Show Info

400 s. peoria street - suite 4116
chicago, il 60607

About

Chris “Kaia” Olsen is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist, with a background in dance, sculpture and moving image. His work, which manifests as large scale and kinetic sculptures designed for audience engagement, experimental performances pieces, and high-profile film, television, and theatrical productions, has shown across the country at the Artemisia Gallery, ArtSquad Contemporary Gallery, Auditorium Theatre, Clinton Presidential Library, Gallery 400, Miami Short Film Fest, Music Box Theatre, Rhode Island International Film Fest, and many others. Kaia’s film and media work has received numerous accolades (including four Emmy nominations), and includes the VEGGIETALES® animated series, numerous PBS television programs (including THE ARTSIDERS®, and BENEATH THE WHITE CITY LIGHTS), and a monthly podcast called SHOUTBOX. In addition to his art practice, Kaia frequently speaks to numerous educational institutions, co-developed the original computer animation program at Columbia College (Chicago), and presently teaches film, animation, and vfx at both DePaul University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. In his spare time, he enjoys long walks down dark alleys, and will always make time for a well made masala-style chai. Learn more here: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1008759/

CV

SELECT EXHIBITIONS/SCREENINGS/PERFORMANCES

2022      

FADE INTO ME: IDENTITY & ABSTRACTION

Group Show at Gallery 400 – Chicago) March 2022

 

COPULUM (Performance/Sculpture) – Sculptor/Choreographer

Featuring Eric Palovick, Chicago, IL March 2022

 

2021       

INTWEEN (Performance Film) – Director/Choreographer/Camera

Featuring Kristen Vasilakos, Chicago, IL February 2021

 

2020       

ELLE (Performance Film) – Director/Choreographer/Camera

Featuring Rachel Spies & Kristen Vasilakos, Chicago, IL August 2020

 

BUG (Performance Film) – Director/Choreographer/Camera

Performed by Kristen Vasilakos, Chicago, IL February 2020

 

2019

MATHS (FIGURE 1) – Director/Choreographer/Camera

Developed/performed in residence with Inaside Chicago Dance, Chicago, IL October 2019

 

KILL YOUR DARLINGS – Writer/Director/Choreographer

Developed/performed in residence with Big Muddy Dance Company, St. Louis MO October 2019

 

EVERYTHING’S GOING TO BE JUST FINE – Writer/Director/Choreographer

Developed/performed in residence with Big Muddy Dance Company, St. Louis MO October 2019

 

FOOTSTEPS THROUGH THE CHARNEL HOUSE – Director/Choreographer

Developed/performed in residence with Big Muddy Dance Company, St. Louis MO October 2019

 

MERDER/CIRCADIA – Director/Choreographer

Developed/performed in residence with Big Muddy Dance Company, St. Louis MO October 2019

 

ANTUMBRA (Performance Film) – Writer/Director/Choreographer/Camera

Featuring Fernando Rodriguez & Rachel Spies, Chicago, IL November 2018-Feb 2019

 

2015

RABBIT – Choreographer/Camera (2015)

 

2013

DAYLIGHT (Performance Film) – Director/Choreographer/Camera (2013)

 

2012

BOY.GIRL.DRUM (Performance Film) – Writer/Director/Composer/Choreographer

SELECT SCREENINGS: Little Rock Film Festival (May 2013)

 

2010

FANCY (Performance Film) – Writer/Director/Choreographer/Camera

SELECT SCREENINGS: Cinema Speakeasy – ‘Relationship Therapy for the Modern Human’, Los Angeles, CA (2011); Miami Short Film Fest (2010); Fort Lauderdale International Film Fest, FL (2010); Moondance Film Fest, Boulder CO (2010); Rhode Island International Film Fest (2010); Foursite Film Fest, Ogden UT (2010); Little Rock Film Fest, AR (2010)

 

2008

BUTTERFLY (Performance Film) – Writer/Director/Choreographer

SELECT SCREENINGS: Little Rock International Film Fest (2009); Bare Bones Film Fest, Muskogee, OK (2009); Lake Arrowhead Film Fest, CA (2009); Miami Short Film Fest (2008); Chicago International Film Fest (2008)

1996

PHOTOGRAPHS, DREAMS & OTHER STRANGE THINGS

Solo Show at Artemisia Gallery (Chicago)

 

1995

POLAROID CORPORATION (Cambridge, MA) – Collection

 

1994

CHICAGO FINE ARTS – GRAND OPENING

Group Show at Chicago Fine Arts Exchange

 

1993

KRANNERT ART MUSEUM (Urbana, IL) – Collection

 

1992

CONTEMPORARY TRENDS ’92/THE CURRENT AVANT-GARDE

Group Show at Artsquad Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

 

DREAMAGICIMAGEDREAM

Solo Show at McKinley Foundation Arts Gallery (Champaign, IL)

SELECT RESIDENCIES & COLLABORATIVE WORKS

INASIDE DANCE COMPANY (Chicago) – Artist in Residence (October 2019)

BIG MUDDY DANCE COMPANY (ST. Louis, MO) – Artist in Residence (October 2019)

GINGARTE CAPOEIRA – Artist in Residence (2015-2020)

DEEPLY ROOTED DANCE THEATRE – Guest Filmmaker (September 2017)

THODOS DANCE CHICAGO – Artist in Residence (2009-2019)

SELECT AWARDS & RECOGNITION

2014       

NOMINATION – MIDWEST EMMY® – Outstanding Arts Special (A Light in the Dark)

2012 

NOMINATION – MIDWEST EMMY® – Outstanding Cultural Documentary (Beneath the White City Lights)

2008     

NOMINATION – CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FEST GOLD HUGO – Best Short Film (Butterfly)

NOMINATION – MIDWEST EMMY® – Outstanding Contemporary Documentary (The Artsiders®)

AWARD – MIDWEST EMMY® – Outstanding Informational Program/Segment (Walkaround)

1998       

AWARD – GMA DOVE (GOSPEL MUSIC ASSOCIATION) – Best Long Form Music Video

SELECT TEACHING ENGAGEMENTS

2021-       University of Illinois – Chicago (School of Art & Art History) – Instructor (Film & Animation)

2019-       Depaul University (School of Cinematic Arts) – Adjunct Faculty (Film, Animation and Visual Effects)

1998        Columbia College of Chicago – CGI Animation Program – Co-Founder/Curriculum Developer

1995-98  Columbia College of Chicago (Animation) – Educational Consultant/Part-Time Faculty (CGI Animation)

1993        University of Illinois (College of Fine and Applied Arts) – Teaching Assistant (CGI Animation)

1993        University of Illinois (College of Fine and Applied Arts) – Teaching Assistant (Time Arts)

1992        University of Illinois (College of Fine and Applied Arts) – Teaching Assistant (Intro to Photography)

SELECT SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

2016-17

HINSDALE CENTRAL HS

Guest Artist/Featured Speaker- “Experiential Thinking”

 

2012

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS (UIUC SCHOOL OF FAA)

Keynote Speaker “A Cross Disciplinary Life”

 

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS (UIUC LEADERSHIP SERIES)

Keynote Speaker – “Through the Looking Glass”

 

2011

WILLIAM CLINTON CENTER

Presenter – “Karl Dahl Film Premiere – Audience Talk”

 

LITTLE ROCK FILM FEST

Festival Presenter/Panelist – “Art of the Short Film”

 

2010

LITTLE ROCK FILM FEST

Festival Presenter/Panelist – “Digital Filmmaking Techniques”

 

MIAMI SHORT FILM FEST

Festival Presenter/Panelist – “Art of the Short Film”

 

BORDERS BOOKS/RHODE ISLAND INT’L FILM FEST

Guest Speaker “Attack of the 50’ Green Screen”

 

2003

ITT TECHNICAL INSTITUTE

Guest Speaker “Preparing for a Career in Digital Effects”

 

VICON (SIGGRAPH CONVENTION)

Host “Virtual Camera Techniques – Red Truck Rally”

 

2002-03

ARTIMATION FILM FESTIVAL

Festival Panelist “Animation Production Roundtable”

 

2002

ILLINOIS INSTITUTES OF ART (Schaumburg)

Presenter/Host – “Virtual Cinematography Bootcamp”

 

2001

NORTHERN ILLINOIS MACROMEDIA FLASH USERS GROUP

Presenter/Host – “The Art of Cartoonium™”

 

ILLINOIS INSTITUTES OF ART

Keynote Speaker – “Graduation Commencement Keynote Speech”

 

ILLINOIS INSTITUTES OF ART (Schaumburg)

Presenter/Host – “The Art of Threads”

 

1999

COLUMBIA COLLEGE

Guest Artist/Featured Speaker – “Creative Animation Production Techniques”

 

CHICAGO SCREENWRITERS GUILD

Guest Speaker – “Writing for Animation and Live Action”

 

1998

TRITON COLLEGE

Guest Artist/Featured Speaker – “Preparing for a Career in Animation”

 

1997

CHICAGO WOMEN IN FILM

Panelist – “Chicago Animation and Production Round Table”

SELECT ADDITIONAL SCREENINGS

2016

Marquis Theatre, NYC (Sono’s Journey Film Teaser @ Career Transitions for Dancers Jubilee)

Harris Theatre for Music and dance, Chicago (Chicago Revealed)

2015

PBS Broadcast Television Premiere (A Light in the Dark)

North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (Salute to Sybil Shearer & Chicago Inspired)

Fergus Falls School of Dance, Fergus Falls, MN (Shine)

Dixie Carter Center for the Arts, Huntingdon, TN (Shine)

2014

Auditorium Theater, Chicago (The White City & Salute to Sybil Shearer)

Music Box Theatre, Chicago (Madzilla – Beneath the Scales)

Doudna Auditorium (The White City), Eastern Illinois University

Hettenhausen Theater, McKendree State University, Lebanon, IL (The White City)

Hammons Auditorium, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO (The White City)

Leach Theater, Missouri Science and Technical College, Rolla, MO (The White City)

2013

Menker Theater, Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills, IL (The White City)

2012

Emens Auditorium, Ball State University, Muncie IN (The White City)

Gerald E Wilson Auditorium, Kodiak AK (Fosse Prelude)

Anchorage Performing Arts Center, Anchorage AK (Fosse Prelude)

Sitka Performing Arts Center, Anchorage, AK (Fosse Prelude)

Kayhi Auditorium, Ketchikan, AK (Fosse Prelude)

Juneau Douglas High School, Juneau, AK (Fosse Prelude)

Chilkat Center for the Arts, Haines, AK (Fosse Prelude)

Skagway City School, Skagway, AK (Fosse Prelude)

Harris Theatre for Music and dance, Chicago (The White City)

John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI (The White City)

Schein Performance Hall, Sanibel, FL (Fosse Prelude)

2011

Young Auditorium, UW, Whitewater, WI (Fosse Prelude)

McAnich Arts Center, College of DuPage (The White City)

Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Chicago (The White City)

2010

Big Bear Lake Film Fest – Big Bear Lake, CA (Fosse Prelude)

Reno Film Festival, NV (Ursula the Ubergirl)

Duke Performance Hall – Davidson, NC (Fosse Prelude)

Kuss Auditorium, Clark State University – Springfield, OH (Fosse Prelude)

Allaert Auditorium, St. Ambrose University – Davenport, IA (Fosse Prelude)
2009

Harris Theatre for Music and dance – Chicago, IL (Fosse Prelude)

North Shore Center for the Performing Arts – Skokie, IL (Fosse Prelude)