VISUAL ARTS | Croatian-Minnesotan artist Vesna Kittelson pushes the boundaries of portraiture to promote intercultural understanding

Vesna Kittelson paints bright, bold, optimistic portraits that defy the traditional rules of portraiture, but despite the cheer in her paintings, she has insights into the dark side of human nature generally and the dark side of immigration in the United States more specifically. Her view of immigration is not only dark, though—it is also lively and cheerful, as one can see in her Young Americans series of paintings, which appropriately includes the confident faces of ethnicities from all over the world. Her work is on display at Form + Content gallery along with sculpture that, in contrast with the bright color of her images, expresses her vision of a chaotic world.Vesna has her studio in the warehouse district of Minneapolis, but grew up in Split, Croatia, an ancient city on the Dalmation Coast that is the home of a splendorous Roman emperor’s palace. She says that she was unconsciously influenced by the art fragments all around her in her childhood. She loves the idea of fragments—as a girl she ate ice cream sitting on ancient Roman pillars, and through those pillars she felt she could enter another world—she sees her pieces as fragments that allow a viewer to enter their imagination.In her spacious studio in a North Loop warehouse, Vesna spoke about her new work and its personal significance. Continue Reading