Matthew Kunnari


Orono, Minnesota

The Story

“I remember discovering in my art classes at Dordt that I was deeply interested in color,” says Matthew Kunnari (’06). “I’d be driving down the road, and I’d be struck by certain things: the yellow paint on the center line, the red stop sign, a blue sky. I’d feel compelled to return to that image in the studio.”

Now his medium is flowers.

Kunnari lives on the grounds of the historic Pillsbury Mansion, next to Lake Minnetonka, where aside from tending plants and designing landscapes, he spends time painting in his bright artist’s studio in the estate’s carriage house.

The room is filled with brightly colored still-life paintings, arranged on easels or up against the wall. “I like to paint the things that have been left behind. A table after everyone has eaten, or a sink and counter filled with dishes,” he says. The paintings are unconventional, but beautiful.

“As an artist, and also as a gardener, you learn patience,” he says. “You’re in it for the long game.”