Award Winners / Artist Profile

About the Artist

May Kytonen (Spokane) is a visual artist. Growing up in a bi-cultural home, her family life included a blend of Taiwanese and European American cultural traditions and values. She first became intrigued by the fine art world while exploring fibers at the University of Washington in Seattle, subsequently earning a degree in interdisciplinary visual arts in 2012. Since then, she has exhibited regionally including Washington and Idaho, displaying in venues such as the Chase Gallery in City Hall and the International Airport in Spokane. Her most recent two-person show, "Convergence," showcased her paper sculptures crafted and sourced from her life and heritage. May's current body of work is an exploration of multi-ethnic identity, strength within fragility, and connection.

May received 2017 GAP Award funding for Close Divide, an art installation at Spokane's Saranac Art Projects. For Close Divide, May will meet with Asian/Asian-American friends to spin newspaper yarn into a series of panels for exhibition. This work will include five 1.5 x 7’ hanging panels, knit using handspun newspaper yarn, highlighted with gold leaf, arranged side by side, and connected with strands of red rice paper signed by each person who helped spin yarn. The color red, auspicious in Chinese tradition, serves to celebrate cultural heritage in the midst of adversity. Each panel will be highlighted with gold leaf, May's interpretation of Kintsugi and a metaphor of the strengthening that comes in tension and challenge. GAP funding will cover the cost of supplies and honorariums for volunteers helping to spin yarn.

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

The last three years I have lived in Spokane have been filled with an internal wrestling, wondering what it would mean to make it, both as an artist and an Asian American living in the Inland Northwest. I am stunned and honored to receive this award, and feel like my questions about whether I can survive have been answered with a resounding "Yes!"

May Kytonen