A Minnesota native, Anna Lassonde is an artist based out of Detroit Lakes, MN who works mostly in acrylics and often in collage. She does book illustrations, commissions, and murals, and she also teaches art classes for people of all ages, including senior citizens through community programming.
Living on a farm in rural Minnesota, Anna finds her farm animals to be a constant source of inspiration. Her old, wise horse Mac and mischievous pony Ginger are often featured in her paintings, as are her dog, cat, parrots, and chickens. The chickens are particularly inspiring because of how inquisitive, curious, and interactive they are. They often accompany Anna around the farm and showcase their different personalities. When painting them, Anna works to capture their antics, moods, expressive eyes, and beautiful colors. Because of her love for animals, pet portrait commissions are a favorite of hers to paint.
She has created several series of holiday card sets and notecards that feature her playful farm animals. The chicken themed cards are especially popular and each design tells a story, incorporating humor to brighten anyone’s day. For example, the mischievous horses running through the snow after they had stolen a string of Christmas lights or several silly chickens sledding down a hill together, but one fell off headfirst into a snowbank.
Anna has illustrated two children’s books, A Day in the Bog with Frog and Dog (by Carol Grina 2021) and Seraphina the Ballerina (by Dawn Duncan 2022). Most of the paintings are done in acrylics or collage, although Anna also ventures into sketches, watercolor, and photography. She also makes handmade paper.
In 2019 she did two large mural projects. For one of them she traveled all the way to Lubango, Angola to paint a 120 foot spiritual mural at a missions hospital. This project involved a team of 10 others from Minnesota and the local Angolan community. Anna created and coordinated the mural. She remembers it to be a highlight of her career as she loved meeting the people and experiencing the culture of the country. The second project was a restoration of the 128 ft. historic mural by Del and Frieda Iron Cloud in Ashley, North Dakota, originally painted in 1996. She partnered with artist Nicole Gagner, together they worked on color matching the faded paint colors to their original bright and vivid colors from a photograph without compromising the original art.
In addition to making art, Anna shares the process of art with her community by offering various art classes. Sharing art is her passion, particularly for those who do not have an opportunity for art. For example, Anna worked in healthcare for most of her life and saw that the senior citizens who she worked with in long-term care really enjoyed the art classes she would offer them. Some residents wanted to continue creating outside of class time, but they did not have access to art materials. To meet this need in her community, Anna secured her first art grant to ensure the senior citizens would have the opportunity to access the arts. She has continued to make art accessible for others by offering painting classes at a nursing home, community classes at the Historic Holmes Theatre in Detroit Lakes, and painting parties for individuals or events.
Anna Lassonde believes art is to be enjoyed by everyone no matter what skill level, and there is an artist inside of everyone!