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Nick Pedersen's FULL Ultima Series has Arrived!

Posted on July 16 2016

Nick Pedersen's full Ultima Series is now available on Paradigm's website.  CLICK HERE to view/purchase pieces from the series.


Ultima (thule): the farthest point; the limit of any journey. the highest degree attainable.

My artwork is deeply rooted in environmentalism, showing my concern for the future by depicting the ways in which mankind’s creations have an impact on the planet. Primarily it is about the modern conflict between the manmade world and the natural world, and between contemporary and indigenous cultures. I portray this as an epic struggle and in my work these forces clash in theatrical, post-apocalyptic battlegrounds. This body of work envisions a hypothetical future called Ultima, exploring the idea that the world as we know it might not last forever, and creates a setting for what could possibly come next.

Conceptually, I am fascinated by the idea of nature reclaiming the Earth through the biological forces of deep time. My main inspiration for this direction came from seeing the incredible jungle-covered ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Being surrounded by these ancient structures of a lost kingdom that have been completely reclaimed by the natural environment was a very powerful experience. After researching literature such as The World Without Us by Alan Weisman and Collapse by Jared Diamond, I grew specifically interested in what our own cities might look like after being abandoned for thousands of years. Through my images I was inspired to create striking juxtapositions between the ruins of modern civilization and a futuristic ecological utopia. The narrative progression of the work shows a rediscovery of these remnants belonging to the conceivably forgotten past.

The title Ultima is defined as “the highest degree attainable” or “the farthest point; the limit of any journey”, and was used to refer to places that were, “beyond the borders of the known world” (1). Each of the three series is distinct in showing different regions of this unknown landscape, but in the end they all come together with each storyline revealing its deeper layers. The first part is about discovery, finding these strange relics of modern civilization and seeing them through new eyes. The second part is about interpretation, mythologizing the old world, and creating sacred places to perform spiritual rituals. Finally, the third part is about adaptation, learning how to inhabit this unfamiliar environment, and to build upon it anew.

With this work I was greatly influenced by stories about undiscovered tribes and vanished cultures like the ‘Anasazi’, which is a Navajo word for their unknown predecessors meaning ‘the Ancient Ones’. The Pueblo people discovered the ruins of these ancient cities, building on them and making them their own, and created an entire mythology about their ancestors. In Book of the Hopi by Frank Waters, tribal elders reveal cultural myths about these cycles of world creation, destruction, and reemergence 2 through successive epochs. I was inspired by their continuous “spiritual migrations to the ends of the earth and back” (2) showing that every ending can also be a new beginning.

There are many historical examples of cultures reaching their peak, overusing their natural resources, collapsing and leaving behind mysterious ruins such as the Mayan temples of Central America and Easter Island’s stone statues. I wanted to take this concept and visualize it in a contemporary sense because we are facing many of the same problems as these ancient civilizations, but on a much larger scale. This body of work examines modern humanity’s role during our time on this planet and questions the legacy that we will be handing down to the next generations. Humans now have the unprecedented potential to affect the Earth to a global degree, and my images depict an extreme example of what we might be capable. With this project, my main goal is to show a glimpse into this hypothetical world and give viewers a space in which to contemplate the future of our planet.

1. "ultima thule." Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 08 Feb. 2015.
2. Waters, Frank Book of the Hopi: The First Revelation of the Hopi’s Historical and Religious Worldview of Life New York, Penguin Books: 1963

Weisman, Alan The World Without Us New York, St. Martin’s Press: 2007
Diamond, Jared Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed New York, Penguin Books: 2005
McKibben, Bill The End of Nature New York, Random House, 1989
McKibben, Bill Eaarth: Making Like on a Tough New Planet New York, St. Martin’s Press: 2010
Kolbert, Elizabeth Field Notes From a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change New York, Bloomsbury: 2006
Kolbert, Elizabeth The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History New York, Picador, 2014
Smith, Lawrence C. The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future New York, Plume: 2011
Nield, Ted Supercontinent: Ten Billion Years in the Life of Our Planet Cambridge, Harvard University Press: 2007
Ward, Peter D. The Flooded Earth: Our Future in a World Without Ice Caps New York, Perseus Books Group: 2010
Lovelock, James The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning New York, Perseus Books Group: 2009
Thacker, Eugene In the Dust of this Planet Winchester, Zero Books: 2010
Waters, Frank Book of the Hopi New York, Penguin Books: 1963
Castaneda, Carlos The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge Oakland, University of California Press: 1968
Harner, Michael The Way of the Shaman New York, Harper Collins: 1980
Reel, Monte The Last of the Tribe New York, Scribner: 2010


N I C K   P E D E R S E N

Nick Pedersen is a photographer and digital artist currently based in the Philadelphia area. He holds a BFA degree in Photography, as well as an MFA degree in Digital Arts from Pratt Institute in New York. He has shown artwork in galleries across the country and internationally, recently including the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Paradigm Gallery, and Art Basel Miami. He has published two artist books featuring his long-term personal projects Sumeru and Ultima. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as After Capture, Beautiful Decay, Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose, and Empty Kingdom. In the past few years he also has completed Artist Residencies at the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada and the Gullkistan Residency in Iceland.

2011 Pratt Institute, MFA in Digital Arts - Summa Cum Laude
2005 University of Utah, BFA in Photography - Magna Cum Laude

2013 Digital Arts California - Stellar Art Award
2011 Adobe Design Achievement Awards - Photography Finalist
2011 Empty Kingdom - Top 100 Artists Award
2011 Pratt Institute - Outstanding Achievement in Academic Excellence
2009 Calrow Memorial Scholarship 2008 Pratt Institute Merit Scholarship

2013 Gullkistan Center for Creativity - Laugarvatn, Iceland
2012 The Banff Center - Alberta, Canada
2007 Santa Fe Photography Workshops - Santa Fe, NM

2015 “Ultima”, Copper Palate Press - Salt Lake City, UT
2013 “Sumeru”, The University of Pennsylvania - Philadelphia, PA
2012 “Pangea Ultima”, The Slingluff Gallery - Philadelphia, PA
2011 “Sumeru - MFA Thesis”, Pratt Institute - Brooklyn, NY
2011 “Recent Works”, Copper Palate Press - Salt Lake City, UT
2010 “The Reclamation”, The Slingluff Gallery - Philadelphia, PA GROUP

2016 “Growth/Decay”, Antler Gallery - Portland, OR
2016 “Growth/Decay”, Paradigm Gallery - Philadelphia, PA
2016 “Year Two”, Sweet As Studios - Pittsburgh, PA
2016 “Photobook 2015 Exhibition”, Griffin Museum of Photography - Winchester, MA
2015 “Photobook 2015 Exhibition”, Davis Orton Gallery - Hudson, NY
2015 “Art All Day”, Artworks Trenton - Trenton, NJ
2014 “Works by Nick Pedersen”, Paradigm Gallery - Philadelphia, PA
2014 “Pratt Digital Arts” Art Basel Miami Beach - Miami, FL
2014 “Virtual Vision”, Auguste Clown Gallery - Melbourne, Australia
2014 “Art All Night”, Artworks Trenton - Trenton, NJ
2013 “Story of the Creative”, Angel Orensanz Foundation - New York City, NY
2013 “Superstition”, San Francisco Center for the Book - San Francisco, CA
2013 “Graphique Noir”, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, CA
2012 “Electron Salon”, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art - Los Angeles, CA
2012 “Daylight Savings”, The Banff Centre - Alberta, Canada
2011 “Object/Self/Subject”, Museum of Russian Art - Jersey City, NJ
2011 “Devoción por un ídolo”, Bastardo Gallery – Bogotá, Colombia
2011 “Pratt Show”, The Manhattan Center - New York City, NY
2011 “Digital Print Exhibition”, D&D Building - New York City, NY
2010 “Art and Sustainability”, Schafler Gallery - Brooklyn, NY
2009 “Politics and Media”, Schafler Gallery - Brooklyn, NY

2015 Indie Photobook Library - Washington, DC
2011 Pratt Institute, Department of Design - New York City, NY
2011 Pratt Institute, Digital Arts Department - Brooklyn, NY

2016 “Floating World”, Digiphoto Pro Magazine
2015 “Ultima”, Artist Book Edition 2015 “Sumeru”, Lightbox Magazine
2014 “Migration”, Saguru Magazine 2013 “The Power Issue”, Apiary Magazine
2012 “Post-Apocalyptic Battlegrounds”, Hi-Fructose Magazine
2012 “The Work of Nick Pedersen”, Juxtapoz Magazine
2012 “Ultima”, Obvious Magazine
2011 “Future Perfect”, Beautiful Decay Magazine
2011 “The Truth Seeker”, After Capture Magazine
2011 “Sumeru”, Artist Book Edition

2016 “Ariculate”, Interview with Jim Cotter - WHYY
2015 “Ultima Series”, Visual News Interview 2015 “Sumeru Process”, Adobe Inspiration Feature
2014 “Questioning Creativity”, 144D Interview
2012 “Post-Apocalyptic Worlds”, Visual News Feature
2012 “Sumeru Series”, Sweeping Zen Interview
2012 “Climbing Mt Sumeru”, Original Mind - Book Review
2012 “Sumeru Series”, Empty Kingdom Interview
2011 “Path to Enlightenment”, My Modern Metropolis Interview
2011 “Zen Master”, Empty Kingdom Feature

2013 Gulkistan Center for Creativity, Art Presentation and Lecture - Artist in Residence
2012 The Banff Centre, Art Presentation and Lecture - Artist in Residence
2011 NYU Polytechnic Institute, Guest Artist Lecture - Digital Photography class
2011 Pratt Institute, Guest Artist Lecture - Alternative Substrates class
2010 Pratt Institute, Guest Artist Lecture and Demo - Digital Imaging / Traditional Printmaking class
2009 Pratt Institute, Guest Artist Lecture and Critique - Digital Imaging / Traditional Printmaking class
2007 University of Utah, Guest Artist Lecture - Advanced Photography class

CLICK HERE to view/purchase artwork by Nick Pedersen.