Vol. 21 No. 3 • January 22 - 28, 2015 In Our 20th Year Serving Greater Hamilton

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by Laura Hollick
September 27 - Octobe 3, 2007
Gino Cavicchioli is a modern day Renaissance man. He is reinvigorating the ideals of a time when anatomical perfection reigned and the divine essence of a person was captured through art. Working as a portrait sculptor, Cavicchioli immortalizes people and captures their legacy. Over the past six years, Cavicchioli has been commissioned by the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, creating over 30 busts of famous football players. Each year he unveils five new portrait busts. The recent unveiling included Darren Flutie, Dave Knight, Greg Battle, Pierre Vercheval, and Rocco Romano. Although not a football player himself, he has great respect for the game and especially the players. “Football is just one more avenue that we may choose to excel in, it doesn’t matter what we chose as long as we love and give it our total best,” he says. Each portrait bust he sculpts begins abstractly in clay, it then builds up into a realistic vision of the person. Once he feels he has captured an accurate likeness, the final sculpture is cast in bronze. While working on a sculpture, Cavicchioli is most interested in the character of the person. “I look for personal inspiration into the life of the sitter, the inspiration is used as fuel to execute the portrait,” he explains. Cavicchioli wants to know who the person is, what drives them, how their passions express themselves. The players would sit for Cavicchioli so he could study their features and gain a sense of their anatomy, but in some cases he worked directly from photographs without ever meeting the person. The majority of his preparation comes from gathering life stories about the person’s life. He says it is his “love for people and the amazing potential that they possess,” that drives his passion to capture them in sculpture. He pays close attention to detail, almost obsessively, but what he strives for most is a sense of the person. A successful piece is one that exudes their soul. “I have learned that body language does not lie,” and he continues to say, “Eyes are indeed the window to our soul.” Cavicchioli’s art is in collections all over the world including such well known figures as George Bush senior, Margaret Thatcher and Mikhal Gorbachev. A recent project had him sculpting a larger than life size portrait of Lincoln Alexander, one of Hamilton’s very own. Cavicchioli was born in Australia, but he spent his formative years in Rome studying the Italian masters such as Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. As a young boy he made arrangements with the graveyard staff to give him old tombstones made of marble, when families chose to replace them. He would take these marble tombstone slabs and begin honing his craft at carving, sculpting and shaping life out of stone. Moving to Canada at the age of 12, Cavicchioli continued to develop his artistic talents. He did not train under any specific school or teacher, it was his life experience that honed his craft and allowed his talents to excel. He worked in the steel industry for a number of years before completely devoting himself to his sculpture full-time. Gino Cavicchioli is one of Hamilton’s artistic treasures. He is sculpting people’s legacy while at the same time building his own. From his experience he says, “The best plastic surgery is a smile.” V [LAURA HOLLICK] SCULPTURES By Gino Cavicchioli Football Hall of Fame footballhof.com Ongoing
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