Pearson earned his MFA from Yale University. He served 11 years in the Army during WWII, stationed in Japan and assigned to interpreting topographical maps. Returning to the US in 1953, he studied under Reginald Marsh at the Art Students League in New York. There, he combined his interest in optical effects with his knowledge of topographical maps. He was included The Responsive Eye exhibition in 1965 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His artworks are included in the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, both in New York.