Nastassja painting "The Awakener" - the wind that rises at dawn. Photo by Brian Thompson, 2022.

Artist Statement

Nastassja Noell (she/they) is a lichenologist who traverses outside the fenced pastures of science. As a biologist, painter, and writer, her work grapples with the collapse of ecosystems and the reality of living on stolen indigenous lands, and seeks to co-create art and writing that reconnects and heals.

Her philosophy is that our imaginations are like unique musical instruments, instruments that are played by our surroundings and our experiences (albeit with our own unconscious filters). When she is in a particular location, she widens her imagination and lets it be played by the ecosystems, weather. lichens and other beings in a landscape, engaging the relationship through art, prose, and movement.

Her creative writing and artwork have been published by the Dark Mountain Project and other venues; her flash fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize; and she is a recipient of the United Plant Savers’ Deep Ecology Artists Fellowship. She has led lichen biodiversity research projects throughout the Americas, co-authored the book Delmarva Lichens (Torrey Botanical Press), and her science writing has appeared in scientific journals as well as Radical Mycology, Patagon Journal, and NW Travel. Nastassja lives in the Southern Appalachians on the ancestral lands of the An-igiduwagi (Cherokee) People. Every summer, you can find her working at Firefly Gathering outside Asheville, NC.

Current Portfolio