Viestarts Aistars

Viestarts Aistars

Friday, July 15th, 1927 - Wednesday, April 1st, 2020
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Born in the summer of 1927 in Dobele, Latvia, Viestarts Aistars was the eldest of four sons (Aivars, Raits, Janis) in a family with a legacy of love for the arts. Viestarts was the son of writer Ernests Aistars and Lidija (Sulte) Aistars. He immigrated to the United States in the aftermath of World War II, when Latvia was occupied by the Soviet army and the Aistars family was listed for deportation to concentration camps in Siberia, where many Latvians died. Chicago was Aistars’ first home in the United States, and he enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied art while learning to speak English. His education was interrupted when he was drafted into the U.S. Army, but he returned to the Art Institute after the war and finished his degree, married the love of his life, Velta (Dunkelis) in May 1951, and had two daughters—Daina and Zinta.
Viestarts moved to Kalamazoo in 1959 to become a part of a large and vibrant Latvian community. He was a member of the Kalamazoo Latvian Lutheran Church. Much of Aistars’ work reflects the home he lost, with frequent themes of Latvian culture and folklore, seascapes recalling the Baltic Sea, or the forests he wandered in his childhood. Perhaps it is not such a coincidence that many of these scenes have a resemblance to the landscape of Michigan. His favored mediums are oils, watercolors, and charcoal pencil. Viestarts Aistars has had his artwork exhibited at the Detroit Art Museum, Indiana Art Center in Indianapolis and South Bend, Indiana, The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Grand Rapids Art Museum, as well as Latvian art exhibits in Seattle, Washington, New York City, Reading, Pennsylvania, and Cleveland, Ohio, to name only a few. He has had more than 60 one-man art exhibits in the Midwest and Eastern United States, including Boston, New York City, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Chicago, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Saginaw, Grand Rapids, and many other cities nationwide.
Viestarts has won numerous prizes and his work has been purchased by countless private collectors, also by the State Museum in Riga, Latvia, and the Art Museum in Jelgava, Latvia. A painting of a Latvian woman in folk costume hangs today in the Riga Pils (Riga Castle), the president's residence in Riga, Latvia. To see more of Aistars’ work, visit Instagram/viestartsaistars.
A second passion for Viestarts was music. He sang for much of his adult life in various Latvian choirs, mixed and men’s, and participated in numerous concerts and Latvian Song Festivals in the United States, Canada, and Latvia. On occasion, he sang solo in his rich bass voice.
Viestarts Aistars is survived by his wife Velta, daughter Daina (husband Steve Bowman, who passed away in 2018) and their three children: Melissa (husband Scott Dearth); Alex (wife Ewelina); Erika (husband Scott Waehler) and their daughter Dylan; daughter Zinta and her two children: Lorena (husband Derek Vaughn) and their children Laila, Lanning, Lincoln; and Markus Rutens.
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Private Condolence
Plant a Tree in Memory of Viestarts
8 trees have been planted in memory of Viestarts Aistars

Alex and Ewelina Bowman

Posted at 10:02am
Es Tevi Milu, Tita. You will always be in our thoughts and hearts.
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Viestarts Aistars — Plant a Tree Now

Erika, Scott, & Dylan Waehler

Posted at 01:43pm
Es Tevi Milu Tita
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Viestarts Aistars — Plant a Tree Now

Zinta Aistars

Posted at 12:17pm
Atminoties visus kocinus, ko mes kopigi stadijam, tevs ar meitu. Lai si koka zari izstiepjas debesim preti, tevi sveicinot. / For my beloved father.
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Viestarts Aistars — Plant a Tree Now

Daina Bowman

Posted at 08:37am
Milu tevi tetin! Mana sirdi tu busi vienmer! Love you tetin! In my heart you stay forever!
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Viestarts Aistars — Plant a Tree Now

Marsha Meyer & Michael Dunn

Posted at 08:50pm
He was an excellent artist and a great father. We can tell by how great his children are.
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Viestarts Aistars — Plant a Tree Now

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