Thomas Pfannerstill has worked as a full-time studio artist since 1986, following his education at Western Kentucky University (BFA 1975). He currently resides and works in Louisville Kentucky, where he is focused on the intensive carving and painting that produce his renowned, trompe l’oeil sculptures of everyday objects. His process calls for extremely close observation, both on the part of the artist and that of the viewer. These copies of humble objects require a recreation of not only the form and graphic packaging, but also of the marks, rips, dirt, and imperfections accrued by the original object over time. He says, “Only when I put [the original and the copy] side by side and begin having difficulty discerning which is which do I feel satisfied the piece is finished.” The work thoughtfully probes consumerism within a society that demands mass production and uniformity, while at the same time, on some level, craving and watching for the distinction–the particular story–that makes something unique.




Low-relief sculptor, Tom Pfannerstill currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky. His work in the series “From the Street” is carefully crafted, carved, and painted trompe l’oeil (fool the eye) depictions of trash. Genre-defining Neo-Pop, Pfannerstill gives a nod to Pop art of the 1970s, digested and reinterpreted into the detritus of commercialism. Carved from basswood, each piece tells the journey of a forgotten object, carrying with it an implied narrative of the time. These hyper-realistic works are each labeled on the backside, recording where and when they were discovered. Calling his finds a ‘gift from the street’, they act as a unique diary of the artist and commentary on consumerist society.


Note: all sculptures are life size unless otherwise noted.