Behind the Design {Sharra Frank}

Sharra Frank moved from a small town in North Dakota to Minnesota to attend the University of Minnesota for a degree in Interior Design.  Little did she know a Color Theory class would change her career direction as well as her life.

While spending a good amount of her food money on expensive paint to perfect her paper mosaic class project Sharra unsuspectingly had found her new passion.  Small pieces of paper began to transform a still life project into a multidimensional work of art.

Sharra explains,  “I turned in the project a day late (sacrificing an A) because I was so into the project”.  Needless to say her piece was far beyond the class requirements.  This lead her to notice mosaic works, intricate patterns and small details all around her.  She then began to collect tile and any other objects she could get her hands on which kept her creative juices flowing.

Pearl Mirror by Sharra Frank

Pearl Mirror by Sharra Frank

A Few personal projects and lots of  encouragement from her husband lead to a $30 parking space and a card table at her first art show (The Uptown Urban Flea Market).  This marked a turning point in her career, although she didn’t sell a single piece, Sharra says, “The feedback was great”.

She then spent many years with tunnel vision,  focusing on growing her body of work and making pieces she loved.   She also finished her schooling (A Fine Art Major) although she had become a full time artist by this time.

Jungle Fever  window hanging by Sharra Frank

Jungle Fever window hanging by Sharra Frank

This “tunnel vision” Sharra believes, was a key to her success.  She said she dove into her work, fully immersing herself into mosaic art, ignoring those who questioned what she was doing for a living.  When I asked her if she had any advice for other beginning artist she said…

“Do what you love.  It is very important to have connection to the piece you are working on.  Don’t get too caught up in the stuff you think you should be doing [Marketing, Business}.  You won’t go anywhere if you don’t have a strong body of work that you love.  Work hard and do you best”

Sharra is now a very successful full time artist who works mainly on commissioned projects.  She tells me that she is currently booked out for 1 year.

Carousel by Sharra Frank

Carousel by Sharra Frank


Where do you get your inspiration

Early on I got my inspiration from Moorish Architecture and intricate patterns all around me.  Lately, after having my son Milo I have been finding inspiration in off beat children’s’ literature and toys.  I find myself buying toys for my son for their color combinations and patterns.  I am drawn to hand made wood toys for their soft smooth feel.  I arrange little collections of toys on his shelf for him to look at, and then rearrange to keep it interesting.  I think it is becoming an obsession {she says laughing}.

Where is your favorite place in the Twin Cities

I love our local thrift and antique shops but my favorite place has to be the Northrop King Building.  Not just because my studio is here (I love my studio) but there is not place in the country like it.  The energy of so many talented artists in one place.  I just love coming to work and see an artist loading up their work on the loading docks, it is so exciting.

Who is your favorite local artist

I love Amy Rice.  She has a great vibe.

I also love Ann Wood and  Dean Lucker .  I am so lucky that they moved into the studio next to mine.  Their work is beautiful and I hear they have a stunning home too (I hope to see it someday).

Princess Amaradevi, Mosaic Sculpture COMPAS, ArtsWork 2007 SteppingStone Theatre, St. Paul, Minnesota

Princess Amaradevi, Mosaic Sculpture COMPAS, ArtsWork 2007 Stepping Stone Theatre, St. Paul, Minnesota

You can meet Sharra Frank in her studio which is open the 1st Thursday of every month in the Northrop King Building in NE Minneapolis.  You can also connect with her through email and Facebook or at

Sharra has done multiple public works of art with local kids through the COMPAS program.

Sharra also teaches mosaic classes  as well  teaching a workshop at the 2012 American Mosaic Summit on Mosaicing with Beads.  For more about these classes and dates see her website.




  1. I love her stuff — it is stunning!

    1. I ADORE those mirrors! Truly, the photos do not do them justice. I HIGHLY recommend you try to go to her studio or buy one!

  2. Thanks, Araya, for the great interview! It was fun meeting you as well!

  3. […] Like Sharra Frank (Mosaic Artist) who I previously profiled, Jennifer Davis also found her passion for art by stumbling upon a class in college at the University of Minnesota.  Having all of her general requirements completed, Jennifer took a drawing class which was where she fell in love with art school.   After attending more art related classes: photography, ceramics, sculpture and print making she found her true passion in painting. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree Jennifer took a job at an add agency where she worked for a few years until she was suddenly laid off.  Like all happy endings this is when she started making art full time. […]

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