Dreamy Pastels Transport to Another World 

With soft, pastel colours and dreamy surrealist landscapes, artist Jos transports us to another world. As a digital artist, he takes images and creates a completely different narrative. 

Jos’s work often explores the natural world and expands the idea of what this could mean. By placing a human subject into the distance of his work, he plays with the idea of time and the short history humans have on Earth. Paired with the surreal nature of his work, he aims to create a tranquil atmosphere of wonder. 

His inspiration stems largely from the exploration of the natural world, pulling various elements from daily life. Colourful, pastel clouds are often featured in his work or bright blue seas. The light colours help to blend together the scene, while Jos allows nature to tell its own story. 

We had an in-depth conversation with Jos about his work.

THE PLUS PAPER: Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and how you got into digital art?

JOS: I became interested in art when I was a child and my first experience was through music. Eventually, I studied music composition, orchestra conducting and finally film music composition. I am very passionate about the link between music and image and I think there is nothing more powerful than that encounter.

I have always been interested in art, I was in music bands and I wrote poetry and short stories. In music school, I had plastic arts classes as a complementary subject and I was passionate about the journey we took through the history of art. Many years later I started using Photoshop to experiment with images and here I am, making a living from doing this work every day, and I only started doing digital work three years ago. 

To be frank, it was after several attempts at analog collage (a speciality in which my wife excels) failed. So, I started in Photoshop three years ago and from then on I haven’t stopped making digital designs for one day. My initial desire was to experiment with shapes but over time I found a compositional style and ended up finding a way to create scenarios as I like to dream them.

TPP: How do you get inspiration for your pieces?

J: In general, I believe that inspiration comes after a process of a lot of exploration work. Maybe that’s what motivates my pieces: exploration.

I have seen millions of photographs in search of materials and in many of them is hidden the fire that inspires. An element, a line, a tone, a type of light, a mood… a detail can awaken the desire to compose something new.

And then I start to play, I try to surprise myself, to create something different from what came before. Of course, in the end, it’s always me and my language that shows through, but it’s a game, again, of exploration.

There is also nature, which is the best of all works of art, and in the end, everything comes from there. I like to play with its beauty, retouch its attributes.

The beauty of the world around us is overwhelming and every time I create a work I try to remember that sense of transcendence I feel when I am alone in the immensity of a landscape.

Many of my works are about that solitary encounter between oneself and the surrounding nature, but not only the visible nature. There is also all that we know exists and that extends to each side for millions of light years but we do not see, we do not apprehend.

TPP: What’s your creative process? 

J: It’s quite simple, really. I spend thousands of hours looking at images. I select them, categorize them, work on them. I put together several projects at a time and then I focus on the one that gives me the most enthusiasm.

I make hundreds and hundreds of combinations. I work in Photoshop from the beginning, juxtaposing layers until I create new textures and tones of light. And then, once the overall composition is finished, I start working on the details. 

I finish the pieces in AE, where I add life, so to speak. It’s about a certain movement. It’s subtle, but I think it adds a lot of narrative value.

TPP: How does surrealism play into your work? 

J: First, in relation to the atmosphere created in the encounter between skies and terrains that exceed the conventional, and secondly, in the play of dimensions. Therein lies the secret of the impression I try to generate in the viewer, who may feel that what he sees is a natural scene that does not keep the parameters to which he is accustomed and that, therefore, has certain dreamlike overtones.

TPP: In many of your pieces, there seems to be a lone person far off in the distance, surrounded by a vast dreamy landscape. Can you tell us the meaning behind this? 

J: Yes, it is true. I attribute it to two ideas I have about us: First, I believe that as human beings we are just a chapter in a millenary natural history, and that, in perspective, our passage on earth is little different from that of any other animal. It is an instant.

That is why when I look at a flowing river I think that the river is real-time, and we are only an instant of its history. We are witnesses of a miracle that lasts for millions of years, that we barely understand, and that we should enjoy. And I am captivated by the large dimensions of nature. There is nothing like it. Capturing some of that magic is enough.

Secondly, it is a way of tracking how personal this encounter with the environment and with oneself is. It is true that it can happen in any circumstance, but there is something captivating in having a transcendent moment alone.

TPP:  You play with different elements of nature in several of your collages. How does nature help tell a story from within your work?

J: Those colours are the best! I’m not sure what attracts me to them, but I’ve never liked saturated, sharp colors. With them I feel that everything blends together, everything communicates perfectly.

I just saw Wes Anderson’s new movie (The French Chronicle) and I was fascinated. No doubt his palettes are an inspiration and I wish I had the ability to imitate them in some way.