Frank Patania Jr. learned metalsmithing as a young boy by helping his father, Frank Patania Sr., in his workshop. At age ten, he began a formal apprenticeship with the senior Patania, joining a diverse team of Navajo, Hopi, and Spanish American apprentices. The younger Patania did not study art in college, taking instead courses in anthropology and history to understand better the native cultures that surrounded him. After college and military service, he returned to his father’s workshop in 1956. Patania’s career is distinct from his father’s, and draws inspiration from architecture and sculpture rather than from Native American jewelry. His later work has involved large liturgical objects, including presentation bowls and commemoration plaques.