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Meet the artist behind the incredible ceramic hats lighting up the internet

‘I’m an old boring man, but the pictures give a different impression.’

“I make plenty of sculptures and it began when I was taking one of them from the oven and I put it on my head.”

This was the moment Norwegian artist Per Lysgaard realised ceramic, the medium of his craft, could be used to create more than inanimate sculpture – something you could wear.

Mushroom Hat (Per Lysgaard/Tom Gustavsen)
Svar Tenkehatt (Per Lysgaard/Tom Gustavsen)

The 60-year-old’s ceramic hats have gone viral online after his son Ola, 26 and also an artist, posted them to Reddit – where users have marvelled over their delightful intricacy and diverse subject matter.

“Some of the inspiration is hard to describe but one is easy to describe,” Per told the Press Associaiton.

“The Virgin Mary (pictured below) is inspired by a halo from old pictures of the Virgin Mary and saints.”

Virgin Mary (Per Lysgaard/Tom Gustavsen)

“The disc behind them that is like light, like a circle behind your head instead of a ring above,” said Per.

“The inspiration varies very broadly and often things begin as one thing but turn into something else as I make them.”

Major Tom (Per Lysgaard/Tom Gustavsen)
Hjelm (Per Lysgaard/Tom Gustavsen)

Though his technique varies, Per usually starts making the hats with a Styrofoam core before adding porcelain plates of varying sizes and plugging the gaps with filler.

He makes the hats entirely by himself, though is helped by a photographer and make-up artist for the images seen here, taking about a month to make each – though he says timings are “hard to say” as he works on several projects at once in his workshop, hats and otherwise.

On Reddit Per’s hats have received upvotes in the hundreds of thousands, an experience he said is “really fun”.

Blonde Hatt (Per Lysgaard/Tom Gustavsen)

“I’m a person who really likes attention,” he said. “So we when it reached over 100,000 people I liked it very much.

“The most satisfying response has been the appreciation of the artwork and craftsmanship.

“The funny part is people saying to my son they ‘want to hang out with your dad’ – that’s worth a laugh because I’m not a funny person to hang out with.

“I think they would think I’m very boring. I’m an old boring man, but the pictures give a different impression.”

The Fool (Per Lysgaard/Tom Gustavsen)
Penis (Per Lysgaard/Tom Gustavsen)

“It’s hard to say why they enjoy them but I think they recognise quality when they see it,” said Per. “They appreciate the original and fine art and they can also put their own story into it.

“They’re made for the audience’s use too, in my gallery you can try the hats on and take a photo with them on.

“My plan is to try to get them into some big international competitions and galleries. It’s nice when one thing leads to another, and that’s what I hope for.”

Hjerne (Per Lysgaard/Tom Gustavsen)

If you would like to keep up to date with Per’s marvellous creations, check out his website.

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