Peter Ortel, New York City born and raised, retired from the New York Fire Department after serving for 21 years as a Firefighter and started carving in 1990.
He was elected into the Caricature Carvers of America in 1992 and served as president of the CCA from 1996 to 1998. He is the co founder of the Mid Hudson Woodcarvers Guild and a member of several woodcarving groups including the National Woodcarvers Association and the Affiliated Woodcarvers.
He always had a fondness for cartooning and love for wood but when he combined the two by carving caricatures, it became his passion. The excitement and diversity of the environment he knows are his inspiration and his imagination and humor are reflected in his carvings of the everyday people we see around us, if we really look.
Peter's work has been featured on local Television, several newspapers and national and international magazines. He has won many awards and has taught carving classes around the country. His biggest success to date was to win the Best of Show award and People's Choice award at the 2000 International Woodcarvers Congress in Davenport, Iowa for his carving he calls 'Love”. Because a caricature has never done this before, it is considered a major breakthrough for caricature carving.
He is presently teaching seminars and speaking at woodcarving clubs, wood carving shows and events throughout the country and is available for commissions. His enthusiasm, animation and shared knowledge inspire his students to discover their creativity and individuality in a fun atmosphere. As an instructor, he stresses originality and he helps to cultivate the artist within each of us by encouraging students to stretch their ability and imagination. He teaches his students the theories behind the woodcuts so students not only learn how to carve in the classroom but they also can take and use that knowledge on their own. more