My name is Natalie Treadwell. I am an Arctic artist born and raised in Alaska, but have spent the past seven years studying throughout the continental US and traveling throughout the Arctic. I began my undergraduate degree at The University of Notre Dame in 2015 and have since transferred The University of Southern California. I will be graduating in December 2019 a degree in Fine Art and Spatial Science Mapping, continuing on to get a masters degree in GIS, computer mapping. In 2016 I was chosen as a Young Explorer by The Explorers Club and Adventure Canada to travel from Western Greenland to the Nunavut Territories of Canada. In 2018, I accompanied the Dallas Perot Museum of Nature and History on an expedition to look for fossilized dinosaur footprints in eastern Alaska.
I create art because I am an advocate for the people, practices, and resources that exist in the Arctic; I share what I see with the intentions of helping those around the world who have not had the opportunity to experience the North better understand this area.
I choose to work in oil paint as I believe it is important to maintain an understanding of the old masters techniques and continue the tradition of oil painting in a modern context. I also paint with squid ink and octopus ink which help me bring a natural aspect into the materiality of my work. Some experiments that I have conducted include oil painting with seal and whale fat, which preserve the dna of the animal into the painting. I also work with film photography, since it is the act of capturing light. I am fascinated with this process, as the light in the Arctic reflects in a way that is unique to the polar regions. My work reflects the overpowering beauty of the Arctic while also referencing scientific and engineering accomplishments that have lead to the development of humanity through the use of these resources.
Most recently, my work has been focused on understanding energy production and consumption within our global system and how the Arctic is involved with these processes. These imagery in these paintings include a representation of a fossilized dinosaur footprint, an offshore oil-tanker that can extract crude oil, a natural petroleum pipeline that is carrying crude oil to a tanker which will later be refined and burned as fuel, and a gas tanker refilling a gas station. Processes such as these are the foundation for our entire economy and the reason we can live in such a complex and interconnected global network. I find these operations to be important and wildly misunderstood in a colloquial cultural understanding, in other words, the energy that goes into our energy often goes unnoticed, and I hope that I can bring light to these processes, and the Arctic’s important role in our world through the artwork and maps that I make.