ChiChai Mateo


As a born and raised Bay Area local and frequent traveller, ChiChai Mateo interprets the world around her with visual art and streetwear fashion as the founder of clothing brand Empire in the Air. Her artwork and designs has been featured throughout the Bay Area, cross-country and in the Philippines and Korea. She also serves the Bay Area community as a teaching artist for youth organizations in San Francisco and Oakland. ChiChai earned her MA in International Studies at the University of San Francisco and BA in Global Studies and Journalism at San Jose State University.

Artist Statement

I free my Pinay roots from its history of colonial oppressions through my artwork. Being raised by nourishing yet firm and powerful women, my illustrations depict elements of nature as womxn spirits. Through fashion design, painting and illustration, I aim to honor indigenous craftsmanship, the matriarch that has raised me, and nature.

Selected Work

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