Eric Serritella

Eric Serritella, now a world-recognized trompe l'oeil ceramist, specializing in hand-carved trompe l’oeil vessels transformed into birch and weathered logs.

Serritella’s one-of-a-kind tromp l’oeil ceramic sculptures have been awarded and exhibited in galleries and museums from coast to coast and in Asia. His work is included in permanent museum collections, including Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum and The Everson Museum of Art’s world class ceramics collection in Syracuse, NY. Many other esteemed collections contain his work, including the Kamm Teapot Foundation – the world’s largest private teapot collection.

Serritella has contributed to nearly 70 exhibitions and his work has appeared on the covers of AmericanStyle and Pottery Making Illustrated, and in the pages of Ceramics Monthly, NICHE, Clay Times, The Crafts, Report, Modern Magazine, and Ceramic Art (Taiwan), as well as in several books and calendars on ceramic art. He has participated in SOFA Chicago and Santé Fe, Art Design/Miami, and in The Smithsonian Craft Show. He has given workshops and presentations in the USA, Canada and Taiwan.

His one-of-a-kind tromp l’oeil ceramic sculptures have been awarded and exhibited in galleries and museums from coast to coast and in Asia. His work is included in nearly one dozen permanent public collections, including the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh and the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY. Many other esteemed collections contain his work, including the Kamm Teapot Foundation – the world’s largest private teapot collection.

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Eric Serritella, now a world-recognized trompe l'oeil ceramist, was born in 1963, in rural Ellenville, New York. Both of his parents were educators. Passing most of his youth in Mahopac, New York, he and his sister enjoyed playing in the woods, among the stone walls, and on the edges of small ponds. The loss of his father in1973 was a watershed moment for Eric, although he may not have realized until decades later. He often took solace in nature. He continued with school and a relatively trouble-free middle class, suburban life. In college, he studied liberal arts and particularly enjoyed courses in Western Art History, never expecting them to play a part in his professional future. In 1985, having earned a BA in Speech Communication from Ithaca College, Eric buckled down to the competitive life of a marketing executive. He always kept his connection to nature throughout school and career, spending long hours in the woods or kayaking on the water during his free time.

In the early 2000s, Serritella married Julie Nathanielsz, a life coach and now a home-schooler of the couple’s two daughters. In 2012, the family moved from the Ithaca, New York, area to the Chapel Hill area of North Carolina. Serritella continues to work from a home studio.

In his recent artist’s statement he tells us, “I strive to show how nature maintains its splendors through tenacity and triumph of existence despite the disregard we humans show her. I appreciate how ceramic mirrors the environment's fragility and durability-easily damaged if disrespected and yet invincible in its inherent beauty. Each piece I create is a relationship-the story of shared discovery. The clay and I make the journey together through the tension of disagreement and the harmony of accord. The final form-the result of our conversation-has a life all its own. I strive for the life in each creation to foster awareness and influence viewer behavior toward the environment. My hope is that at least some will acquire a new appreciation and way of seeing and thus choose to walk with softer steps.”

Concerning his larger work, he adds, “The sculpture Fallen Angel was created to honor my angel of the forest, the birch. The fallen beauty embodies the splendor of imperfection and impermanence so gracefully expressed by the Japanese concept of wabi sabi and by nature herself. It represents nature's tenacity and triumph of existence despite the disregard we humans have shown her. Furthermore and for many reasons the birch tree reminds me of my father, Angelo. It is a tree that has always been a part of me and my love for him.

A related sculpture, Stranded Cetacean (Birched Whale), links the disrespect of land and plants to the earth's waters and their inhabitants. It uses the physiology of the once nearly extinct blue whale, the largest animal that ever lived, to represent the magnificence and susceptibility of all that breaths and swims.

The Book of Trees is an exploration that honors the role that trees play in our everyday life. Wood is integral to the printing and binding of books. The solid cover, depicted as a weathered natural wood signifies how tree products have confidently held the printed word of humans for centuries. The aged cover symbolizes how the printing medium is aging slowly toward a possible death and replacement by digital mediums. The interior of the cover is filled with pages made from the bark of the most paper-like of trees, the birch.

In another case, Paper Birch Basket honors native peoples’ tradition of using what nature provided for functional applications in their daily lives. It emphasizes the malleability of birch bark, and like clay, its utilitarian value.

Serritella has contributed to nearly 70 exhibitions and his work has appeared on the covers of AmericanStyle and Pottery Making Illustrated, and in the pages of Ceramics Monthly, NICHE, Clay Times, The Crafts, Report, and Ceramic Art (Taiwan), as well as in several books and calendars on ceramic art. He has participated in SOFA Chicago and Santé Fe, Art Design/Miami, and in The Smithsonian Craft Show. He has given workshops and presentations in the USA, Canada and Taiwan.

His one-of-a-kind tromp l’oeil ceramic sculptures have been awarded and exhibited in galleries and museums from coast to coast and in Asia. His work is included in nearly one dozen permanent public collections, including the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh and the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY. Many other esteemed collections contain his work, including the Kamm Teapot Foundation – the world’s largest private teapot collection.