Josh Chaplin Interview

Josh Chaplin Interview

Artist Interview – Written by Ben Thomas

When I first started circling the NFT space at the end of last year, Josh was one of the first people I stumbled across after applying to Known Origin. I saw his first series dropped there and was picked up by a collector in the space quickly – and it’s easy to see why.

Everything feels like how a machine might dream at night when powered down and recharging sometime in the future. There is a beautiful simplicity in his work that I have not seen from many in the space so far. Huge digital landscapes that feel like they need to be experienced in a giant dark room filled with projectors and LED screens. Places you want to reach out and interact with.

There are some very, very faint echoes of artists like Joanie Lemercier in his work. But the difference in Josh’s work and others from that world is that Josh is an artist who is literally building worlds.

As blockchain technology progresses over the years I really believe artists like him are going to become more and more important. As the technology progresses, we are going to need more people who are familiar and comfortable with world building and the pipelines that are involved in bringing those spaces to life. And indeed, making them places that can exist on the blockchain.

Josh’s day job is currently building virtual reality experiences for a company in London. But he is soon to embark on a freelance career here in the UK. I am personally so excited to see what he has up his sleeve over the next 12 months and I could not be happier to introduce more of our readers to him and his process.

 

 

Josh give us a bit of background on yourself. How did you get into the creative industry and how did you end up here in the NFT space?

It started from a young age for me, I had always drawn and as I grew I started to experiment with digital media; I was also heavily into gaming. When it came to eventually figuring out what to do it seemed right to combine these interests together by working in the art and creative sectors of the games industry by becoming an Environment Artist. Over recent years alongside my work in games, I have also explored my creativity in other ways by working with digital art and exhibiting my pieces at exhibitions and galleries.

Through this I was introduced to the NFT world by Serena Tabacchi (Director & Co-Founder @ MoCDA) who invited me to join Knoworigin.io and begin selling my works. I joined in September 2020 and it is without a doubt one of the best decisions I have ever made.

For our readers who might not be familiar with you yet, tell us about the work you’re doing.

My digital art is a contrast to my daily work in game art and world building. It aims to put the focus on topics that are interesting to me and be much more experimental in nature. My art does not necessarily stick to a particular style, but it keeps common themes throughout. Always centring around the digital and natural worlds, data and deeper more philosophical topics. My works tends to visually involve point cloud VFX, data, paint and film.

What applications are you working with to create your art?

I use Unreal Engine for most of my work, it offers all the tools I need for my short film work to compositing. A variety of software for the development stage including; speedtree, maya, zbrush, photoshop, substance painter and designer. Most of my animated video work goes through premier pro as well. I also very recently started using Houdini.

Here’s that question that every creative person hates being asked. Inspiration. Where do you find it? And what other creatives have inspired your work over the years?

I get it from a variety of things. Music is a big one for me, in the past some of my biggest ideas have come from the sound that I digest. Followed closely behind is the natural world and in particular philosophy. These together have formed a melting pot for the ideas gone into my work over the past few years.

As for artists that I look up to, Refik Anadol is up there. As is the teamlabs collective. Both being massively important to my beginnings in Digital Art. Without their work and the inspiration it gave I may not have made the jump into self-exploration.

 

What effect, positive or negative has the pandemic had on your creativity?

The pandemic has allowed me to dedicate more time to my creativity, beforehand I struggled for time with my work in Games. Having increased time at home and much less to occupy the mind allowed me to concentrate much more on my work. I would say the pandemic was actually a very important factor in being where I am today, I think without it most of my digital artwork wouldn’t exist and along with that would not have come across the NFT world.

 

Which is your favorite piece of work currently? Give us a bit of info about it.

An Intangible World is one of my favourite pieces of work, it is one of those projects I can still watch through and leave feeling quite different afterwards. When I was building it I entered a sort of meditative state for weeks with focus on nothing other than the project itself, when I think back to it it was an incredibly peaceful and calming experience during what was such a chaotic time with the lockdown and pandemic raging externally. I also feel some of the deeper notes I was trying to hit with it came to fruition, especially for me whenever I watch it. When people tell me they have similar experiences when watching it, it fills me with so much joy.

Any strange/pinch yourself moments since entering this space? Have you had a follow yet from Paris Hilton?

Unfortunately, no follow from Paris. I’ve been in the space for 6-7 months I didn’t get my first major sale till just a few months back and have found great support from my collectors since then. In that time there were a few moments that were just completely mind blowing and I feel very lucky to be in this space at this time. A massive shoutout to those guys… Also, receiving a shout out from Pak on my project An Intangible World was a cool moment.

 

What are your long term goals in this space and with your career in general?

Although it’s only been half a year since being in this space it feels like much longer, a week here feels like a month in the real world. In that short time I’ve been very lucky to share this experience with some great new people and along the way find some success; and for that I feel indebted. So I will be here to help nurture the space in any way I can, by helping people get involved or collecting NFTs from other amazing artists, whatever it is.

The space is moving fast and when I think about where it is now from say December, it is quite mind blowing to think about. Most of my expectations and guesses in this short period have been completely blown out the water.

We are still early and there will be many ups and downs along the way but I know that I will continue to work hard on my craft and become a great digital artist.

I have some big projects lined up and some insane ideas that quite frankly scare me, but I could not be more excited to be right now.

 

To date what are the things you’ve achieved in your career that you’re the most proud of?

A few things stand out to me when I look back, the time when I first entered the creative industry and got my first job in games is a standout, I worked hard for many years and when that finally happened it was a pretty euphoric time. Some recent accolades include CADAF20, in which some of my first work was chosen for awards and a featured spotlight for the event. The NFT/crypto space is also up there, entering it, being a part of it and completely being immersed in it for many months, things like this do not come around often and it’s good to be a part of something so revolutionary so early on. I also feel somewhat good being a part of it all before the huge bull run.

We see a lot of people talking about style and having continuity in your body of work. And that artists should consider changing their work to fit market trends. How do you feel about this?

Yeah I see this a lot and I think about it often, I feel things like this can’t be spoken about as an absolute. Sure, some people have found a style and want to work with that and that’s completely okay. I feel I have a unique visual style but it is not something I want to keep elaborating on, piece after piece. My current process is a lot more experimental at this stage and concerns with the themes and topics rather than the visual.

Also, people change. To have a consistent style I feel is to not grow. Of course, it would be stupid to change every week, but over years it should be a common thing.

Now despite what I’ve said, it is clear that some artists do change to fit market trends and that I feel is not cool, it makes the artists body of work unclear and confusing. To a collector or someone invested in your work it will appear you have no direction or inner vision, I feel it’s very important to stick to what drives you as an artist and run with it.

 

This is the hardest question of them all. How do you see the NFT space evolving over the next five-ten years?

So difficult to guess this one, but I feel the pandemic has sped the inevitable transition to a digital lifestyle by maybe 3-5 years. The metaverse in the form of digital worlds with legitimate forms of ownership is already here and this will only become more integrated and polished.

The blockchain and particularly NFTs will truly revolutionise society, replacing traditional forms of centralised services. The beautiful thing about all of this is that the first major use case for this tech has been in the form of art which cannot be understated for the cultural impact its going to have on adoption. What’s happening here in the cryptoart space will define the next 10 years of the digital transition.

This is the hardest question of them all. How do you see the NFT space evolving over the next five-ten years?

So difficult to guess this one, but I feel the pandemic has sped the inevitable transition to a digital lifestyle by maybe 3-5 years. The metaverse in the form of digital worlds with legitimate forms of ownership is already here and this will only become more integrated and polished.

The blockchain and particularly NFTs will truly revolutionise society, replacing traditional forms of centralised services. The beautiful thing about all of this is that the first major use case for this tech has been in the form of art which cannot be understated for the cultural impact its going to have on adoption. What’s happening here in the cryptoart space will define the next 10 years of the digital transition.

 

What advice could you give to new artists entering this space?

Patience. Longevity is important. With everything being so electric, it can be easy to get sucked up into a short term way of thinking. Go at a steady pace, create scarcity in your work and think of the eventual. The space can also be very taxing on your mental health when locked in for large amounts of time, take a step back and retain balance as and when needed. It’s important for the long term.

 

What other artists from this space or outside of it should we be keeping an eye on?

Tom Russell – a great friend of mine and incredibly talented (@ThomasRussell55)

Mark Constantine Inducil – One of the best and most polished artstyles out there (@markinducil)

Rubenfro – The work in realtime pointcloud work is next level (@rubenfro)

Last serious question, how far off is this technology from being mainstream?

I think we are still in infancy, a good amount of people know about them but their access is still limited. I’m yet to see any mainstream or practical consumer wide business models built around them aside what we already see in the gaming/metaverse, finance, arts, and fashion sectors. NFTs are taking the world by storm culturally and are giving people a lot of potentials for entrepreneurship.

 

Tea, or Coffee?

This is a difficult one, recently I’ve been drinking much more tea than usual but I think Coffee just notches it.

 

Favorite music you’re currently listening to? (give as few or many as you want)

Im listening to a lot of ambient work at the moment by TYMELAPSE, Hilyard (Who I worked with on my last project Memories to the Machine) and Dreamstate Logic. In love with Architects new album ‘For those that wish to exist’. Also a big fan of Grimes latest album ‘Miss Anthropocene’.

You can track Josh down on the following NFT platforms:

Known Origin

Foundation

HeN

 

And give him a follow on his Socials:

Twitter

Instagram

Showtime

And his portfolio is over at his hompeage:

Homepage

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