Josh Tiessen

Josh Tiessen

Josh Tiessen is an international award–winning Canadian artist, recognized as one of the world’s top 10 prodigy artists (Huffington Post) and is the only known male art prodigy in North America (Dr. J. Ruthsatz, global prodigy expert). Mentored by masters, Josh has had more than 50 exhibitions, including at the National Gallery of Canada, selling 80 original works and hundreds of limited edition prints to private and corporate collections. He has been juried in as the youngest member of the elite International Guild of Realism and Artists for Conservation groups and has been featured more than 100 times in press and media. His 30 awards include the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and Canada’s Top 20 Under 20. He is also a sought-after speaker/teacher and makes frequent art donations through his Arts for a Change Foundation. He works out of his Josh Tiessen Studio Gallery.

Artist Statement

Although I have experimented with a variety of subject matter, in my paintings I most frequently choose nature and wildlife, as I believe God created the world and I take delight in emphasizing its beauty, particularity, and diversity. I especially enjoy unique angles on nature, animals, and still life subjects. I am also fascinated by the weathering effects of nature and the elements on architectural structures as they age. The interaction between the natural world and manmade structures often gives rise to metaphors that highlight truth, beauty, and the longing for ultimate restoration in the world.

My artistic style, referred to as “high realism,” reflects who I am because it combines the patient attention to fine detail with my experiences in the natural world. There is often a personal story behind each of my paintings. For those interested, all of their stories and descriptions appear on my website.

I capture all of my experiences with photos, using up to 20 as references for each painting. Sometimes I combine their elements into a composition on my laptop. Other times I use my photos merely as resources to support the composition that forms in my mind as I work on a series of sketches. Each painting takes 200 to 300 hours to complete, but for me the process is the most enjoyable part. The conversation between my subjects and their natural environments is very important to me, and I elevate environments from being mere backgrounds. I am especially interested in juxtaposing the contrasts that naturally occur in nature but are sometimes blurred in traditional art’s idyllic landscapes. Recurring elements in my work are surface textures and long shadows, which give rise to abstract shapes and accentuate the trompe l’oeil (trick of the eye) effect. My works are distinct in that I continue my images around the two-inch sides of braced birch, creating a truly three-dimensional work of art.

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