About Jonah

From Accountant to Artist to Academic. Why?

Hello there! My name is Jonah Calinawan (JO-nah ca-lee-NA-wan), and I’m a cyanotype artist and writer based in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Through my cyanotype photographs and writing, I hope to inspire you to follow your bliss. Whatever your soul longs to do, you can do it! I’m proof of that.

asian man with platinum blonde hair


From Accountant

I trained as an accountant. I bought my first camera in 2002 on a whim and started to learn photography on my own and through workshops.

Photography became such an obsession that in 2010, I enrolled in an online MFA program at the Academy of Art University while working full time.

To Artist

Completing my MFA four years later in 2014, I’m amazed at the unintended path I embarked on.

I specialize in a hand-applied 19th-century printing process called cyanotypegiving my prints their deep blue color. My cyanotypes have been exhibited locally and internationally—from China, the US, and the UK.

man talking about his cyanotype prints on display in exhibition
Jonah Calinawan Artist Talk. Photo Courtesy of Art Intersection Gallery


In 2017, I discovered FIRE, the “Financial Independence Retire Early” movement. After many what-if financial modeling and an extra push at work, I quit my full-time accounting job in 2019.

Much like the man in my ongoing photographic series A Million Suns, I search for the future by connecting the dots of my former life as an accountant to the new one as an artist. I’m following my bliss to see where it leads.

To Academic

On August 6, 2020, I had a dream that inspired me to pursue a Ph.D. in Mythology with an emphasis on Depth Psychology. I thought quitting my job to be a full-time artist was the goal! Life had other ideas. I don’t know how this degree connects to my art and writing, but I’m curious to find out. Join me in this quest, and I hope that my art and writing help in your quest.

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Education

Master of Fine Arts in Photography
CPA Certified Public Accountant (Illinois, USA)
Chartered Professional Accountant (Canada)
Bachelor of Mathematics

A Subset of Art Exhibitions

2021 Primary Colors, GRAND PRIZE, New York Center for Photographic Art
2018 Overlea ArtsFest, 1st PRIZE, Baltimore, MD.
2017 National Arts Program Exhibition, Johns Hopkins Hospital, 1st PRIZE, Baltimore, MD
In Transit, VETS Gallery, Rhode Island, USA.
2016
A Cartography of Dreams, Dimbola Museum, Isle of Wight, UK.
Lemniscate of Diffusion, A Smith Gallery, Texas.
Art of Science, Maryland Science Center.
2015
(re)View: Explorations in Human Nature, Art Intersection Gallery, Arizona.
Photowork 2015, 3rd PRIZE, Barrett Art Gallery, New York.
Memory, see+ Gallery, Beijing, China.
2014
Shenzhen International Photography Festival, Guangdong, China.

Accounting Career Before Art

2004-2019

World Bank Group, Washington DC, USA. The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. Its’ vision is to reduce poverty, increase shared prosperity, and promote sustainable development in developing countries.

1994-2003

KPMG, Toronto, Canada. KPMG is one of the Big Four accounting organizations in the world offering financial audit, tax, and advisory services.

Sleep featured in a Baltimore Billboard
Sleep featured in a Baltimore Billboard. Near Penn Station


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