Tai Taeoalii: Intrinsic

Opening: Friday, Apr 12, 2024 6 – 9 pm
Friday, Apr 12 – May 19, 2024

1389 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

For their second solo exhibition of the year, Jackson Junge Gallery is excited to announce INTRINSIC, an installation featuring the work of in-house artist, Tai Taeoalii. The exhibition opens the week of EXPO Chicago with an exclusive preview, Friday, April 12th from 6-9pm. Viewers have connected with Taeoalii’s artwork because of his authenticity, but this is his most vulnerable venture yet. INTRINSIC features a symbolic central painting that connects 25 ballpoint pen drawings of "ordinary, but nuanced objects, intrinsic to the growth of his soul and with a literal twist".

Music has always been the conduit for Taeoalii’s artwork and is constantly playing in the background whenever he creates. Tai wanted to celebrate INTRINSIC with a series of immersive performances which will take place on Saturday, April 20th. Throughout the afternoon, Taeoalii will be live recording two episodes of his renown podcast, The DOD45 Show. The evening will feature DJ special guest Mr. Dibbs, an artist Taeoalii has admired since he was young. There will also be performances by The Chicago Poetry Ensemble and legendary Slam Papi, Marc Smith. Taeoalii’s Aunt Jeanne Howard, one of the founders of Chicago Slam Poetry, first exposed Tai to the Chicago art scene. April 20th will culminate in many full circle experiences for Taeoalii that he hopes to share.

INTRISIC is the result of years of introspection. While Taeoalii’s artwork usually feels chaotic, the uncertainty of the past four years led Taeoalii to search for comfort through drawing nostalgic, personal items. He found comfort in the simplification of his style as well, turning the conceptual twist that normally appears in his artwork into a literal twist. Symbolic everyday objects bend and swirl into distorted yet elegant representations of influence and values, inviting attendees to become immersed in Taeoalii’s life-influencing paths and passions. 

This seemingly subconscious outpouring of his bi-racial Samoan/Dutch heritage reveals how growing up in a conservative white Salt Lake City neighborhood can lead to a destructive lifestyle. However, Taeoalii was luckily detoured by his discovery of creative arts. With SK8BOARD, Taeoalii illustrates an object which he credits to setting him in motion. Skateboarding was the first time he connected with people outside his neighborhood and finally found community. The artwork by Mike McGill on his first board inspired Taeoalii as he was beginning to develop his own art style.

 The POWER DRILL, particularly poignant, not only speaks of his Samoan father, a skilled craftsman who died of Leukemia mid-construction of a family home on the island but speaks to Taeoalii’s dedication to build on his father’s legacy of painstaking work and attention to detail. 

Auxiliary cords will run between the drawings in the installation and will plug into the centerpiece, aptly titled INTRINSIC, which is an amalgamation of the brain and heart. There is a symbiotic relationship between the two for Taeoalii; he personally cannot tell which leads him more. The connecting cords emphasize the relationship between all the distinct parts of the artist but will literally be cut when a work is collected as a symbol of Taeoalii giving a piece of himself.

INTRINSIC is a retrospective of Tai Taeoalii’s journey. Being on the road for 18 years, participating in 400+ Art Fairs, and meeting thousands of people, has shown Tai how connected we all are. He believes it is important to your mental health to check in with yourself often and look back on the things you’ve experienced. Taeoalii hopes INTRINSIC will encourage others to experience their own introspection. Jackson Junge Gallery and Tai Taeoalii invite viewers to engage with the installation during an immersive experience the afternoon and evening of Saturday, April 20th, which is free and open to the public.


INTRINSIC is an installation created by Tai Taeoalii – 26 pieces connected by auxiliary cords through which Taeoalii profoundly and honestly shares his experiences. The exhibition runs April 8th, 2024 – May 19th, 2024, and is curated by Chris Jackson, Kaitlyn Miller and Kristen Arcus.