Christopher David White is a sculptor, but he’s also an illusionist of sorts. Take a look at his amazing creations to see what we mean. Then take a closer look. Because what looks like petrified wood is actually meticulously-rendered ceramic.

Born in Bedford, Indiana, the Virginia-based American artist makes his predominantly clay sculptures by hand. With the theme of decay running throughout his work, White creates various pieces that resemble deteriorating pieces of wood, rusted metal, and other objects in the process of decomposition in order to explore the relationship between humans and nature.

“Change is a constant reminder that permanence is the ultimate illusion,” writes the artist on his website. “It is through the creation of hyper-realistic sculpture that I explore the relationship between nature, man, and the phenomenon of impermanence.”

White has a solo exhibition called ‘Human: Nature” opening on September 1st at Abmeyer + Wood Fine Art in Seattle, Washington. His work also features in a group exhibition in Gimhae, South Korea called ‘Hyperrealism’ at Clayarch Gimhae Museum, which is open until September 25th.

More info: Christopher David White (h/t: mymodernmet)

“I am drawn to clay because of its innate ability to mimic a myriad of textures,” Christopher told Bored Panda

“It is a soft and malleable material that can be fired and made hard as rock once I am finished with modeling”

“But at the same time, it is an incredibly fragile material”

“To create the wood texture, there is a layering and repetition of mark that I find deeply satisfying”

“I use x-acto knives, wire brushes that I design specifically for a certain texture”

“I’m interested in the fragility of life, both within ourselves and in nature”

“I find clay is a poetic expression of that fragility”

“The piece that took the most time was ‘Within Arm’s Reach’, the piece with the arm reaching out of a painted sky”

I had to not only model the arm with the wood texture, but I wanted to add a mountain range with mini trees on the top to skew the perception of scale”

“The trees were individually placed with tweezers. In addition, I painted the 2D sky behind it”

All image credits: Martha Finkelstein