Mikhaila and Michael Demcsak for the invitation. Thank you to all the participants for making it such a fun experience.





Mako and Masako marbling on a carrageenan size with Golden high flow acrylic paints.



When the Mountains Begin to Walk (Future), 2015 acrylic on panel 80” x 48” (photo credit: Jose Rivera)


Dear friends,

I’m very excited to exhibit artwork in Santa Fe for the very first time. Mending the World Through a Dream, is currently on view from April 30th – July 5th, in the Cinematheque gallery, at the Center for Contemporary Art Santa Fe.

I’d like to express sincere gratitude to Angie Rizzo and Erin Elder of CCA,  for all their support,  and efforts in making this show possible. Thank you to the The Room Outside  and Dj Fatgums for sound contributions and the additional support from my friends at Artisan.

Lastly, special thank you to Stevie Greco and Carrie Secrist Gallery for their support over the years. Stevie, wishing you all the best in NY!



Press release:

Derek Chan presents an installation of painting and video in the CCA Cinematheque gallery. Referencing mythological explanations of natural phenomenon, Chan focuses on the relationships of dreams, celestial cycles, and the movement of tectonic plates in his paintings.
As an accompaniment to the 2-D works, his video piece offers a narrative understanding to the installation and a ‘warning’ for viewers to take away.

Annular Eclipse, 2015 acrylic and mixed media collage on panel 48”x72” (photo credit: Jose Rivera)

Annular Eclipse, 2015
acrylic and mixed media collage on panel
(photo credit: Jose Rivera)



















Since Dec, 15th of 2012,  I have been living and working in Roswell, N.M. taking part in the Roswell Artist-In-Residence program. My time in residence has now come to a close and new adventures await me. Since  April, 1st I have now relocated to Sante Fe, N.M. Earlier in 2014, I had the opportunity to participate in a solo exhibition Causation at the Roswell Museum and Art Center. I have also been fortunate to have the opportunity to share the body of work I created in Roswell with the Chicago art community.  Causation is now currently on view at Carrie Secrist gallery, Chicago, March. 22nd – April 26th. I am appreciative of the ongoing support of Carrie Secrist gallery.

Press release

Derek Chan exhibits a body of paintings that investigate new processes, patterns and techniques. The Big Bang, a large-scale diptych, depicts a falling tower, an image of warning motivated by Judeo-Christian and occult philosophies. Chan’s golden fortress symbolizes the imbalances that man creates; he posits that manmade structures built upon greed and ego fail when confronted by forces of nature. The diptych acts as the nucleus in Causation, underscoring Chan’s inquiry into laws of cause and effect.

A triptych, Planets in Retrograde: Mercury, Venus and Mars, examines planetary and lunar cycles. Composed of acrylic paint, silver leaf, and dye-marbled collage, his iconic interpretations of terrestrial landscapes mimic the New Mexican desert panorama.

In addition, Chan exhibits three large-scale banners encrypted with glyphs and QR codes. The artist executes his marks on amate (ficus bark paper), the same material on which the Mayan peoples illustrated their codices. In particular, Chan references the Dresden Codex, the oldest known book from the Americas; through sequenced images and phrases, this codex illustrates pre-conquest observations on mathematics and astronomy.

Finally, Chan presents When the Universe Dreams, a new animation with sound that engages his interest in storytelling. The piece comprises drawings by Chan and sound elements created in collaboration with artists in Roswell and San Francisco.

Images of Causation at Carrie Secrist can be found here.

Over the coming months I will be updating the site with new work, and information about upcoming shows.  During my time in Santa Fe, I will continue to work on my craft, refine my vision, research, collaborate and  explore new possibilities.  I will use this space to share my work and process as I continue to learn and grow.

Thank you for your interest, support and inspiration.

Best regards,


The images below, are in chronological order (starting with current to past work).


When The Universe Dreams, 2014
Slide Projection and Audio Loop,
Dimensions Variable

Big Bang

Dance of Retribution (left), 2013 Acrylic, gold leaf and collage on panel, 84 x 48 inches
Photo: Jose Rivera

The Big Bang (right), 2013 Acrylic, gold leaf and collage on panel, 84 x 48 inches
Photo: Jose Rivera















Dance of Retribution,2013,  Acrylic, gold leaf and collage on panel, 84 x 48 inches
Photo: Jose Rivera















The Big Bang, 2013, Acrylic, gold leaf and collage on panel, 84 x 48 inches
Photo: Jose Rivera


Causation, 2014, Installation view Roswell Museum and Art Center
Photo: Jose Rivera


Planets In Retrograde: Venus (left), Mercury (center) and Mars (right), 2013 (Triptych)
Acrylic, silver leaf and collage on panel
Each panel, 72 X 48 inches
Installation view Roswell Museum and Art Center
Photo: Jose Rivera















Planets In Retrograde: Venus, 2013
Acrylic and collage on panel, 72 X 48 inches
Installation view Roswell Museum and Art Center
Photo: Jose Rivera















Planets In Retrograde: Mercury, 2013
Acrylic, silver leaf and collage on panell, 72 X 48 inches
Installation view Roswell Museum and Art Center
Photo: Jose Rivera















Planets In Retrograde: Mars, 2013
Acrylic and collage on panel, 72 X 48 inches
Installation view Roswell Museum and Art Center
Photo: Jose Rivera


Present (left), Past (center), Future (right), 2013
Cut paper and gold leaf on amate paper
Each banner 96 X 48 inches
Photo: Jose Rivera


Future, 2013
Cut paper and gold leaf on amate paper
96 X 48 inches
Photo: Jose Rivera


Present (left),Past (right), 2013
Cut paper and gold leaf on amate paper
Each banner 96 X 48 inches
Photo: Jose Rivera












When The Universe Dreams, 2014
Slide Projection and Audio Loop,
Dimensions Variable
Photo: Jose Rivera


Jupiter, 2013
Acrylic, gold leaf and collage on panel
36 x 30 inches
Photo: Jose Rivera


5 Elements for Trying People, 2014 (Roswell)
8 x 10 x 1 inches
Acrylic on wood panel and rock
Edition of 3


Daily Ritual, 2014
(Notebook) marbled paper, collage
5 x 8 x 1 inches
(Bookmark) ink, gouache, amate paper
2 x 7 inches


Healing hands, 2014, ink on paper
2 x 5 inches
courtesy of Whitney Hobson


Daily Affirmations, 2014, ink on paper
2 x 5 inches
courtesy of Whitney Hobson


May you Follow Your Heart and the Symbols in Your Life, 2014, ink on paper
5 x 4 inches
courtesy of Whitney Hobson




Student artwork from Second Saturday class, at the Roswell Museum and Art Center, taught by myself and Jessica Kirkpatrick. This particular workshop focused on the cyanotype process and mixed media collage.




At Three Rivers Petroglyph site with fellow artists Lucho Pozo, Jose Rivera and Ted Schooley.



Mescalero Sands with Jose Rivera, 2013.


Bitterlakes, 2013.


Roswell, 2013.

Dimensions, 2012 Acrylic and spray paint on panel
Photo by David Robert Elliot




5 Elements for Trying People, 2012
8 x 10 x 1 inches
Acrylic on wood panel and rock
Edition of 30 for Threewalls Spring 2012 edition of Community Supported Art.

This artwork was born out of an interest in the five great elements found throughout many spiritual traditions. The elements are interpreted here and represented by the color-coded wood pieces, black – earth, blue – water, red – fire, yellow –air and white – void or aether. This piece is intended to be a playful exercise in balancing elements and their energy forces that influence our lived realities. These elements prove to be trying, or a challenge as we navigate through our day-to-day existence. Any number of arrangements can be made and repeated over time. To complete the piece, a photo, letter, or any object can be placed in the center for contemplation. Additionally, a holder for burning incense is conveniently incorporated into the piece. The piece is meant to be an open space for anyone to create his or her own personalized ritual if desired.


Watch my predictions for Astro Space Party here. 8.14.12

All Our Relations

Press release
Reviewed for TimeOut Chicago, by Candace Weber here.
*select images from All Our Relations at Carrie Secrist Gallery
Photos by Bill Bergston


Glyphs for Protection and Warning. The World on Its Side., 2011 Acrylic and acrylic ink on panel with mixed media (Hopi Kachina dolls) 48 x 96 inches


Above and Below, 2011 Ink and acrylic on canvas 9 x 12 inches


Tomorrow, 2008-2011 Oil and spray paint on canvas 55 x 64 inches


Light Stelae, 2011 Sumi ink on paper 36 x 36 inches


Eclipse, 2009-2011 Oil on canvas 50 x 60 inches


Black Smile, 2010 Gouache 36 x 40 inches

A Way of Life

UBS 12 x 12 New Artist/New Work at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Derek Chan/ A Way Of Life at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 2010.
PhotographyMuseum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Photos by Nathan Keay

Reviewed by Karsten Lund in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Art Papers, pg. 45
Reviewed in NewcityArt by Thea Liberty Nichols here.
Chicago Reader, Fall Arts Guide, Best Bet: Art by Bert Stabler here.

Installation view, Derek Chan/ A Way Of Life at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 2010.
Navajo four sacred directions, North, South, East, West, 2010 Gouache, glass, and Navajo rug


Installation view, Derek Chan/ A Way of Life at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 2010.









Cries and Whispers from the Salt Song Trail: A Reinterpretive Journey
Softcover, b&w, 80 pp.
Edition of 100
ISBN 978-0-9831080-0-9
Published by Golden Age on the occasion of the exhibition Derek Chan/ A Way Of Life at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 2010.

“This book is inspired by a desire to understand the indigenous people of the area, with emphasis on the Hopi Mesas, Navajo Territory, Black Mesa and Canyon De Chelly. I wanted to understand their optimism and unyielding ability to pursue a spiritual way of life. Despite centuries of oppression, foreign domination, lack of resources and trauma, descendants of North American tribes continue to hold on to their heritage and land rights.

My journey led me to ancient Hopi and Navajo villages, roads not usually traveled by non-tribal residents. The ink drawings collected in this book are a response and interpretation of myth, politics, landscape and the experiences of the indigenous people in the Four Corners region.”

-Derek Chan
September 2010

































Hopi balance, impermanence and optimism, 2010
Gouache and acrylic
Each panel 9 x 12 inches













Not an Island, 2010 Gouache and acrylic on canvas 64 x 70 inches

Courtesy of Tricia Van Eck


Not an Island (detail), 2010
Gouache and acrylic on canvas


Not an Island (detail), 2010
Gouache and acrylic on canvas


Not an Island (detail), 2010
Gouache and acrylic on canvas










Not an Island (detail), 2010
Gouache and acrylic on canvas


Not an Island (detail), 2010
Gouache and acrylic on canvas














The Weaver in Spider Rock, 2010
Mixed-media collage on panel
9 x 12 inches














Rock mound in honor of those who took part in the Long Walk, 2010
Mixed-media collage
9×12 inches


Yellow Brotherhood,2010
32 x 40 inches

Monastic Residency

Wednesday, May 12 – Sunday, May 23
12-6 Sculpture Court

Counting Time, Cosmology of Yard (in collaboration with Theaster Gates), Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum, New York, NY

In May, 2010, I was a resident artist and performer for artist Theaster Gates’ piece, Cosmology of Yard, at the Whitney Biennial. I and two other artists, Torkwase Dyson and Dara Epison, were given the freedom to reinvent Gates’ wood-clad Cosmos in the Whitney Sculpture Court.  Over the course of three separate ten-day residencies we were given the challenge to reinterpret, expand, and respond to Gates’ installation. The Monastic Residencies in conjunction with Gates’ Cosmology of Yard were formed collaboratively out of a common interest in transforming space, bridging understanding, and challenging ideas of collaboration and creative ownership. The Monastic Residency, Counting Time, included a durational performance, works on paper, ink drawings, and temporary interventions to the space.  Interventions were made to encourage audience participation and activate underused areas of the courtyard.  The modular wooden boards were painted on and used as props for drawings and installations.  They were also rearranged daily to change the flow of foot traffic and sight lines of visibility in the courtyard space.

 Being/Becoming, 2010, Durational performance, gouache on paper, robe, 100 x 110 inches

Robe designed by Irena Knezevic.

Being/Becoming took place continually from the museum hours of twelve to six (pm) for ten days.  Performance times ranged from a few minutes to as long as two hours. The residency acted simultaneously as a time for production and a site for performance. Within a 110 x 110 piece of paper the monk would each day perform the act of painting.  The monk would paint according to two methods of operation. The first method was implemented when the monk was alone in private practice.  The method involved painting an abstract composition into each individual grid. The monk would repeat and vary these compositions to form a script.  The monk pulled freely from a mental catalog of universal abstract shapes and symbols. Overtime the random script would become a meaningless code about nothingness. This method was open to the wandering mind and subjectivity of the performer.  This aspect of the performance was an attempt to come to a new awareness and understanding achieved through meditative focus, repetition, and the act of painting. The marking of the grids also became a record of the monk’s time in residence.

Audiences were invited to interrupt the monk in progress. The monk would break the random writing of code when this interruption happened. He would then implement the second method of operation. A predetermined mark was then made to record the monk’s movement from the private into the social.  This same mark was inserted into the code each successive social interaction. Relying on chance this method utilized the randomness of the courtyard rather than the performers subjectivity. It became a visual map of each time the monk engaged with the public over the ten-days.

The participation of the audience became an integral part of the monk’s process. The audience acted as a guide to bring the monk out of isolation. A discrete text piece prompted the audience to share with the monk, “What would you value, fear and do to survive on a dying planet?” The monk’s willingness to step out of painting space came unexpected to some visitors.  The performer would often explain, that ultimately, the painting was a tool to encourage engagement with the public.

Wearing a silver robe, the monk could be seen painting on his knees from the street above. Looking into the courtyard, loud droning chants could be heard from Gates’ video installation.  Immersed in the black gradation of the painting surface, the monk might appear dislocated from specific time and place. The monk was seemingly familiar but also foreign.  The monk acted out painting rituals influenced by ancient Tibet practices while wearing a robe influenced by the afro-futuristic clothing of Sun-Ra.  Interested in ideas regarding authenticity, the performer played with contradictions of the past, present, and future. Some of the more humorous and interesting interactions occurred when visitors believed the artist to be an actual monk.  Carrying certain expectations some viewers were confused or disappointed when realizing this was not the case. For others, this opened up a space for dialogue. It was during these interactions some of the most enlightening and rewarding moments occurred.

Conversations ranged from answering questions about the artwork to the more personal. Some openly expressed their like, or dislike, for the work. Some visitors offered their thoughts about New York and the New York art world. Most were simply curious about what the performer was doing and why. Many generously responded to the text prompts by sharing their thoughts on fear, value, survival, and their concerns about the current British Petroleum oil spill. Some visitors discussed their own spiritual practices and the role it played for them in face of uncertain and misguided times. Others were more responsive to the lists and left behind hand written messages. Sometimes people simply gave a look of acknowledgment or a smile.  For the performer, the experience was a challenge in humility, consistency, and extroversion.  It was also a lesson in trust and openness to the audience.  At the close of the ten days the monk rolled up the scrolls and uninstalled the space.  The painted “Welcome” boards were left behind as the only remnants of the monk’s time in residence.

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Photos by Paula Court


2010 and earlier


Daily Practice, 2010
36 x 40 inches


Time is on your side, 2010
36 x 40 inches


Things are the same but different, 2010
36 x 40 inches


Jogging with Caspar David Friedrich, 2010
36 x 40 inches












Daily ink drawing project. More here from Thirty and Eight with Ayako Yamasaki presented at Golden Age.









Golden Age project space (2007 – 2011) founded by Martine Syms and Marco Kane Braunschweiler.
The years 2008-2011 were formative years as a friend, collaborator and artist of the space.
Read Martine Syms’ Art/21- “Center Field: Art in the Middle with Bad At Sports/Interview” with me here.










Vega Estates project space curated by Roxane Hopper and Julie Rudder, provided me with my earliest opportunities to show my work, and allowed for me to be part of an arts  community in Chicago.


Stand, 2007,
Oil, spray paint on canvas
68 x 78 inches


At the Gate, 2006,
Oil, spray paint on canvas
48 x 48 inches