Bio and Statement


Gardiner C. Funo O'Kain is a sansei Japanese American artist and the descendant of survivors of Minidoka, Crystal City, Camp Lordsburg and Santa Fe. She spent many years living in Toronto, the Bay Area, and Austin. She was born in Chicago and lives there today.

In 2004, Gardiner left a career in feature film making and television production to pursue an art education at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago (BFA, Emphasis in Interdisciplinary Studio and Art Education 2007). In 2013, she completed a Masters of Fine Arts in Studio Art and Media Arts at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish Territories. It is important to acknowledge that Gardiner is also a proud product of the city college system: City College of San Francisco and Austin Community College.

Gardiner has taught in The Art Institute of Chicago's Student and Family Programs; in the Film and Video Department at Columbia College Chicago; and at New Trier Township High School.

Artist Statement

My work is informed by themes of absence, distance, melancholia, and time travel. I investigate the ability of objects, rituals, and images to make non-rational phenomena legible.