The Tile Mural

Walking into La Osita for the first time, you may be struck with awe at the massive mosaic tile wall mural above the adobe fireplace. An adventurous, albeit unusual choice for an adobe home, it captures the story of the original owner’s taste for adventure and captures a historical and artistic moment.

The tile is the art of Dora De Larios, a well renowned ceramist from Los Angeles, California. In the 1960s, artist Millard Sheets, a consultant to Interpace, hired De Larios, along with other notable ceramists including Harrison McIntosh and Jerry Rothman, to design tiles for the Franciscan Ceramics division of Interpace in Los Angeles.

Born in Boyle Heights to Mexican immigrant parents, De Larios was deeply influenced by the diverse city, infusing her work with the ceramic traditions from her Mexican heritage, as well as those of other cultures and modern artistic movements in Los Angeles, California.

This tile design team innovated new glazes and methods for decorating 12″ by 12″ tiles for wall murals. Major ceramic tile wall murals completed and still in existence include: Jules Stein Eye Institute outpatient clinic at UCLA, donated by Walt Disney and designed by Mary Blair (1966); North and South facades of the Honolulu Hilton Rainbow hotel, designed by Millard Sheets (1968); Disney World Contemporary Resort, Grand Canyon Concourse fourth floor lobby, designed by Mary Blair (1970); and Los Angeles City Hall East Family of Man West and East facades, designed by Millard Sheets (1972).

De Larios’ love for art began on a childhood visit to the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, where she was deeply moved by the works of her ancestors. She pursued her passion at the University of Southern California, where she studied with important teachers including Susan Peterson and Viveka Heino. After graduation, she built a successful artistic career, creating both functional and sculptural works as well as significant public commissions.” (Source)

Dora De Larios, Commissioned by Interpace (1960’s)

Photography by Nathan Hartmann

American Museum of CeramicArt

The American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA) presented De Larios’ work in Common Ground: Ceramics in Southern California 1945–1975. This exhibition was an examination of both the cohesiveness and the diversification found within the Los Angeles-area post-World War II clay community. More than 300 ceramic objects created or designed by 53 artists working in studios, classrooms, or industrial environments illustrate the tremendous growth and experimentation in ceramics at this specific time.  Works were chosen to speak to the social, philosophical, and economic factors that affected ceramic design, styles, instruction, and trends. (Source)