Lenore Chinn

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Lenore Chinn
Born (1949-06-20) June 20, 1949 (age 69)
San Francisco, California
Nationality American
Alma mater City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State College

Lenore Chinn (born June 20, 1949) is a Chinese-American artist best known for her American realist paintings and her queer activism. Chinn was a founding member of Lesbians in the Visual Arts and Queer Cultural Center (QCC) and served on the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.[1] She is based in San Francisco.


Lenore Chinn was born in San Francisco, California in the United States, a second generation Asian American. Both her mother and father were raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her father was a mathematician.[2] The Chinn's taught their children traditional Cantonese and American culture. When Chinn was two years old, her family moved to the Richmond District of San Francisco. The Chinn family was one of the first Chinese-American's to move to the area. Because of their position as a minority in a primarily Caucasian area, the family taught the children a lot about Chinese stereotypes. These teachings would influence Chinn's artwork.[3] Today, the Richmond District's largest ethnic group is Chinese.

Chinn received her associate degree in advertising art and design in 1970 from the City College of San Francisco. In 1972, she earned her Bachelor of Arts from San Francisco State College in sociology.[4]

Chinn moved to the Castro District in the 1980s and became active in activist groups, including the Harvey Milk Club. As the AIDS epidemic impacted her life, she started painting portraits of people in the district.[5] Chinn co-founded the Lesbians in the Visual Arts and Queer Cultural Center (QCC).[1][3] Her work often aims to fight cultural stereotypes by showcasing minorities and homosexuality.[3][6]

Chinn speaks about her work and about lesbianism. She has spoken at the College Art Association, Women's Caucus for Art, and other organizations. Chinn is also a curator, working at galleries in San Francisco. She has exhibited her paintings at Pacific Union College and the National Arts Club.[3]


  1. ^ a b "LGBTQ Asian American". Visibility Project. Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  2. ^ "'Cultural Confluences' reflects warmth of diversity". SFGate. 2012-06-12. Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  3. ^ a b c d Kara Kelly Hallmark (2007). Encyclopedia of Asian American Artists. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 29–32. ISBN 978-0-313-33451-1. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "Lenore Chinn". Queer Cultural Center. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  5. ^ FitzSimons, Casey (February 1997). "Families: rebuilding, reinventing, recreating' at the Euphrat Museum of Art". Artweek. 28: 1 – via Art Full Text (H.W. Wilson). 
  6. ^ "Lenore Chinn: Representing Asian and Lesbian Culture". Life + Style. CherryGRRL. 4 April 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Latimer, Tirza True, Moira Roth, Valerie Soe and Jennifer Banta. Cultural Confluences: The Art of Lenore Chinn. San Francisco: Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (2011). ISBN 145075127X
  • Chadwick, Whitney. Women, Art and Society, Fifth Edition. New York: Thames & Hudson Inc. (2012). ISBN 978-0-500-20405-4

External links[edit]