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Note: Below are cropped thumbnail images. Roll over item for details, click on a piece for the full image view. For size information, click here (pdf)

All pieces are originals, painted and etched and sealed on Paulownia Wood Cradled Panels.  The work is textured/carved and approaching 3-D, sides are also often painted (not shown), and do not need to be framed , although several pieces (as noted) are also framed with black aluminium ‘nested’ frames. 

News: In Powell River Peak April 12, 2017 

by David Brindle

Giovanni Spezzacatena


After three years, Powell River artist Giovanni Spezzacatena presented his third solo show in Powell River, which opens May 4 and runs through May 30 at Vancouver Island University’s Powell River campus. Spezzacatena has worked extensively in experimental film animation and graphic design, which influences his highly abstract works.
Where did you find the title for your show, People Talking Indistinctly?
The title came from a foreign film that I was watching; I think it was Korean. They often use gibberish, where people are just basically babbling in the background, and it was represented by the subtitle “people talking indistinctly.” It came to me that it was a good title for the show because it is abstract and each piece is dramatically different. It’s almost like a room full of people speaking at the same time.
Is People Talking Indistinctly a comment on today?
Right. People not understanding each other.
How do you work?
I work in different media. I work with inks and paints. Right now, I’m working on wood, so I’m actually gouging into wood, and I use music as a way to get me out of myself. It’s very physical. I’m using chisels and razor blades. I use a lot of razor blades in my work, scratching away at layers.
What is your background?
Film and motion is always part of my work. I was teaching experimental animation in Montreal and motion graphics in Seattle, so I have a foot in very unusual types of animation. I was teaching in Montreal in the late ’90s when computers were just starting to be used at Concordia University. Then I went straight into computers in Seattle when I was teaching there, as well motion graphics and interactive animation.
Do you miss teaching?
I used to. I was actually a bit tired of it. I wanted to do my work and I was just so exhausted at the end of the day working full time, so I had very little time to pay attention to my own work.
What is art?
Anything that expresses your humanity.


My paintings focus on texture, colour, form and depth. Currently much of my work is on (and in) cradled wooden panels, where I use elements of collage/ décollage (where instead of an image being built up from parts of existing images as in collage, it is created by removing pieces of an original image) and palimpsest (something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form), and a definite wabi-sabi aesthetic.

The resulting often abstract works are multilayered, with a physical presence, and take on dramatically different aspects depending on lighting. My work is if not an affront to the contemporary aesthetic of computer-generated sleekness, at least an alternative to that. And while I use polished waxes in some works, there is a prevailing focus on non-uniformity of colour and shape.

My Process:
Simple forms and patterns are often a starting point, and these are worked into highly textural pieces using inks, acrylics, wax, graphite, photo-sensitive dyes, and  collage and assemblage elements,  with razor blades, palettes, chisels, rollers, sponges and brushes as tools. The resulting work, usually smaller in scale, evokes time passing, re-thinking, and experimentation; images added and then obscured or changed; colours and shapes- once sharp and bright- are dulled, scratched, ripped, and chiseled away resulting in pieces that resemble strangely sci-fi or post-apocalyptic relics of a long-past world. The work’s use of underlying geometric structures evokes a sense of order beyond the disorder that is wrought upon them, like a once-pristine child’s toy that has been weathered, aged and has survived to be much more beautiful and meaningful, but also strange and defamiliarized.

About The Title of the Show “People Talking Indistinctly”
The latest show’s title is a taken from a subtitle from a foreign film I was watching a few months ago, where mixed background voices (called ‘walla’ or ‘rhubarb’ in film production) were described in text on the screen as “People Talking Indistinctly”. Ironically, the actual audio track was partly intelligible if you understood the language being spoken on the soundtrack. There is a lot I like about the idea of mixed messages, where visually, colour and texture become undifferentiated and ‘environmental’, that is unless you pay close attention to the juxtapositions of swaths of colour, images, text (both within some of the pieces, and in their titles), and textures.



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