A graduate of the California College Of Arts and Crafts, sculptor Derek Weisberg explores emotions through self-portraiture. Pain, melancholy, and other dark feelings are often present in his figures. Yes, it can be heavy. However, Weisberg's work encourages conversation rather than repulsion, welcoming the viewer into his unique world with a mixture of wit and "how'd he do that" technique.

In his latest series, Weisberg moves away from self-portrait to present a series of deceased rappers. Notable figures—Biggie, Guru, Pac, and ODB—are presented alongside cult heros—Big L and Eyedea—with Egyptian funerary urns employed as common form. While the collected works are a departure from Weisberg's central oeuvre, his interest in death, ritual, and memory remains intact and connects the fallen rappers with his larger body of work.

Complex visited Weisberg at his West Village, Manhattan studio to discuss his rapper portraits and the trajectory of his career in ceramics.

Weisberg is currently in in Miami on a Fountainhead residency.