Josh Tiessen is an international award-winning artist from Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada. Considered one of the world's top ten prodigy artists (Huffington Post) and the only known male art prodigy in North America (Dr. J. Ruthsatz, global prodigy expert). Tiessen was juried in as the youngest member of International Guild of Realism among foremost realist artists from around the world, Artists for Conservation and Society of Animal Artists, elite groups of the top nature and wildlife artists worldwide. Art Renewal Center USA designated him Associate Living Master, and Jonathan LeVine Projects chose him as First Place Winner out of 2000 artists in their international competition "Search for the Next Great Artist."
Mentored by masters like acclaimed Canadian artist Robert Bateman, Tiessen has exhibited his work for the past 13 years in over 100 exhibitions including the National Gallery of Canada and prominent galleries in the United States. He has sold over 90 original works and hundreds of limited edition giclée prints to private and corporate Canadian and international collectors.
Featured upwards to 200 times in the press and media, speaking and teaching at 60 venues, making 90 invited art donations to charitable organizations, and establishing his own Arts for a Change Foundation, Tiessen has garnered over 60 awards and honours including IGOR Creative Achievement, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and Canada's Top 20 Under 20 for his artistic accomplishment and philanthropic work.
In spite of this early success, Tiessen humbly acknowledges that his artistic talent is a gift from God. The interaction between the natural world and manmade structures is a particular interest, often giving rise to metaphors, which highlight truth, beauty and the longing for ultimate restoration in the world.
Although I have experimented with a variety of subject matter, I frequently choose nature and wildlife, as I take delight in emphasizing the beauty, particularity and diversity of creation. I enjoy unique angles on nature, animals and architecture. 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 is of particular interest to me, often giving rise to metaphors, which highlight truth, beauty and the longing for ultimate restoration in the world.
My studio gallery, located in Olde Stoney Creek, is situated in a large sunroom at the back of my home with a beautiful, inspiring view of the Niagara Escarpment. Every day I am treated to the sights and sounds of a wide variety of birds chirping away in my backyard as I paint. One of my favourite pastimes is hiking the Bruce Trail, which I can access on foot just down the road from my studio, sometimes joining hikes with The Hamilton Naturalists' Club. I bike the Waterfront Trail of Lake Ontario a couple kilometres from my home, and frequent the Eramosa Karst, a protected conservation land located a short drive away.
All of these local places and experiences, backed by the first six years of my life spent in Russia, and travels across Canada, the U.S. and many other countries provide an endless supply of creative ideas and inspiration. I have studied and sketched the masters of realism in galleries around the world. My sketchbook and camera go everywhere I do, developing compositional ideas and photographing references to support my sketches.
I use up to thirty of my own photos as references for each painting, along with models which I craft from paper and clay, and a digital composite that I build on my computer to finalize my composition and choose the colour palette. I allow the subject matter to dictate the shape of each custom-made panel, and sometimes complete the work by designing a unique custom-made frame. Each painting takes 400-1200 hours, but for me the long process is the most enjoyable part.
The conversation between my subjects and their environments is important to me, and I have increasingly given attention to environments to elevate them from mere backgrounds. I am interested in juxtaposing the contrasts that naturally occur in nature but are sometimes blurred by idyllic landscapes often seen in traditional art.
My artistic style, in the "New Contemporary" movement, best reflects who I am as a person because it combines the patient attention to fine detail with my experiences of interacting in the world. For this reason there is often a personal story that accompanies each painting, however without this knowledge it is up to the viewer to unravel the mystery of the scene. My studies in philosophy, theology and liberal arts all undergird the deep thought process behind my work.
Recurring elements in my acrylic and oil paintings are surface textures and long shadows, which give rise to abstract shapes and accentuate the trompe l'oeil effect. A unique distinction that has become my trademark, is the non-quadrilateral shape of my paintings and how the image continues in realistic detail around the 2" sides of braced Baltic birch panels, creating a truly three-dimensional work of art — my contemporary response to the classical masters of realism.
b. 1995 Moscow, Russia
Selected Exhibitions (from 100 gallery & juried shows)
2020 Group: "The Society of Animal Artists Members Exhibition," Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, Oradell NJ
2020 Group: Rehs Contemporary Gallery, New York City NY
2019 Solo: “Streams in the Wasteland II” Corey Helford Gallery, Los Angeles CA
2019 Group: “Lucky 13 Anniversary Show,” Corey Helford Gallery, Los Angeles CA
2019 Solo: “Streams in the Wasteland,” Jonathan LeVine Projects, Jersey City NJ
2019 Group "Ascent," Talon Gallery, Portland OR
2018 Solo: "Josh Tiessen at RZIM Gallery," CBC Canada, Toronto ON
2018 2-Person: Josh Tiessen Studio Gallery, LA Art Show, Los Angeles CA
2017 Group: Juxtapoz Magazine "Clubhouse," Miami FL
2017 Group: Jonathan LeVine Projects, Scope Miami, Miami FL
2017 Group: “Search for the Next Great Artist,” Jonathan LeVine Projects, Jersey City NJ
2017 Solo: “Watching Paint Peel,” The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre, Niagara-on-the-Lake ON
2017 Group: "Winter Salon,” The Marshall Gallery, Scottsdale AZ
2016 Group: “Small Works,” Gallery 1261, Denver CO
2016 Solo: “7th Annual Open House,” Josh Tiessen Studio Gallery, Stoney Creek ON
2015-2016 Group: “Masterworks from the International Guild of Realism,” R.W. Norton Gallery, Shreveport LS; Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala FL; Albany Museum of Art, Albany GA
2015 Group: “International Guild of Realism,” Principle Gallery, Alexandria VA
2014 Solo: "The Visceral," Josh Tiessen Studio Gallery, Stoney Creek ON
2014 & 2016 Group: “Annual Juried Exhibition,” Algonquin Art Centre, Algonquin Park ON
2014 Group: “Remnants,” Robert Lange Studios, Charleston SC
2013 Group: “International Guild of Realism,” Tempe Center for the Arts, Tempe AZ
2013 Group: “The Artist Project,” Exhibition Place, Toronto ON
2012 12-Person: “So you want to be an artist?” National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa ON
2010 Solo: “Josh Tiessen: Launching into Fine Art,” Art Gallery of Burlington ON
Selected Awards and Honours (from 60)
2019 Rehs Contemporary Gallery Award for “New Sheriff in Town,” Annual Salon Competition, Art Renewal Center USA
2018 Dual Category Award for “Occidental Babylon,” Landscape & Animals, Annual Salon Competition, Art Renewal Center USA
2017 First Place Winner, Delusional: Search for the Next Great Artist, Jonathan LeVine Projects
2017 Canada 150 Sesquicentennial Constituent Award, Government of Canada
2016 Best Wildlife Award, International Guild of Realism
2014 Creative Achievement Award, International Guild of Realism
2013 Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 Award, Plan International Canada
2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Government of Canada
I believe all that we have comes from God, who created the world and is the ultimate Source of everything in it. I give out of sincere gratitude for all the material blessings I enjoy, and seek to responsibly steward that which God has entrusted to me: my gift for art and the financial resources which result from it. These beliefs form the basis for my philanthropic lifestyle. By seventeen I had donated funds and art to over forty charities. My donations were multiplied through charity auctions, with a framed print raising upwards to $1,000. To date, through these fundraisers my art has generated over $50,000 for seventy-five charities. I decided to start my own foundation to better coordinate my charitable giving and art donations. I chose not to use my name, as I wanted to actualize my philosophy of doing ‘art with a purpose’ to make a difference in the world in partnership with others. So I created the name Arts for a Change Foundation, to benefit individuals and organizations making a difference through humanitarian and conservation efforts. I entrusted Abundance Canada, which has a similar faith base and stewardship philosophy, to manage and disperse funds under my direction. I am thankful to my collectors who have participated with me by purchasing my art and supporting Arts for a Change Foundation.
As an award-winning international artist, Josh is often asked to speak, teach and display his art. Having spoken at over 50 engagements including elementary and high schools, colleges, community groups, churches and conferences, Josh speaks on how he became a professional artist by 16. With the goal of inspiring and encouraging listeners, he highlights themes like the importance of mentorship, appreciation for nature, inspiration and message behind his art, doing ‘art with a purpose’ and how good things can come out of the worst circumstances. Backed by a digital slideshow depicting his journey and images of his art, Josh is a dynamic speaker who is able to adapt his presentation for audiences young and old.
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