There’s only one place where dystopian cyberpunk landscapes meet grim medieval tropes – and that’s Josh Kasper art. He even coined the name ‘Medieval Punk’ to describe his eclectic style that brings together a number of different 3D rendering techniques. In this week’s On The Spot, Josh takes us on a journey through his first modest Photoshop experiments to the stunning and immersive work he creates today. Jump in!
What does your studio look like?
My home office aesthetic is very similar to my style of work. All my walls are painted black, and I run RGB color-changing lights around my desk, floor, and bookshelves. My keyboard, mouse, desk pad, and computer are of course also laced with multicolored, changing RGB lights. As you may have picked up, I definitely have a preferred aesthetic. Behind my desk I have a river-themed aquarium, a slice of greenery and life.
How did you become an artist?
I went to university for Graphic Design, and started my Instagram page as a class project in April 2019. After I graduated, I challenged myself to post once a day for an entire month, doing typography-style art of random lyrics and song titles. It was awful and miserable, and one of the best decisions I ever made. I gave myself a safety net and backlogged a dozen posts (in case I wanted to skip a few days) and after three days of posting I saw how truly awful those backlogged posts were. I forced myself to not take the easy way out, and every day I posted a legitimate, new piece, building up a portfolio I was happy with at the time. Of course, over the years my style has changed drastically, but we all have to start somewhere.
How did you develop your current art style?
I experimented in Photoshop with 3D text, and I remember immediately falling in love with my awful textures, low geometry, and glowing lights. I quickly upgraded to a 3D software called blender, and after a few years of very slow learning and thousands (seriously, thousands) of bad renders, I fell in love with reflective surfaces, neon lights, cityscapes, and texture. Most of my current catalog is Cyberpunk-style, but I’ve been experimenting with a style that I’m just calling MedievalPunk, a neon-cyber reimagining of classic medieval fantasy. I don’t know of any artists using that similar premise, and I’ve enjoyed how much it’s pushing my creativity.
What inspires you the most?
I draw inspiration from all different forms of media, my favorites being artists on Instagram, Artstation, and speedart videos on YouTube. I always tell people to find and follow as many of their favorite artists as they can on Instagram, for an endless feed of challenging, inspiring images. Another thing that’s intrigued me recently is AI generated art, and the conceptual possibilities that it opens, not to put artists out of a job but to ease and aid the digital art processes. I’ve also recently watched the Netflix show Arcane, and was blown away with the painted 2D textures plus 3D rendering, along with their dramatic style of lighting and generous use of neon.
Which of your artworks is your favorite and why?
My cliche answer of the day is that my favorite artwork is always my next one! But if I had give a real answer, the one I’ve liked for the longest is “Sliver.” I find myself chasing the same atmosphere, reflections, and composition on a regular basis.
How does your normal day look like?
I support myself with my day job, where I work as a Marketing Director. I’m blessed to work with a great group of leaders and co-workers, and am thankful to have a job where I have a creative, graphic design challenge on a daily basis. After hours, I work on commissioned projects, new poster designs, new projects, or content for instagram while also trying to keep up a social life. Wish me luck!
What artist would you like to grab a coffee with?
An artist I’d love to chat with is Gal Barkan, a 3D digital artist and Art Director. His works have inspired me for a while. I love his hyper-detailed scifi and fantasy cityscapes, and his flair for powerful lighting and interesting compositions. A stunning combination of science fiction and dystopian fantasy, while maintaining a huge level of detail.
What do you find to be your biggest success so far?
Besides marrying my amazing wife, I view my biggest success to be my Instagram page. My page is tiny compared to many artists I look up to, but I’m thankful everyday for the people who chose to support and follow my work. Having followers used to be a pipe dream for me. I try to keep myself accountable to them by posting quality, consistent, interesting work.
What are your dreams and plans for the future?
My dreams for the future are to continue to create digital art and adapt my style. I have a long way to go, as far as developing technical and conceptual skills, and hope to develop myself in those areas. Career wise, I plan to continue to establish a body of work as a concept artist. I have several exciting projects in the coming months that I can’t wait to share, and look forward to continuing to push myself and my artwork in the realm of cyberpunk and fantasy.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The best artistic advice I’ve been given came from my Graphic Design professor. She ingrained in me the idea that “Makers make,” and the importance of filling a portfolio with passion projects. It’s almost impossible to sell yourself and your skills by presenting projects you yourself don’t love. Creative people have a drive to constantly make, and creatives need an outlet. Pursuing a passion project is a great way to attract potential employers, build a spirited body of work, and find your unique place in the environment. Without advice like this, I never would have started the passion project that began my digital art journey!