Malva was born in Monroe, Louisiana and raised as an entrepreneur by parents Mal and Ruth Cooley of Cooley Printers. She graduated from Northeast Louisiana University (ULM) then added another couple of specialty degrees from Louisiana Tech University. For the last 15 years, her service heart had been dedicated to work as a teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired for Monroe City Schools. Her creative heart as an artist has been centered around the traditional form of Japanese art – Gyotaku – which began over 100 years ago as a way for fishermen to keep a record of fish they caught (and in Malva's case a way of preserving Louisiana's indigenous creatures). To create each of her Gyotaku works, Malva uses acrylic ink which is then applied to one side of a harvested alligator, fish/shellfish or crustaceans, completely covering the subject with fabric and rubbing to create an exact image of the inked animal.