Jessica Chao earned her BFA in Studio Arts at the University of New Mexico in 2012, focusing on lithography, sculpture, and oil painting. Jessica has been a contributing member of the Albuquerque art community by participating in art shows as well as co-founding the Graft art collective formerly situated in Albuquerque's historic Barelas neighborhood. She exhibited in numerous shows including Harwood Art Center’s Surface Emerging Artist Showcase, 516 Art’s studio sale, and the New Mexico Cancer Center Foundation show Gallery with a Cause, where she received the “Curator’s Choice” award given by Regina Held. Outside of New Mexico, Jessica has also exhibited in the Surreal Salon with guest juror Greg "Craola" Simkins, Chicago Art Department, and Louisville Visual Arts.
In 2018, Jessica was invited to create a large-scale installation for the exhibition Because It’s Time: Unraveling Race and Place in New Mexico held by the National Hispanic Cultural Center Museum (NHCC).
In December 2019, Jessica relocated to Louisville, Kentucky to pursue arts and explore new environments much different from her desert hometown.
Jessica Chao's art centers around humans and their psychological states which can be implied through carefully orchestrated narrative moments. The moments are glimpses of past memory or feelings. Mediums such as painting, printmaking, sculpture, and installation are rarely mixed since each material is treated as an avenue to illustrate a specific style that might match the narrative.
Each of these works is intentionally designed to “peculiarize” the familiar whether it stems from pop culture references to iconic figures or political trends in order to draw attention to undercurrents of hidden meaning. Sometimes her work can be seen as humorous to display a satirical approach to explaining scenarios that support the message. Other works are meant to drive the implications of human relationships, our world that includes animals and plants, and larger problems that introduce topics of environmental issues caused by humans.