NU art: Felix Treadwell
Felix Treadwell is a young British painter heavily influenced by Japanese culture. His work reflects a darker, very British take on Takashi Murakami’s super flat movement. Through sharing a studio with Felix, I have seen him countlessly reworking his paintings, slowly making them more gritty and abstract. That’s not to say he doesn’t work quickly, it’s more than likely for Felix to finish almost all of his paintings in a day or less. For example, in such paintings as “Oh no” he would constantly be reworking over what he had previously done, adding layer upon layer of ink washes and pale acrylic abstract figures. By continuously adding layer upon layer the painting creates a sense of mystery where the viewer is intrigued to look deeper into the painting, to understand all of the different layers of the piece.
Felix’s use of ink seems to add an illustrative quality to his work, yet the use of paint in an abstract style is something that takes him quite far from Takashi Murakami’s super flat paintings and to me seems to have drawn influence from painters such as St. Ives abstractionist Roger Hilton or even early Hockney. In more recent works such as “Birthday Party” Felix has started to incorporate more colour into his pieces juxtaposing the harsh black ink of cartoonish figures that are apparent within his work with areas of flat sharp colours. In this piece he paints a scene of chaos at a child’s birthday party, with distorted figures smoking cigarettes and wearing party hats. The figures look almost like ghosts, frantic and excited, and, when speaking to Felix, he described the painting as his experience of primary school, utter chaos.
Felix has now moved to Koyto, Japan on placement, I just wonder what he will bring back to the UK and if he will still think the same way about the art scene both here and there after experiencing them both first hand.
Words by Lewis J. Henderson
Photography by Felix Treadwell
Picture 1, “Oh No”
Picture 2, “Birthday Party”