Melissa Chimera studied Natural Resources Management and painting at the University of Hawai`i, a world epicenter of plant and animal extinction. She is inspired by rare species of the remote wilderness. Chimera's years as a field conservationist confirm the relative obscurity in which these life forms live, subjects she continually catalogs as a painter. Chimera keeps a studio in Maui. Her work is in national and international exhibitions, collections and publications.

Chimera is the recipient of local honors and awards as well as international grants and commissions. In 2009, Chimera was commissioned with her mother Adele Ne Jame to create Inheritance: Reclaiming Land and Spirit, a joint poetry-painting project featuring rare Hawaiian species for the Sharjah Biennial 9, United Arab Emirates. In the annual Malama Wao Akua exhibit featuring native species of Maui Nui she has been awarded juror's choice twice (2008, 2015) and recently served as a co-juror. In 2016, Chimera was selected to appear in two nationwide juried shows celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service: Flora of the National Parks, Art of the Capitol, Washington D.C and Hawai`i's National Parks, Maui Arts and Cultural Center .