Cynthia DuVal was born in Salem, Oregon in 1954. She spent her childhood roaming the rolling hills, dark forests and rich farm lands of Oregon's Willamette Valley. As a young girl she spent many hours watching her mother paint landscapes and portraits in oils. As a student Cynthia gravitated to art, literature, psychology and music. These early experiences influenced Cynthia's development as an artist and are apparent in her art and ethnographic work today.
Cynthia attended the University of Oregon (1972-1977) where she continued to explore nature, art and psychology and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Experimental Psychology. At the invitation of life long friend jazz musician Molly Holm, she relocated to the San Francisco Bay area. It was while living in North Oakland that Cynthia began her professional artistic journey bringing deep interests in creative cognition, collaborative thinking and an experimental approach to her work.
She spent 1985-1990 at the Emeryville Artist's Co-op in Emeryville, California. While there she turned her artistic intentions to theater design and painting. Artists Cay Lang, Basem Elias, Yisrael Feldsott, Louise Stanley, Davis Perkins, Jerry Carlignlia, Margaret Fisher, Louise Stanley, Rick Magistrali, Violet Murakami, Joe Di Stefano, John Duykers, Melissa Weaver, George Coates, Sean Kilcoyn, Jay Cloidt, Molly Holm, Jarl Forsman and Jeff Hunt were influential neighbors, co-workers and friends.
From 1991 to 1994 Cynthia attended the University of California at Santa Cruz where she was introduced to Cultural Psychology and ethnography and earned an interdisciplinary Master's Degree in Aesthetic Education Research. Her studies were guided by inter-disciplinarians, LInguist/Psychologist Vera John-Steiner, Poet/Aesthetician David Swanger and Psychologists/Artists Barbara Rogoff and Pavel Machotka and Educational Anthropologist Greta Gibson. Cynthia later completed post-graduate ethnography internships with the Artist in Residence Program at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PAIR) and the Central Casting Group at Interval Research, Paul Allen's technology design think tank in Silicon Valley.
Since 1994 Cynthia has divided her time between pioneering design ethnography work, painting, photography, film-making and raising her family. She currently lives with her family in rural Northwest Washington and runs her design ethnography and art businesses out of the Fine Arts Building in Bellingham, Washington.