Chad Hasegawa was born and raised in Honolulu. Enthralled with graffiti and the art of the Mission School, Hasegawa moved to San Francisco in 2000. He received a BFA in advertising from the Academy of Art University and worked for top agencies, including Venables Bell & Partners and Goodby Silverstein & Partners. He decided to leave advertising to concentrate on creating murals on the streets, and painting canvases for both commercial and non-profit gallery exhibitions.
Hasegawa quickly gained recognition for his bold and colorful latex paint brush strokes that pushed the boundaries of public art. His self-taught painting technique and use of color boldly shapes an object so that it is clearly visible when seen from a far. Up close, the work can be viewed as an elaborate color design-an almost mosaic pointillism of brick-like shapes.
Hasegawa is influenced by Vincent Van Gogh and Keith Haring, as well as Franz Kline and the New York School. These artists' work inspired him to discover seek out a subject matter that fits with his unique style: the impressively large, beautiful brown bear. In addition to their reputation of being fiercely protective of their young, bears are highly respected in many cultures and are considered to be ancestral spirits. Each of Hasegawa's bear paintings is created with the intent of being a protector - personally for himself and for everyone that comes across his work.
"I call my most recent works of art painter mache. This is because of the many random layers of paper and paint that are built up to create an abstract image, such as the image of a bear. Grizzly bears have an amazingly odd jointed body and their fur has many colors that create what we see as brown. I enjoy painting grizzlies and I really enjoy painting them big. Through my painting style, the spirit of the grizzly allows me to drip, spray and apply the paint heavily to the surface. The image almost becomes sculptural because the mediums are so built up. Amongst the chaos of the painted body of the grizzly, I also capture their spirit by painting their eyes, snout, and mouth in a refined and realistic manner. With this type of modeling, the bears seem to take on a life of its own."