CAC Artist-In-Resident: Mike Cerv


Clay Art Center Artist-in-Resident Mike Cerv is one of the artists in our I-70 Artist-In-Residence Duo Exhibition opening on June 2nd. He will be exhibiting his work alongside CAC’s Artist-in-Resident Zoey B Scheler

Cerv first started working with clay during his freshman year of high school, but didn’t take to it right away. He had always loved making art and he took as many classes as he could, however once he had exhausted all the other available art classes at his high school, he decided to give ceramics another try. “I took Ceramics 2 and fell in love. Finally, throwing on the wheel clicked, and the endless mystery and magic of ceramic chemistry played on my imagination,” states Cerv. “Honestly, it was probably the glaze formulation and surprise of opening the kiln to find my many failures and often few successful glazes that enticed me so much and still keeps me interested today.”

Following high school, Cerv went on to attend Kansas City Art Institute in Kansas City, MO, where he received his BFA with an emphasis in ceramics in 2017. After his studies in Kansas City, he became an artist-in-resident here at CAC, where he currently works as both a maker and teacher. Cerv will be attending Louisiana State University in the fall in pursuit of an MFA with an emphasis in ceramics.

I-70 is Cerv’s self-described first big show, which he’s excited for. “I'm also very excited that Zoey's work and mine are very different, and I like the contrast of wildly different interpretations of the same material,” states Cerv. 

 “I would describe my work as architectural with a focus on visual design rather than functional design. I like to make pots that are easily recognizable as something, but are different and try to take a new look at a classic object by keeping the implied function but not necessarily the actual function,” states Cerv when asked to describe his current body of work. His work is heavily influenced by architecture and design, and artists Bryan Hopkins, Bryan Czibesz, Brenda Quinn, and Irina Razumovskaya.

Cerv thinks of his work as an expression of what he enjoys in clay, craft, and making. The use of colored porcelain to look like other types of clay, such as terracotta for the red, is meant to express his love of clay. His use of thick slip to form "weeping seams" at join lines is meant to expose the handmade aspect of his work, showing that these aren't pots bought from Target, but rather one-of-a-kind objects. The textures in his work are meant to express the other materials such as wood, metal, and concrete that Cerv enjoys working with outside of clay. 

Cerv believes that his residency at CAC has prepared him professionally and helped him grow as an artist. “CAC made me feel very welcomed and a part of something bigger. There are people here who I feel I really fit with both artistically and personality wise,” he states. “CAC is a place of learning, growth, and love and even though I'm not a New Yorker, I'm definitely a CACer.”