Award Winners / Artist Profile

About the Artist

MalPina Chan was born in California and received her BFA from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. At multiple levels her work is a continuing investigation of the transitory nature of the human condition, our connection to each other, to circumstances around us, and to the natural world.

Through her work, she tells the story of her family’s immigrant experience. The voyage to America required courage, strength, and conviction. The imagery in her work is drawn from a rich resource of old family photos, immigration documents, letters, and cultural icons. In another series she focuses on the impact of external circumstances on our bodies, investigating the known and unknown in a framework that ignites dialogue.

Working mainly as a printmaker and mixed-media artist, her portfolio includes works on paper, artist books, and kiln-formed glass propelling her art making practice into 3 dimensions and sculptural forms. The multiple and sequential picture plane of artist books lends itself to the narrative stories in her work.  

She is a graduate of the Artist Trust EDGE Professional Development program and a recipient of an Artist Trust GAP (Grants for Artist Projects) in 2012. In the fall of 2014, MalPina was awarded an Artist-in-Residence at the James & Janie Washington Foundation.

MalPina’s work can be found in collections at the UW Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, King County Courthouse, 4Culture King County Portable Works, City of Tacoma, Portland Regional Arts & Culture Council, University of Puget Sound Collins Memorial Library, University of Washington Special Collections Library, and the Evergreen State College Library. Her work is also included in Women Beyond Borders: Art Expressing Life, an international community building project. 

Her work has been featured in exhibitions at the Tacoma Art Museum, Wing Luke Asian Museum, Bullseye Gallery, Portland, OR, Seattle City Hall, Patricia Cameron Gallery, Artxchange Gallery, Rosetta Hunter Gallery, Columbia City Gallery, San Francisco Center for the Book, 23 Sandy Gallery, Portland, OR, Bellevue College, Kirkland Art Center, Atelier 6000, Bend, OR and Woman Made Gallery in Chicago.

MalPina’s upcoming exhibitions include: “JUST ONE LOOK” Special Collections Library-University of Washington, March 28-July 29, 2016; “The Story Depends on the Teller: Book Arts in the Pacific NW” at Pacific Lutheran University March 9-April 6, 2016; “In Pursuit of Happiness” University House Wallingford-Seattle, Feb. 25-June 12, 2016; and the 6th Annual Puget Sound Book Artists Members’ Exhibition, June 2015.

MalPina’s projects also include independent curatorial work, teaching workshops and lecturing. She is a founding member and currently serves on the board of Puget Sound Book Artists. Her work is included in: 500 Handmade Books Vol.2 and 1000 Artist Books: Exploring the Book as Art.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.
From the Artist

Participation in the EDGE Program was one of the most informative and rewarding experiences I have had as an artist. It gave me the skills, insight and confidence to represent myself and my work more professionally. As a mid-career artist, developing a strong portfolio through EDGE has been a tremendous help in moving me forward toward new goals. Learning to be more articulate about my art and getting feedback from art professionals and my peers have been an opportunity that continues to inform my work. Possibly the best part of my EDGE experience was the meaningful connections made with the other artists in the program.

As a printmaker and mix-media artist, I layer images and text with varying degrees of opacity, exploring perceptions of life and the transitory nature of the human condition. My family’s emigration experience from China to the United States at the turn of the century inspires much of my work as I explore the human journey by careful juxtaposition of metaphor-laden images and materials. 

Knowledge and skills learned at EDGE will be of great assistance to me next semester as I will be teaching the Visual Arts Portfolio class at the Evergreen State College. My EDGE experience can be best described as skill- and confidence-building, obtaining a better understanding of the business of art, establishing a high level of professionalism, maintaining a peer support network, setting goals, making commitments and working hard. Many thanks to Artist Trust for establishing such a comprehensive professional development program for visual artists. I encourage artists to take advantage of this great resource.

MalPina Chan