Jason Piccoli

Artist Statement

In addition to fascination with ancient ceramics and the natural world, my research strongly gravitates towards the architecture and environments that have emerged from our worldly cultures, particularly those from the distant past. I observe objects, landscapes and buildings in the physical sense, but also observe them through literature and through digitized virtual environments. This inspiration informs my work through various combinations of carving, sculpting, piercing, relief and graphic depictions using underglaze layering. After some blending bending or breaking of ideas, I begin with detailed drawings that evolve into 3-dimensional work. The vessel as I think of it, is a strong metaphor for the ritual preservation or containment of something precious.

It is in the making of these works that I find I can have a relationship with something heart driven and authentic. While I am captivated and compelled by the rich traditions in pottery serving utility and function, I tend to classify a large portion of my work as sculptural.

As a devoted reader, I am consistently in awe of the power of language to cultivate imagination. Though language has its limits when imparting information or experience, it has had an enormous impact on the work I make, because it is a way to explore alternative realities otherwise not sensually observable. It is often from fantasized worlds I imagine my work being from, or a part of. I believe that imagined realities can be as profound as the experience so called outward reality offers, or at least strong enough to impart an equal measure of inspiration. I have a great fascination with uncovering the origin of an idea and seeing how it evolves. Careful attention to process and craftsmanship is my way of showing reverence for the material.

The transparent glazes I use highlight shallow relief decoration and sculpted elements. My surfaces often contain painted scenes from natural or constructed environments that have lulled me into some contemplative mood. With my work, I like to gently suggest introspection or contemplation while at ease. I recognize that physical objects and images in space can alter mood, nudge at emotion and generate a felt presence. I like to draw the viewer away from existential distress and invite them to explore an experience of well-being.


Jason Piccoli is a native of Colorado and grew up moving between Littleton, Denver and Arvada. He spent his youth devouring sources of science fiction, fantasy, eastern thought, and obsessing about ancient cultures. He practiced painting, drawing, and lived with guitars. He studied Fine Art at Arapahoe Community College earning his Associate’s in Art, where he found his passion for clay and a fondness for the community that surrounded it. He earned his BFA in Ceramics at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and later his MFA in Ceramics at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. In graduate school he wanted to explore the idea of bridging the functional, the sculptural, and the painted image. Water etching, underglaze painting, hand-built attachments and stacking wheel thrown porcelain forms are currently explored in his work. Currently, he teaches ceramics at Anne Arundel Community College and he is a long-term artist in residence and instructor at Baltimore Clayworks, in Maryland.