BRAINERD — Strolling through the Crow Wing County Fair this week, one can find new artwork painted on animal barns.
The cartoon-like paintings are the work of 19-year-old Amber Kartman. Kartman was asked to paint animals on the barns representing what visitors will find inside. So far Kartman has painted chickens, horses, cows and rabbits.
Of all the paintings she has done at the fairgrounds, her favorite is the horse, she said.
Kartman is autistic and has always had an interest in art. She started making dolls to sell at The Crossing Arts Alliance last year and is currently pursuing a degree in graphic design at Central Lakes College. She said she hopes to become a video game designer in the future.
Kartman likes role-playing games, but also likes games like Minecraft. She noted that Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is her favorite video game.
In her spare time, she enjoys making digital art and playing video games. She also enjoys watching anime. Japanese music such as the anime’s opening and closing theme songs is what Kartman often listens to when working on her works.
Kartman described his art style as a mix of anime and “Cuphead”. “Cuphead” is a video game with rubber hoses or 1920s animation-style graphics.
Of all the artistic mediums, Kartman prefers digital art. She will often use Microsoft Paint or Photoshop to create her pieces. She has also worked on her own video games and designed characters. In 2021, Kartman won an award for Excellence in Video Game Design at Brainerd High School’s Celebration of Fine Arts and Activities.
Kartman’s involvement in the fair was set up by his grandfather, who helps prepare for the fair. These cute animal paintings aren’t the only thing Kartman has helped design.
“I did the posters for the stands and other things,” Kartman said. “I even did the recent fairground cover that just asked for that cow in the barn.”
In addition to the show booklet cover and posters, Kartman also designed the grandstand tickets.
Kartman’s works are displayed in the animal barns of the fairgrounds.
SARA GUYMON, staff writer for Brainerd Dispatch, can be reached at 218-855-5851 or