Self portrait, photo by Amy Malanga.

For Amy Malanga, it took the 28-year-old Michigander less than 24 hours to fall in love with Denver and realize she wanted to start a life here.  For me it took a two-week-long focus on local, untapped artistic talents to find her.  From the fate that awaited Malanga here to the magic ingredient that I was searching for in my quest for genuine, talented, nonmainstream artistry in Denver’s nooks and crannies, timing was everything.

For an art addict like myself, constantly browsing or even is just a part of my day in terms of looking for my next creative fix. Malanga’s photography and Etsy shop, Studio M Photography & Design, is what caught my eye after searching through page after page of local artists.  Her dreamy, scenic landscape work and up-close abstract nature shots are intensely vivid and breathtaking.

What is this talent?  For artists like Malanga, this passion means working nine to five jobs and pursuing these creative talents in whatever time and energy is left over.  Malanga hasn’t yet reaped the benefits of landing a major exhibition or dream job yet. Places like offer a storefront and place to share her art on her terms with the world, without all the heavy overhead costs.  I can only guess that it also allows her humble personality to avoid the embarrassment that she isn’t able to hide when given a compliment on her work.

Blue Winter, photo by Amy Malanga.

When I first chatted with her, I discovered a sweet, soulful, gentle, girl-next-door.  It is hardly believable that the youthful and gracious Malanga did something as spontaneous as move to Denver after falling in love with the city within 24 hours of a trip to visit her best friend.  After a run-in with a mutual old friend and long-time crush during her visit in November 2006, sparks ignited and fate seemed to be steering Malanga to make the leap and move to Denver.

Prior to her trip to Denver, Malanga had lost her zest for photography after taking a job for an architectural firm doing photographic work. Malanga quit and then put her camera down for two years.  However it was Colorado’s majestic and diverse scenery that reignited that passion for photography. Once she was settled in Denver, the beast of talent awoke inside of her again.

Dreamy Landscape, photo by Amy Malanga.

Whether it was the mountains or the love (and future-husband) she had immediately found, there was no turning back for Malanga.  Once here and already equipped with an Associates degree in photography, she enrolled at Denver Metro where she completed her BFA in communication design/graphic design.  To her surprise, this led to an appreciation for detail and design that has reawakened her love and talents for photography.  A whole new genre emerged in her style, focused on the sharper details behind everything she was seeing through her camera lens.

“Design is a whole different ballgame, and you have to be so acutely aware of all the smallest details that you can’t help but take into the rest of your life. Subsequently I have found that I love shooting with my macro lens to capture all the small details, textures, patterns, and colors in my photography.”

So full of excitement and yet calm she sounds like an old soul adding:

“…It is just my passion. It’s a bonus if I sell a piece of work, but that is not why I create the images that I do. I do all my work for myself, with my own thoughts and feelings in mind. It helps to bring life to the image and really show how I see that object, landscape, person, etc., right at that moment…I have found that once I let go of worrying if other people will like my work I am able to relax and really just create, which is where I find my voice, and my work becomes uniquely and solely my own.”

A River Runs Through It, photo by Amy Malanga.

Malanga’s talents are profound and no less artistic or evocative simply because she has not had her talents extensively tapped into, capitally speaking.  Malanga’s work can be viewed and purchased through her Etsy shop at

For now, this artist is content with the security of her day job and enjoying a hobby that sometimes means she only shoots photographs once a month.

Malanga prefers her life laid back, exploring the town and state that she fell in love with six years ago and that continues to charm her.

“…I still feel like this town is the most amazing place on Earth. I have traveled to many places and none are quite like Denver,” Malanga happily adds.