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About Me

I help weary idealists to keep striving for a better world through art & design that uplifts, informs, and empowers.

I'M Kristen

(Ma Kalulu)

Kalulu is the Chichewa word for rabbit where I live in Malawi. Rabbits symbolize abundance, creativity, rebirth, and luck in many cultures.

I draw the world not as it is but how I wish it could be. I use symbols, icons, and patterns with cross-cultural significance combined with color psychology to help soothe, heal, and reinvigorate weary idealists. Inspired by the lofty mission statements used by the world’s top organizations, my images are a call to action to visualize better outcomes for our lives, communities, and the planet.  

As an American/Portuguese digital artist and animator living in developing countries over the past seven years, my creative process has been shaped by a lack of reliable internet connectivity and frequent power outages. Since 2021, I’ve reconnected with my fine art roots and now delight in making “slow art” off the grid that requires no electricity. Each mark in a drawing mimics the stitches that lovingly make up an elaborate quilt or the frames that add up to a few seconds of animation.  

The drawing process is a form of meditation that enables me to tap into a higher level of consciousness and rich artistic traditions that are thousands of years old.

A Little Background:

I've created multimedia content for clients including for UN agencies, a multi-platinum American rock band, non-profit organizations, universities, businesses, and everything in between. I've held senior leadership positions as a tenured Associate Professor of Digital Media and Program Director at The American University of Rome and have taught at universities in North America, Europe, Asia, & Africa. My animated films have screened in over 75 international film festivals earning numerous “Best Animated Short Film” awards including at the Cannes Short Film Festival, Italy International Film Festival, and the Sunscreen Film Festival.

In addition to fine art prints and original works, I also offer custom, commissioned artwork. You can learn more about that process on this page.

A portion of proceeds from my site go to support worthy charitable projects in Malawi (my current home) and Myanmar (my recent home). Learn more.

My art business has been designated as a "Trusted Art Seller" with The Art Storefronts Organization, which means you can shop with confidence, and know that I stand behind the quality and value of my products.


Having lived in Asia and Africa since 2016, I’m drawn to the patterns and colors found in traditional clothing, baskets, ceramics, and local handicrafts made from raw and natural materials. Western influences include stained-glass windows as well as the bold dark outlines found in cartoons and graphic novels. 


My paintings are made with acrylic and watercolor pens on canvas or canvas board. Drawings are done on archival vellum with ink and watercolor pens. My digital art is created on my Mac using a Wacom tablet and Photoshop with my four favorite digital brushes.

career highlights

  • Since 2002, I've taught art as a full-time university professor on four continents. I also teach 100K online students globally.
  • My animations have screened internationally and have won numerous awards.
  • Design clients include UNICEF, WHO, WFP, the B-52's, UNFPA, UNDP, GIZ, and more.
    View Illustration, Design & Animation Portfolio
           My Story & Career Details

For DESIGN INQUIRIES or EDUCATION SERVICES - Workshops, masterclasses, and more - please check out kpalana.com

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Trusted Art Seller

The presence of this badge signifies that this business has officially registered with the Art Storefronts Organization and has an established track record of selling art.

It also means that buyers can trust that they are buying from a legitimate business. Art sellers that conduct fraudulent activity or that receive numerous complaints from buyers will have this badge revoked. If you would like to file a complaint about this seller, please do so here.

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Verified Returns & Exchanges

The Art Storefronts Organization has verified that this business has provided a returns & exchanges policy for all art purchases.

Description of Policy from Merchant:

See my full returns and exchange policy on my FAQ page at: https://www.makalulustudio.com/faq-bay-photo

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Verified Secure Website with Safe Checkout

This website provides a secure checkout with SSL encryption.

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Verified Archival Materials Used

The Art Storefronts Organization has verified that this Art Seller has published information about the archival materials used to create their products in an effort to provide transparency to buyers.

Description from Merchant:

All drawings are created on acid-free archival heavyweight paper. I use Tombow dual tip watercolor pens which are set in place with fixative. Paintings are made on triple primed canvas panels and the acrylic paints are then fixed with varnish. For best possible protection against fading over time, original artwork should be kept out of direct light. Drawings should be protected by a sheet of UV filtered glass.


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This Website Supports Augmented Reality to Live Preview Art

This means you can use the camera on your phone or tablet and superimpose any piece of art onto a wall inside of your home or business.

To use this feature, Just look for the "Live Preview AR" button when viewing any piece of art on this website!

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