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Peter Olson

Biography to Display: 


BFA University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Peter Olson is a professional photographer known for the use of his sepia printed photographic transfers in fractal-like patterning on his wheel thrown ceramic vessel forms.  Olson’s work is frequently created in a series of varying sized covered jar forms with covers forming elaborate finials. 

Common themes on Olson's work are scenes of real people in cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. At times Olsen uses these images for social comment.  He also uses images referencing Renaissance and classical themes.

Olson intuitively designs his patterns by working from the center and outward in open vessel forms and around his more common covered jar forms. A finished ceramic work can contain anywhere from 40-900+ individual photographic images which can vary greatly in size from under an inch to several inches high. Each image may be repeated 100s of times on one object. This creates a rich  narrative surface. The actual image ‘transfers’ are placed on the ceramic surface and burn off during firing. This leaves only the sepia iron oxide images on the finished work.

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, Olson Collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Crocker Museum, Sacramento, California

Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts



Typical Marks

‘Peter Olson’ is always in Helvetica type and always with a photo (image transfer)

New York Series #2
Date: 2017
Form: Sculpture
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Transfer or Decal Decorated
Photo: Artist
Photo: Artist
Date: ca 2017
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Transfer or Decal Decorated

Citation: Herrera, Carolyn. "The Marks Project." Last modified April 12, 2023.