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Meet Francis River

Today we’d like to introduce you to Francis River.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up innately curious, spending most days building things from materials I would find around the farm or nearby abandoned lots. Whether mud monsters or haystack forts, I was always getting dirty creating objects. I eventually studied pollination ecology in college with the hopes of starting my own farm. That all changed when I joined a recreational softball league in Milwaukee and met Ty, a ceramic professor at the local University, who got me interested in ceramics and gave me access to the university’s ceramic studio. Eventually, my ceramic career leads me to Los Angeles, where I now farm during the day and focus on ceramics at night.

Please tell us about your art.
Ceramics took a hold of me partly because of its playfulness and freedom of form, but also because I respond really well to touch communication. There’s a freedom to it, the ability to change ideas and create new shapes with intuition, while still acknowledging the guidelines you have to work within.

My work reflects my experiences – from farming and the colorful palettes and shapes of plants, to the colors and texture of my community. Exploring colors and their relationship to each other makes me feel good, and the emotions that come from this kind of creation makes people (and myself) feel joyful. I want my work to be bright, lively and radiate joy not only in the ceramic piece itself but also through the act of making. I gradually developed my current style by keeping a richness to each piece and using color to create a feeling for the viewer and participant.

What do you think about conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
I think it’s a great time to be an artist. One of the biggest advantages now is social media. Personally, I’m terrible with Social media, but it has really opened the door for artists, allowing them to share work, network, and collaborate with other artist and galleries. It also opens up opportunities where artist can show their work online at no charge, and sell directly to customers. But, I think it’s equally important to stay connected within the community by visiting art shows, galleries, museums, etc. This holds true especially with ceramics because there’s a beauty of holding or seeing all sides and imperfections of a piece up close. It’s something that I have really come to appreciate about ceramics. You have to be present, and hold a piece or see the texture and magnitude of each piece in person and fully appreciate the uniqueness.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
People can see my work at Still Life Ceramics, the Hem LA showroom, Go Get Em Tiger cafes, G&B coffee, and MHZH. You can also follow my ceramic work on Instagram @francis_river, where I post shop updates, new work, and upcoming shows and exhibitions.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @francis_river

Image Credit:

Francis River and Molly Steele

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