Visual Artist and Motion Graphics Art Director, Josh Pierce, has quickly become a leader in the emerging digital art space. A graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology, and Savannah College of Art and Design, Pierce is currently working as Fine Artist and Art Director in Los Angeles and has collaborated with countless well-known clients including Adobe, Elastic, NFL, the 76ers, and Grammy Winning artists, Rodrigo y Gabriela. Furthermore, Pierce has had multiple sell-out drops on platforms such as Niftygateway and Superrare. Amassing a dedicated following and community, Josh Pierce is renowned for his sense of awe and spiritual calm with his sublime use of color and composition.
How would you describe your artistic style?
Usually, when I get asked this question, I respond with something along the lines of “spiritually inspired fantasy landscapes.” However, I’ve always found that every description I try to give leaves something out. Lately, I've been leaning into the notion of creating “gateways into mindfulness.” I think that’s maybe more accurate. The truth is I strive to create a space where people can pause and have a moment of calm reflection.
What do you think the importance of Art History is in the NFT space and your work?
I think that art history tells us that the art that makes history breaks radically from what came before it. Using that metric, the explosion of art and creativity related to the technology of NFTs and the Blockchain is obviously a major disruptor to what has come before it and is hugely significant for that reason. Additionally, I think that my work speaks to authenticity that has been lacking in the recent past. I make what I love. I feel that rich and vibrant environmental surrealism has its place in the fine art world.
Who and what are your key influences?
I have a lot of influences, not all of which show up in the visual impression of my work. But some who do are for example Roger Dean the fantasy landscape artist and Alex Gray who uses sacred geometry and visionary transcendentalism. I’m definitely also inspired by the serene stillness of traditional Japanese minimalism and the brilliant richness of 19-century landscape oil painting.
Could you talk us through the process of making the work? What’s going on in the image?
Well, I definitely consider myself a very process-oriented artist. I tend to work on an image from start to finish in a single day. I begin by exploring an image in my mind through calm meditation, a walk, or even a run sometimes. Then, I sit in front of the computer and start with the landscape design sculpting terrains and blocking out landmasses. Everything is created in 3D. I use my own custom-built library of assets including materials, rocks, plants, and people to bring the scene to life. That is followed by rendering, color correction, compositing, and some final touches. Later, I will go back and animate a piece if I think it really deserves to be elevated to the next level, and then only the best will move on to being turned into NFTs.
What’s the overall idea/concept that you try to get across in this NFT and also in the rest of your work?
Overall, I try to create spaces of stillness for the viewer such that they might have an experience of pausing in their busy day and feeling some kind of deep connection to the present moment. I believe that mindfulness and awareness are key transformative practices that can free us from the incessant machinations of the human mind. I have found a way through creating art to tap into this on a daily basis and I hope that through my work I am able to carry that to my audience. I like to use natural elements because I feel like they ground us in our organic world. Then I impose in these environments some supernatural element of abstract energy to help suggest an inexpressible force that is always present when we just stop to notice it.
What’s the relationship between the subject and the aesthetic style of your work?
I think both are tied together pretty uniformly. I try to create a sense of peace and calm and I think the color palettes that I use while being very vibrant, are also harmoniously soothing. I don’t mind being pretty straightforward and having awareness around using an image of a person meditating in a piece that is about meditation and finding the calm center.
How did you get into NFTs?
I’ve been a digital artist for a very long time and have been in the motion graphics field since 2005. I started posting my personal work on social media in 2018 and quickly had a large following. I had been looking for ways of trying to turn my personal art into a career when I came across NFTs through Nifty Gateway. I saw it as a way that digital art can be sold as collectibles in a way that was never possible before. There is so much more obviously to the technology of NFTs though, but for me, this is the big key. A technology that lets people collect and own my work.
How do you see the relationship between NFTs and concept art and the traditional art world developing over the next few years?
I've heard it said and I believe that we are a few years away from mainstream adoption. Maybe it will be 2 to 5 years, but the emergence of Blockchain technology and Web3 ideas is all but inevitable at this point. I do believe that we who are here building this future will be considered early adopters in the years to come.
Who are your favourite artists in the NFT space?
I always have to give credit to Beeple, as he paved the way for specifically 3-D artists to break into the NFTs scene. I'm also a big fan of Fvckrender and his pioneering use of technology. David Ariew, Ryan Talbot, Mad Dog Jones, and ThankyouX have been extremely helpful. Many other artists and friends the list is too long. Flip Hodas, Blake Kathryn, Ted Chin, Ryan Hawthorne, Fesq, Nicole Ruggiero, Parrotism, Chad Knight, Frank Wilder… I could go on and on. Sorry, I can't just list people forever!
What are three words that you think will define the world of NFTs in 2022?
Unstoppable. Unexpected. Unprecedented.
What do you want the viewer to take away when looking at this NFT?
The key to my work is to find that moment of stillness. I want the viewer to experience the moment of peace and calm that I feel when I create my work. I want them to engage on a level that raises conscious awareness and promotes feelings of optimism and positivity. I hope that I can make the world a more harmonious piece one personal experience at a time.