Crocodile rock: Jesper Löfvenborg at the American Swedish Institute

There's a mischievousness to Jesper Löfvenborg's paintings. His cast of characters mostly consist of humanized animals; his favorite of which seems to be a chunky-snouted crocodile that wears jeans and a t-shirt. In fact Löfvenborg, who is also a cartoonist, sets many of his characters in decidedly unnatural environments amid radiant palettes. They appear to be loving the adventure. It's as if the animals in Richard Scarry's Busy City books have been experimenting with acid.

Löfvenborg has recently arrived in the Twin Cities from Karlstad, Sweden as the current artist-in-residence at the American Swedish Institute. There are several fun events planned around his stay.

The first of which is an exhibition of his artwork, which will feature paintings, including a crocodile-faced Mona Lisa entitled Croca Lisa, and cartoon illustrations. Adding to the playfulness of his images, Löfvenborg hides references to Swedish traditions, as well as figures from comics and children's literature.

There will be over 40 paintings and cartoons on display, not only showing the cartoonist side of his work, but also his interest in tattoo art and skateboarding. A skateboard emblazoned with Löfvenborg's custom design will be on display, too.

Throughout his residency, Löfvenborg will be working on an in-gallery painting and teaching art workshops for teens. He will also have time for parties, including Cocktails with Creatives at the American Swedish Institute on Thursday, April 7; and How Swede It Is!: Scandimonium! on April 15, which will feature ASI's new signature cocktail and a tribute to Swedish jazz by Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson.

"Jesper Löfvenborg: Swedish Artist and Cartoonist" will be on display through April 29, 2011 at the American Swedish Institute, located at 2600 Park Avenue in Minneapolis. The museum is open from noon to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, and Thursday through Saturday; Wednesday from noon to 8 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. (closed Mondays and holidays).

Crocodile rock: Jesper Löfvenborg at the American Swedish Institute
Karlstad; Jesper Löfvenborg, 2009

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