Ralph Bacerra (1938 – 2008) was a ceramic artist who was known for his decorative ceramic work by incorporating an array of western and non-western traditional pottery styles, including Chinese, Japanese, and Persian. His eclectic style is demonstrated through his complicated ceramic forms, complex geometric patterns, and frequent use of rich hued glazes.
Born in Garden Grove, CA, Bacerra attended the Orange Coast Junior College where he studied under Bill Payne. Bacerra later attended Chouinard Art Institute where he received his B.F.A. (1961) and worked under Vivika Heino who influenced him to change his major to ceramics.
Bacerra served as an instructor and became head of the ceramics department at Chouinard Art Institute (1963 – 1971) and Otis College of Art and Design (1983 – 1997, his retirement). He additionally worked as a studio artist in his Eagle Rock, CA studio where he created his own ceramics, taught workshops, and occasionally made commercial work.
Bacerra’s work is included in the museum’s collections of several institutions including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum, The National Museum of Modern Art, The White House Collection, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He became the recipient of American Craft Council College of Fellows, the Purchase Award (1970 and 1973), and many more.