Chiu was born in 1949 in Yi-lan on the east coast of Taiwan. A loner and an underachiever in school, he began his mandatory military service and at the same time began to read. Beginning with Chinese history and progressing to the classics of Western literature in translation for example the masterpieces of Shakespeare and Dostevsky, he was inspired by tales of heroes and began to write and paint. Chiu's portraits of Taiwan's modern-day literati are greatly influenced by the figure painting of the Tang dynasty (618-906 AD) seen in the hooked noses and almond-shaped eyes. Elegant androgynous-looking men and women with elongated, oval faces are shown seated or standing in partial profile. The subjects appear to be lonely, even melancholic, but controlled and self-possessed. In the 1980s, Chiu persevered with his literary and artistic works in a well-known cultural salon "Wisteria" in Taipei. His paintings have been widely exhibited in Spring Gallery (Taipei), the National Museum of History and the Taiwan Museum of Art.