Journey to the North Pole with this artist’s visual diary

20 October 2021

In the spring of 2010, the father of illustrator-to-be Nikita Vasilevskiy asked him to join him on a trip to the North Pole.

Equipped with winter clothes, a notebook, and a pen, Vasilevskiy and his father, a professional marine photographer, set off from their hometown of Murmansk on a journey to Barneo, in a complex, high-latitude Arctic expedition organised by the Russian Geographical Society.

Vasilevskiy meticulously documented the trip, which involved taking a plane from Svalbard to a remote ice airstrip, before camping out in the white, frozen desert. Inspired by the film Back to the Future, Vasilevskiysays he kept the diary in the hope of preserving memories for his future self.

In illustrations accompanied by comic captions and caricatures, Vasilevskiy chronicles his frozen adventures, documenting everything from detailed drawings of their camp, to insider tips on how to have a bath at the North Pole. One image pictures Vasilevskiy’s bed, separated from the daunting 4,200 metres of water below by just three metres of ice.

“When you’re surrounded by ice, with no internet and nothing much is happening, you start to appreciate simple things, like eating chocolate and chatting with people,” Vasilevskiy told Wepresent, who initially published his sketches. “People go to the camp of Barneo from all over the world. Travelers, scientists, athletes, tourists, English princes – they all eat soup under the same roof. You never know which experience will leave an impression on you for the rest of your life. So, if you are invited somewhere – go. Thank you, dad!”

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