George Chann spent his early years living in a missionary orphanage in the Stockton area of Northern California. As a teenager, he began to have a calling in ministry work and taught at the missionary. At a turning point in his life, he was faced with the choice of becoming a minister or becoming an artist. This is not a common set of career choices, but certainly demonstrates his depth and devotion both to the manifest artistic world and the inner religious world.
His talent in the art field and his need for expression of his inner longing, decided his career path. He entered the prestigious Otis Art Institute of Los Angeles (now known as the L.A. Art Institute) and received a scholarship for the years between 1934-36. Under the tutelage of fine art instructors Edouard Vysekal and Alexander Brook, his own haunting landscape art form emerged, in addition to deeply penetrating portrait character studies of ethnic peoples. After graduation, he joined the faculty at Otis Art Institute.
George Chann Biography
Rollin McKinney, Art Director of the LA County Museum,
took a strong interest in Chann’s work. He became instrumental
in procuring major museum exhibitions for Chann all in 1942:
     Palace of Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
     San Diego Fine Arts Gallery, San Diego, CA
     M.H. deYoung Museum, San Francisco, CA
     Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, CA
During Chann’s Career, many established art critics recognized his work. Alfred Frankenstein of the S. F. Chronicle and Alexander Fried of the S.F. Examiner appreciated his work in their views of his first show at the Palace of Legion of Honor and subsequent shows in the San Francisco area.
Alma May Cook of the LA Herald Express followed his career and wrote several reviews about him. Kay English, Art Director of the S.F. Examiner, Arthur Miller of the L.A. Times, and Howard Devere of the New York Times, all wrote one or more articles documenting his outstanding achievements. He also appeared in national publications including Art Digest Magazine, Art News, and Life Magazine.
In 1947, he returned to his motherland, China, and spent the next few years embracing his culture and establishing his family life. He met his future bride, Yvonne Chun, in Shanghai. The perils of the Communist takeover split many families, as was the case with the Chun family. George and Yvonne were married in Hong Kong in April 1949. Upon returning to the states, leaving behind the political turmoil embroiling China, their daughter, Janet, was born in San Francisco, CA in 1950.
Back in the States, the art scene had changed radically, and Chann set to re-establish himself with the galleries of Los Angeles.
He exhibited at the James Vigeveno Gallery. This gallery exhibited American artists, as well as artists from Europe. Chann was shown alongside European artists including Van Gough, Renoir, Chagall, and Rouault, as well as American artists Grandma Moses and Clemens. His works were purchased by prominent collectors including Edward G. Robinson.
Wishing to integrate his heritage of Chinese culture with Abstract Expressionism, he began working in a new style. Previously known for his cultural paintings of waifs, indigent people, and local landscapes, his work now turned to self expression, using calligraphic and individual stroke art. He painted an extensive collection of Abstract Expressionistic oils on canvas, as well as watercolor landscapes on rice paper. The landscapes, seemingly based on Asian art, upon closer examination, demonstrate an individualistic approach to traditional Chinese landscape paintings.
During the 1950’s and early 1960’s, Chann painted a series based on the Bible, made-up of powerful imagery in impressionistic style.
This was an extremely powerful time of inner study of the Bible and a turning to express his deep connection to God through his paintings. He presented a slide show of this series to numerous organizations. Since it was important for him to keep this collection together (he never sold parts of it during his lifetime) near the end of his life he donated the entire Bible Series to the Crystal Cathedral. There is now a permanent exhibition of his Bible Series work on the Crystal Cathedral campus, Garden Grove, CA.
In January 2000, the Lin & Keng Gallery in Taipei,  Taiwan, organized a major retrospective of his abstract work. Along with the exhibition, there was an extensive catalog documenting the show. The Gallery maintains a large collection of Chann’s work. In 2005, Lin & Keng mounted another  show  in Shanghai, exhibiting major Abstract Expressionistic works in a retrospective format. The show depicted the culmination of a life-long labor of an artist who painted diligently and methodically every day, mastering his craft and tapping into the unknown.