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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.

Artist Statement

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 and development goals 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 gradually 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 or glowing screens. Each mark placed in a drawing mimics the stitches that lovingly make up an elaborate quilt or the single frames that slowly add up to a few minutes of animation. In my mixed media work, I layer colors, lines, and dots using fine-tipped ink and watercolor brush pens with dabs of acrylic and metallic paint on vellum or canvas. 

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. I’m especially drawn to the intricate patterns and vibrant colors found in Asian and African 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 and visual framing structures found in cartoons and graphic novels.

A Little Background:

My earlier animations have screened in over 75 international film festivals earning numerous “Best Animated Short Film” awards including at Cannes Short Film Festival, Italy International Film Festival, and Sunscreen Film Festival

As an educator, I’ve taught at universities on four continents, including at The American University of Rome, where I co-founded the Film and Digital Media BFA. From 2016–2019, I taught for universities and NGOs in Myanmar. When not making fine art, I work as a designer and educator for the United Nations and international organizations including WHO, UNICEF, WFP, GIZ, UNDP, UNFPA and create multimedia programs for students from all walks of life. Former and current students include refugees, diplomats, undergraduate and graduate students, and those with no formal education living on under $2 USD a day.

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 and Myanmar. Learn more

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

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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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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

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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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