artnet Asks: Ceramicist Frank Bauer

Exquisite hand made ceramics are his speciality.

Frank Bauer Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Frank Bauer
Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

Originally working in advertising, Frank Bauer decided to leave that world to explore his interests in the visual arts. Bauer is inspired by traditions of decorative arts and European folk art. His work, ranging from vibrant bowls to public wall mosaics, is ornate. It begins with the glazing and firing of hundreds of individual pieces of clay. After the firing. he fits the pieces together. Once assembled, their appearance often resembles that of European textiles, or water, or even the backs of a school of fish. Bauer’s work has been exhibited throughout California, including at the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I was the kid in grade school that painted the backdrops for the school plays. So I just followed the path laid out for me. I can’t say that it was a certain age, or there was a certain event in my life when I knew I wanted to be an artist.

Frank Bauer, Ceramic Chair (2014) Photo: courtesy of

Frank Bauer, Ceramic Chair (2014)
Photo: courtesy of

What inspires you?
I take some of my inspirations from fabric design. My father was a tailor and my mother is still working as a tailor, I grew up in their tailor shop. My parents are also immigrants, and as a child we would visit relatives in Europe, where I became enchanted by the local fork art, which takes its inspiration from nature. I would collect these pieces, and bring them back with me.

Frank Bauer, Ceramic Planter  Hand made ceramic tile Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Frank Bauer, Ceramic Planter
Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

If you could own any work of modern or contemporary art, what would it be?
I admire Jackson Pollock’s paintings, I never get tired of looking at his work. The power and colors he used are some of the reasons I admire him.

Frank Bauer, Aquariam located at Oxnard, CA at the The Collection at River Park (2012) Hand made cermic tile Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Frank Bauer, aquarium installation located at Oxnard, California, at the Collection at River Park (2012)
Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on a large public project for the Trust for Public Land that will be installed at a new park in Lawndale, California.

When not making art, what do you like to do? 
I love to travel. I feel as an artist it’s important to expose yourself to different cultures. It helps one to look at things from a different perspective. I also love to paint, which of course is still making art.

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