KAL BARTESKI is a Winnipeg-based multimedia artist, activist, and author known for her signature illustrated typescript and wildlife paintings. Her artistic journey has seamlessly evolved from a love of painting animals into projects with a purpose.
The aspiring artist sold her first painting (a portrait of a dalmatian) in Saskatchewan at the age of 8, validating her pursuit of doing what she loved. Kal’s move to Winnipeg in her twenties proved to be the ultimate brush with destiny, as a fascination with a polar bear at the zoo inspired an impressive portfolio of 150 polar bear paintings that became an international sensation.
Regular visits to Churchill, Manitoba prompted study of polar bears and their habitat, leading to The Polar Bear Fund initiative in 2016 supporting non-invasive polar bear research. In June 2017, Kal participated in Churchill’s mural festival and inspired a “Back Alley Arctic” campaign in Winnipeg’s Wolseley neighbourhood (pictured). The walkable art gallery included several garage murals featuring her beloved bears and other illustrated wildlife.
Kal’s wild obsession garnered attention from Brent Christensen, Creator/Founder of Ice Castles, spurring a cool collaboration. Kal’s paintings can be viewed inside the shimmering icy tunnels and glowing palatial archways of Ice Castles throughout the winter months at Parks Canada Place at The Forks.
Of her famed polar bears, Kal acknowledges that “it’s not the hipster cool theme, but I’m grateful for who I am and how this intuitive journey has gifted me some beautiful opportunities.”
Followers can view her work website kalbarteski.com and on Instagram @kalbarteski.