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Mike Tauber
2024 Artist of the Year

From its earliest years, Laguna Beach has been famed as an artist colony. The artists who pioneered the plein air school here are revered.  Others have gone on to national prominence including this year’s artist, Mike Tauber, who works in large scale ceramic tiles in architectural settings. Mike grew up “a small town guy” in Elmhurst, Illinois and came west to study and graduate from the College of Art and Design at San Diego State. 

After an unhappy stint working in LA, he got a drafting job in San Clemente and found a place to live in Laguna Beach in 1987.  Eventually setting up a studio in Laguna Canyon, Mike’s success as an artist grew along with his profound appreciation of the support and camaraderie of his fellow local artists.  Even though many honors have come his way, Mike has chosen to become part of Laguna’s heritage with a series of tile mosaics that have delighted all who see them.

One of his largest pieces of public art in Laguna was created in 2018 and is a mosaic that stretches at street-level along the retaining wall fronting the Neighborhood Congregational Church on Glenneyre. It is an evocative abstract piece using the familiar colors of plein air entitled “Coastline to Canyon.” 

Recently, a painting by Mike was re-created on stage at Pageant of the Masters, and he has completed two works at the Taco Stand Restaurant. One is a tribute: “Laguna Honors Its Artists” that is also an homage the late Michael Hallinan and his work. The other is a particular favorite.  In 2023, Mike gathered 95 residents to create their own glazed tiles depicting the oceanic flora and fauna of our coast. Mike then put them together in the form of two sea lions and titled it “Swimming in Sea Life.” 

More personally, Mike lives with his partner, Paul Luevano, and currently works with the coalition of artists, educators and art advocates known as LOCA Arts Education by coordinating monthly talks by local artists.  For his body of work, much of it now part of our heritage, we are proud to honor Mike Tauber as our Artist of the Year.

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