This young artist has had the example, encouragement, and help of some of America's best and most well known wildlife artists.... Terry Redlin, Terry Isaac, and Paco Young, among so many others have watched and encouraged Spies' career. He is a Life member of Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Pheasants Forever, a Heritage Sponsor of Ducks Unlimited, and a member of the Safari Club International, National Turkey Federation, and the NRA. Spies is one of six artists throughout the country selected for the 2003 Ducks Unlimited National Art Package, and was also a finalist in the 2003 DU International Artist of the Year competition. His art was selected for the 2002 and 2003 Pheasants Forever National Art packages, and his painting "Annual Descent" was awarded People's Choice Winner in 2002 at the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep National Convention. Spies was also a finalist in two Federal Duck Stamp Competitions and recently placed first place in the 2003 SD Duck Stamp Competition. His painting, "Last Glance - Dall Sheep," received the People's Choice Award and the Artist of the Year Award at the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep National Convention in 2004 and his original, "Turkey Ridge," was selected for the 2005/2006 Ducks Unlimited National Art Package. Additional accomplishments over the past year include having his artwork selected to be in the MGM movie "A Guy Thing", and having his artwork sold nationwide in Dillard's department stores with their Hemingway furniture collection. "Twentieth Century Fox" is using three paintings in their upcoming movie titled "Electra" starring Jennifer Garner. Spies was interviewed by People magazine, featured in US Art and Wildlife Art Magazine, as well as featured in "People to Watch in Year 2001 and Beyond" in the Sioux Falls, SD Argus Leader. Spies' other notable achievements include receiving first place in the "International Artists Management" art competition in St. Petersburg, FL, as well as being a finalist in the International Art Competition of N.Y. miniatures and the South Carolina Waterfowl stamp competition. He excels in photography as well, and has competed and attended Kodak/National Geographic Hot Shots in Washington, D.C. and National Geographic Magazine's Workshop and Competition in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He was recognized for top photograph for the latter and was published by National Geographic. Spies is a resident of Watertown, South Dakota.
Winning the Federal Duck Stamp Contest is one of the most coveted honors a wildlife artist can hope to achieve. Add to that the creation of the first-ever Fine Art Giclée Canvas of a Duck Stamp Print, and Joshua Spies has doubly made his mark in Duck Stamp History. Spies competed against 270 entrants in the 2008 contest that determines which image would adorn the 2009-2010 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp. The program has been in place since 1934, when it was determined the stamp itself would act as the federal license for hunting migratory waterfowl. Since then this license evolved into a fund that has generated over $700 million to purchase or lease over 5.2 million acres of waterfowl habitat in the United States.
This inaugural release of a canvas edition of the Duck Stamp Print adds yet another legacy to the auspicious program which has helped to popularize the collecting of prints in the United States.
From the cave drawings of early man to Native American petroglyphs to the celebrated paintings of Catlin, McCarthy and Bama, the buffalo has long represented the freedom and possibility of our beautiful country. After a close brush with extinction, these noble animals have made an astonishing comeback, and the majestic sight of a herd of buffalo can once again lift the spirits of a weary cross-country traveler. The excitement of the wilderness comes to life in Joshua Spies’ Prairie Thunder. An event of epic proportions, the bulk of this massive herd comes rolling across the plains like an afternoon thundercloud. Spies, a native of South Dakota, has traveled the world in search of animals to paint but it is here, in the great open sky of the West, that his love of wildlife and skill with the brush shines brightest.
"I like to paint for the story," says artist Joshua Spies. "With Raging Bulls, you can feel the power and the passion of these enormous animals. It´s an intense scene." The locked tusks and tree-trunk legs of the massive bull elephants have raised a cloud of dust that adds to the drama of the battle.
Joshua Spies graduated from South Dakota State University in 1996 with a degree in Fine Arts. His list of awards and recognitions is extensive, including the 2007 Dallas Safari Club Artist of the Year award and the appearance of his paintings in two major motion pictures. His travels take him across the globe in search of subjects great and small.
"The best thing about doing what I do," he says, "is raising awareness. I like to show people something they might not see otherwise, to get them thinking about the larger world. My hope is that when they see these magnificent animals, the variety of wildlife out there, that they´ll be more interested in preserving their habitats."
The zebra, like most members of the horse family, is a highly social animal. Mountain zebras and plains zebras form family groups that will remain together for a lifetime, grazing, migrating and stopping to drink together. Joshua Spies has captured a family of zebras in the magnificent light of an African sunset on the Waterline.
Although based in South Dakota, Joshua Spies has a world of wildlife experience under his belt. His frequent trips across North America and into Africa have supplied him with an entire animal kingdom’s worth of subjects. “On a recent safari to South Africa I took over 2,500 photographs!” says Spies. “Many times these photographs not only help with detail, light and color, but are the inspiration for a new work. I really look forward to doing something new and challenging in each new creation!”