/Jamie Treadwell - The Artist
I’m fascinated by the creative process. Creativity is seeing connections not seen before, and pursuing that connection until something new is created. It is not creative until you can walk away and someone else can discover what you’ve done. Creativity is about real contribution.
Art is an expression of awareness. My paintings seek to capture a moment of awareness; an impression from a landscape, an inspiration from prayer, or an interesting exploration of ideas.
When I paint, I make a mess. A mess with purpose. I create opportunity for discovery. Sometimes I work with carefully controlled craftmanship, other times I work quickly and intuitively, putting down washes or bold strokes. I observe the results on the canvas, and decide how to respond. There is a vision I’m working towards, but I’m open to surprises as to how that vision is realised.
My work as an artist has always been alongside of my personal development work with individuals and organisations. In each case I seek to release potential. I work in the rich domain of strategic creative process. A creativity that seeks impact in the real world.
Jamie Treadwell is an internationally collected fine artist and an urban monk. He holds a BFA honours from the University of Michigan School of Art.
Below is an article written by Jim Austin for Camp Hayo-Went-Ha where Jamie worked for a couple of summers. This recent biography was published in their December 2014 newsletter.
Jamie came to camp in 1977 as a first time counselor, thanks to some prodding by his family friend, Ben Duff. He was the All American Boy: high school valedictorian, star athlete (MVP in tennis and golf), first chair trumpet, heading to the University of Michigan to study business, very likable and incredibly humble. He had a clear path in his mind set to earn an MBA and become a successful businessman. While he had never been to any camp or worked with children before, Jamie immediately fit right in as a favorite of campers and fellow staff members. Little did Jamie know when he started that first summer that camp would change his life.
Teamed with the likes of camp legends Tom Ulrich, Chris Rode and Rex Sessions, Jamie quickly learned the ropes and found, to his surprise and pleasure, that working with children was his calling. After two years on camp staff and two years toward a business degree, he changed his life path drastically, changing his course of study to fine arts, where he earned an honors degree and his course in life to helping people, particularly children. And then, he disappeared, but staff who had worked with him always wondered...Where's Jamie?
Then, in 1998, we found him, thanks to a Detroit Free Press article by Neal Rubin in entitled "Grosse Ile Native Commits His Soul to Youth in Embattled Northern Ireland." Jamie had joined a Christian group, Sword of the Spirit and through them in 1988 had established a cross denominational program for children called Youth Initiatives...in Belfast, Northern Ireland, at a time when there was little cross denominational anything in Belfast. Rubin wrote:
Born into privilege in Grosse Ile, he arrived in west Belfast 10 years ago to teach children that bombs and bullets don't win hearts and minds. With a handful of other Christians from a group called Sword of the Spirit, he founded a cross-denominational program called Youth Initiatives.
This is not a movie-of-the-week, where Catholic and Protestant children wind up romping in a field while their parents join hands and reflect on the folly of their ways. This is Northern Ireland, where a car bomb in a small town called Omagh killed 28 people only two months ago.
But Treadwell and his associates do bring Catholics and Protestants together sometimes, and they do turn some aimless teenagers into leaders, and they do it with -- and for -- next to nothing.
Their tools are soccer balls and camp stoves and stage lights and, of course, faith. Their lessons are tolerance and responsibility. Slowly, carefully, they have become part of the community -- not preaching to it, but working within it, fighting to turn potential brigands into peacemakers. (read the whole article here: Neal Rubin Article
Jamie and his cohorts worked nothing short of miracles in bringing kids of literally warring families together and gained the respect, admiration and acceptance of a community in great strife. When brought back in touch with his camp colleagues as a result of the article, Jamie professed that his experience at camp changed his life focus and helped take him to his calling in Northern Ireland. He also shared that he had to purchase a second hand suit in order to receive a commendation from Prince Charles.
Jamie left Northern Ireland after a few more years to found another branch of Youth Initiatives... in the Middle East. His program in Lebanon yielded similar success in a similarly cross cultural setting.
A few years ago, having entered his 50's, Jamie decided to pursue a little less challenging and stressful line of work. Based in London, England, he is a life coach and accomplished artist while living the life of an urban monk. His work in pastels, oils, water colors and pencil, has been shown across Europe and the United States. He donated is beautiful "The Cross at the Point", shown at the top of this article, to camp to auction, with the proceeds going to camperships.
Editors note: Jamie's work in Lebanon was alongside existing youth programmes as a consultant and speaker rather than direct leadership