Graduate Student Biennial 2019

The Clay Studio
137-139 North Second Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Currently on display from:

May 31, 2019-July 14, 2019


Timelapse of my installation at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, PA. USA

for The Graduate Student Biennial Exhibition 2019.

The Clay Studio | Graduate Student Biennial 2019

Ciro Di Ruocco




Medium & Materials:
Porcelain, hand blown glass, LED light

15" x 7" x 31"


I was deeply moved by “how understanding our past informs our present and, more importantly, our future.” As I researched Whitman’s work, I loved seeing how he celebrated everyone; even the “The opium-eater reclines with rigid head and just-open’d lips” from his poem “Song of Myself.” This poem is often used in the recovery community to teach addicts/alcoholics that they need to forgive and love themselves. I also identified with his ability to be of service to others in an advocacy capacity. “You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.” I reach global audiences through contemporary activist art that touches people’s emotions and gives a voice to those who are most vulnerable. I believe graduate studies are reserved for people who aspire to change the world, and this is what I am doing.


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Listener’s Choice Part B | Picks From The First 500 Episodes | Episode 500B


Paul Blais:

I went to the mic and asked for the listeners to send me their top picks from the first 500 episodes and what part of the episodes really made and impact. For some of the people who wrote in I was able to call them and have a short conversation, and for others I read their email. Either way, this episode is dear to my heart. I hope you enjoy it.

Ciro: I will reflect on this later… Right now I’m off to demo for my friends at The Mud Studio

The Mud Studio

961 US-2, Middlesex, VT 05602













The Potters Cast | Mentorship | Ciro Di Ruocco | Episode 490

It was a very special honor to be a guest on The Potters Cast with my mentor Paul Blais.. talking about mentorship.

Ciro Di Ruocco is an emerging visual artist/curator, splitting his time between studios in Nanaimo, BC, Canada and his hometown of Duxbury, Vermont. Ciro’s work in ceramics is complimented by an affinity for printmaking and surface/ texture design. Ciro combines a utilitarian sensibility with a contemporary street art aesthetic, fusing his own imagery to create works that are inspired by our daily lives. Ciro is currently an MFA candidate at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Print on Clay Workshop at Vancouver Island Pottery Supply


Please join us for a
Print on Clay workshop
with Ciro Di Ruocco ( @cirocapri84 )
at Vancouver Island Pottery Supply.
November 17th
From 11am-2pm
The cost of the workshop is $65.00.

You can register by emailing

call 250-248-2314


9:00 AM-4:00pm

Ciro will be demonstrating various printmaking techniques he employs to weave narrative and build composition in his work.

The format will be geared towards a hands on approach to learning.


#vipotterysupply #plainsmanclay #lagunaclay #graphicclay #workshop #imagetransfer #stencil #monoprint #ceramics #pottery #parksville #canadianceramics #bcpotters #vancouverisland #ilearnhere #countonconeart #coneartkilns

Please follow Vi Pottery supply on Instagram!



North By Northwest CBC Radio Interview

Ceramics artist Ciro Di Ruocco takes on the opioid crisis

with Matthew Parsons


I would like to extend a warm thank you to Sheryl McKay and

Associate Producer Mathew Parsons for having me on the show.


In Canada:

USA | International :

addiction advocacy art art & design artist blog British Columbia Canada CBC ceramic ceramics ciro DiRuocco creativity fear feelings handmade honesty Hope journey klout love manager marketing motivation mural music music festival Nanaimo Narcolepsy Opioid Crisis Potter Pottery Project Sleep ROTW2014 Sleep sleep in social media summer truth vancouver island vancouver Island Pottery supply Vancouver Island University Vermont visual art Visual Artist

Nanaimo-based ceramic artist uses pottery in fight against the opioid crisis!

‘Ceramics brought community into my life and I’m really grateful for that”

Ciro Di Ruocco, a ceramic artist and recovering addict based in Nanaimo, B.C., uses his work as a form of advocacy for the opioid crisis and other issues that impact his life like sleep disorders. (Ciro Di Ruocco/Facebook)

After a decade of battling addiction, artist Ciro Di Ruocco found community and peace at the pottery wheel.

Di Ruocco got serious about ceramic art when he was in recovery in Nanaimo, B.C., for oxycontin and fentanyl addiction.

“When the clay is spinning at the wheel I’m not in stuck my head, I’m just thinking about what’s in front of me,” he told North By Northwest producer Matthew Parsons.

“I felt the most present when I was at the pottery wheel, and I felt like I walked away — sometimes — with something to show for what I did.”

After his family and close friends hosted an intervention, Di Ruocco travelled across the continent, from Vermont to Vancouver Island, to seek treatment for his addiction.

When he got to Nanaimo, he found a drop-in pottery studio close by. He could once again try his hand at the artform he’d set aside in high school and it fit into his treatment schedule.

The seriousness of Di Ruocco’s addiction began after a soccer injury in college. He remembers the strange feeling of realizing his body was detoxing the painkillers he was taking.

“I remember waking up one day and being like, ‘Why do I keep getting the flu?’ Really I was detoxing from this medication and it feels like the flu,” he said.

“You’re not even wanting to get high in the end … It’s really hard to explain to someone, this fear of being sick that’s driving your addiction — that it’s not enjoyment, it’s torture.”

Di Ruocco’s work is his form of advocacy, and a way to express the powerlessness he felt when his friends were dying around him of overdoses.

The community he formed while living in Nanaimo helped him feel like a “functioning member of society,” he said, after years of isolating addiction.

“What I found through art was I had something interesting to talk about and I was able to reach an older group of people that I now have this common language with,” he said. “Ceramics brought community into my life and I’m really grateful for that.”




Instagram has been an amazing platform for me to build community around the work I create.

My niche is print on clay or printmaking fused with clay.


Think of Instagram like this massive filing cabinet where over 200 million daily users are all uploading content at the same time..  It can get very messy and people get lost in the shuffle. 

#Hashtags help artists to be found/seen and not lost in the shuffle!!

Utilizing hashtags allows your work to be seen in the chaos. It’s important to understand that the Instagram algorithm controls what or who you see.

By using a hashtag (that you research) you have a fighting chance to be seen!

To grow your audience organically through the quality of your work and creating high quality content!

True story:

It feels uncomfortable still for me today to engage in self-promotion by sharing my own work.. but that’s my job. YOU HAVE TO BE SEEN TO SELL WORK. TO STAY AN ARTIST I HAVE TO SELL WORK.

Instagram mentions

ConeART Kilns:

April 21st 2018


Paul Blais of the Potterscast Podcast:

April 9th 2018

September 11th 2017

April 11th 2017

Laguna Clay:

April 6th 2018

December 5th 2017


. Graphic Clay Process: Advanced printmaking. . Collaboration with @kbrpottery . . . Visual art for me is about having a voice. . I use it as a platform to address real life concerns, and experiences. To shed light on addiction, on sleep, to commemorate a friend’s life and passing. It manifests in ceramics and printmaking , but the documentation of the work will reach more people than the vessels I make ever would. . The picture or video of the piece or process is valued more today than the art I create, or techniques employed. I have fought against this by fostering community through ceramics and local engagement. . Ultimately, ceramics should be experienced, touched , Visceral, and felt. They are so much more than a picture on a computer screen. . Art has the power to create conversation, provoke emotional responses, and bringing people together. . By challenging social stigmas and expectations I aim to create works that empower expressions of truth. Art helps me to find meaning in the obstacles I face. . It takes courage to walk towards an uncertain future, but for me that feels like freedom. . Tags/ #ceramics #GraphicClay #Screenprint #Underglaze #NewsprintTransfer #HowItsDone #WIP #Printmaking #potteryispolitical #potsarepolitical #ViuCeramics #ViuVisualArts #iLearnHere #canadianceramics #M370 #plainsmanclay #vipotterysupply #stoneware #Pottery #viuniversity #Overdose #Activism #ChaseTheDragon #theytalkwedie #opioidepidemic #Nanaimo #BC #Canada #OpiumWars … Currently on display @theviewgallery

A post shared by Ciro Di Ruocco (@cirocapri84) on


April 9th, 2018


Let’s go back to the beginning…

I came to Vancouver Island to change my life.. After many years of trying to pull myself together, my family intervened and persuaded me to get help. On the day of my intervention, I remember tuning out my family’s letters to me. What I did hear that day was the voice of my best friend. He died in my arms from an overdose and his mom was at my intervention. She spoke as if she was him and I listened. That was April 8th, 2011.

I was in treatment for 9 months that year. I completed treatment and took the suggestion of staying on Vancouver Island. My mom said I had two choices move back home  to Vermont and die or stay on the Island and make it work. I slowly started to rediscover a healthy sense of self. I loved playing soccer with my new friends and loved the excitement of scoring goals. I started to attend the pottery drop-in at the city’s Bowen recreational facility. I loved being present with the clay. It was always something I loved and wished I could be better at. I was drawn to the messiness and to the mindfulness it took to make something.

One of my first pots

April 9th, 2012.
At 12 months clean/sober its a tradition to tell your story. To carry a message of hope and allow others to hear what it was like for you. I remember being incredibly anxious and then an unnerving sense of calmness. I told my story. Afterwards, Kendall came up to me and thanked me for sharing. She related to my story as it was similar to her brother’s story. I remember feeling flattered and shy.
I thanked her for sharing with me how it impacted her.

A few days later Kendall posted this song on YouTube and she dedicated it to me!

“Make it stop” by Kendall Patrick



Printmaking helped me immensely in how I troubleshoot problems across all mediums. It changed the way I approached and conceptualized a plan.

It’s a nostalgic high process art form that reminds me of working long hours in the kitchen with my father as a kid. By accessing that childhood memory, I was able to overcome feeling overwhelmed.

Learning a new process can be intimidating or scary. One of the skills I learned while studying visual arts was how to find comfort in the uncomfortable. Copper plate etching or intaglio, was a new frontier for me. Reflecting back, it’s through that process that I found confidence and love for my style of drawing.

I’m very thankful that my Professor Gregory Ball saw potential in my work and encouraged my experimental approach to print media. The print room was really the place where I felt most comfortable on campus.