experience and travel. In brief, would you like to say something about yourself and the path which led you to choose art as a profession?
«From my early childhood, I loved to create and play with color.
My nature was curious and therefore, I needed to discover and to be challenged with learning. I liked to experiment with different substances, being herbs for cooking, vinegar, dirt, leaves from trees, paper, water and mixing them to invent new creations.
I liked being with people, seeing them laugh, bringing them together and helping in times of need.
My mother was a gifted pianist (but for economic and family reasons, could not continue) and my father was born as an artist\engineer and applied these talents working as a Pattern Maker (in wood and steel) for the aerospace industry, water systems and even the US government. Our house was always filled with music, literature and discussions about architecture, design and the arts.
Everyone in my family were good cooks and valued quality food and nutrition; I spent most of my weekends in the kitchen helping my grandmother cook and experimenting to create my own recipes.
During my high school years, I decided that I wanted to become a commercial artist, and my projects would need to communicate a spiritual message. I enjoyed courses in science and psychology, as well as spiritual literature – both Asian and Western.
By the age of 17, several of my works were exhibited in major museums Los Angeles County Museum, I had won numerous prizes and competitions from prestigious organizations, including from the US Postal Services, Bank of America. I was accepted at Art Center College of Design, one of the top 3 designs schools in the US.
Being from parents of Italian Catholic background, who believed that an artist has to suffer to survive, the “proper” education would be in an “intellectual” subject, taught by Jesuit priests. Not having financial or emotional family support to attend Art Center, I enrolled at Loyola Marymount University, majoring in Psychology and Fine Arts. During University I worked to manage an art gallery, which included doing the picture framing and interior design with clients works of art.
I also attended one year of University in Rome, where a new world opened. Through my studies and travels, my perspective on life and people opened which marked an important turning point in my life.
Needing to support myself, and for family reasons, I decided to use my degree in Psychology and began working as an “International Management Consultant” with leading public and private multinational organizations throughout Europe and South East Asia.
Working and meeting people from different countries, being nurtured and stimulated by the richness of ancient cultures, traditions, the arts and history I learned that in order to really understand and value other people, one needs to fully understand their backgrounds.
Already at the age of 6, I had a desire to live and work in both Asia and Europe, maybe I already understood this concept at that age.
After I worked for 5 years as a professional international management consultant, I decided to return to further my studies and obtained a Master’s Degree in International Organization Behavior at the University of Southern California. During and upon completion of my Mater’s degree, I continued working, although on even more influential projects, associated with University Professors expert in the field of “International Change Management” in both Europe and South East Asia.
My personal spiritual mission as a consultant was to help people discover, for themselves, their own happiness. I believed that if people were happy and doing what they felt passionate about, they would, in turn be productive and profitable for organizations and society.
Throughout my 23 years as a management consultant, I maintained my interests in the arts by collecting, and buying and selling pieces throughout my travels, as well as exchanging creative ideas with other artists and architects.
Finally, given the change in the economy and work place values in the mid 90’s, (which no longer coincided with my own, at this time I was living in Italy), and my strong need to express my artistic side, I found the courage and strength to leave my rewarding and successful career as a management. Before I left consultancy, I accepted a 2 year contract in Hong Kong with a major English consulting firm to create new consulting services throughout South East Asia. Over midway through this assignment, my values and work ethics were challenged even more so, enough to give me the strength to go back to Italy and follow my childhood dream.
I relocated to Veneto, where I had wanted to live since the age of 13 to learn the ceramic techniques at Bassano del Grappa and to be near Venice.
In Veneto, I returned to working in ceramics.
During my eight years in living and working in Veneto, I was privileged to meet and develop wonderful relationships with some of Italy’s renowned artists such as: Gianmaria Potenza, Alberto Gianquinto, Vittorio Basaglia, Angelo Zennaro, Pino Castagna and Carmelo Zotti. Months after I began working in the arts, I had numerous commissions and invitations for exhibitions and collaborations throughout Italy and abroad with prestigious organizations which included: the United Nations in Vienna, Peggy Guggenheim – Venezia, Kunst Meran – Merano, Ubaldo Grazia – Deruta.
Living near Venice my creativity was stimulated to the extent that I could not paint as quickly as ideas where coming to me.
It was emotionally, psychologically and economically challenging at times for me to make changes required from being a management consultant to going back to the arts.
My decision to “become” an artist was not conscious; it was subconscious, there was a little voice inside of me that gave and continues to give me the strength and courage to work in this direction.
I have recently come to recognize how my upbringing and professional background and life experiences have contributed and enriched my art.
I hope that my vast life experience enables my art to be shared and resonate with a great number of individuals and societies of people from different cultures and backgrounds».
You work with different materials, ceramic, textiles, canvas, etc.
What do you prefer to work with and why?
«There are several reasons why I like using different materials and media.
Using different media and materials enables me to express different emotions, sensations and thoughts. Depending what I am feeling and wanting to express, determines the media that I select. I like challenges, learning and finding solutions; working with different materials and media satisfies these needs. Also, it is due to my education\the school curriculum.
I prefer working with ceramics.
There are many reasons why I like to work with clay: Clay is alive, always moving, (technically speaking) as it is a flexible material which allows sensations and emotions slowly unfold until they take a shape. The characteristic of clay brings forth messages hidden in the subconscious or the super conscious to a conscious level in a gentle way; clay has dimension, it stimulates the senses of touch, sight and even smell, so, in my opinion, it seems more “real”; working with clay has a calming and relaxing effect, which has been scientifically proven; ceramic objects can be both artistic as well as functional\utilitarian, so these objects become easier to incorporate in ones day to day life; I enjoy creating new recipes and all types of cuisine, as well as interest in nutrition, and color. Therefore I can “apply” and integrate my creations with my interests; and finally and maybe most importantly, it is “destiny” or a natural instinct».
Would you give us your personal definition of an “artist”?
«In general an artist is anyone who creates through painting, sculpting, drawing, music, theater, writing, etc.
The definition of an artist as it relates to my art is someone, who expresses messages, sensations, emotions that are in their heart and soul that reflect moments and experiences from their own and those felt of others past, present and, at times, even the future».
In our “Liquid World”, as defined by Bauman, certainty is lacking, and culture is often considered as a “tail-light, ” whereas on the contrary, culture is the “headlight” to escape from this vicious circle.
Art, Culture, Beauty were always the guiding spirit to transform moments in crisis into extraordinary opportunities by turning the cards on the table, as they arrive from the mind and spirit and thus, people are not left to fall empty either in horror or insecurity.
In your opinion, what role should Art play in today’s world?
«I agree with this statement.
I believe that Art in today’s current situation should be considered as an invaluable catalyst for change.
If we accept and value Art to foster collaboration between societies\countries and to bring communities together, Art has an extremely powerful role to bring about change that politics, traditional medicine etc cannot address.
Given the premise that Art has and is been considered as a:
“Product” of culture which reflects how people see themselves and the world around them;
· “Form” of documentation of our present\history, illustrating cultural values, thinking and emotions;
· “Means” to depict both beauty and suffering;
· “Instrument” to assist people to explore their emotions and thoughts, both those known and those hidden in their subconscious;
· “Model” in risk taking and invention. An artist’s takes risks, develops new ways at looking at things – combining creativity and invention. Therefore, there is no doubt that Artists and Art are leaders for the process of change.
To create the most effective change, artists need to create from their hearts and soul – the place of purity, truth and love. Art needs to challenge one to really see and feel what is inside themselves and others. Art and people’s experiences of it need to be shared.
With our current worldwide and individual difficulties, it is challenging not only for all individuals in society today but also for a sensitive artist to go beyond the pain and suffering.
Although an artist has the gift to go beyond what is happening in the outer world by touching, interpreting and expressing messages from his\her soul and heart.
Artist’s need to not let the current reduced spending and increased fear and insecurity in today’s world stop him\her but to feel challenged and driven to take on greater risks, inventing and creating in search for discovering that what is new and even better.
An artist needs to share his\her art and to be given opportunities within communities to do so. Artist, in this role, serve as a great catalyst for creating and inspiring individuals and societies to positive change.
A recent example is of how art has impacted the world in a positive way, but through a devastating situation, is with the situation of the numerous loses of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in France. The act to silence their art has created strong international unity to fight against terrorist and to defend freedom of speech.
An artist, when he\she is working from the messages coming from his\her soul and heart is provided with the gift of promoting love, abundance, hope, joy, and life.
Although with the case of Charlie Hebdo, with great pain and suffering for some».
The creative process, from formulating an idea to the actual execution of the work is fascinating and a personal “sign or mark” of each artist. Where does your inspiration come from and how does your creative process work?
«This is a profound and excellent question, and it is not easy or simple to answer. The answer merits a long response and for the purpose of this interview, I will give a brief answer.
My inspirations to create come from various sources:
1) external stimuli - people, places, experiences, and my thoughts, emotions and sensations connected with each;
2) intuitive messages (internal stimuli) that come unexpectedly;
3) a desire to transform a message to “teach or enlighten” others in a fun or indirect manner;
4) a drive to experiment with materials and then I allow the materials lead me to create the form and select the color.
I find that the most successful or effective process is to be spontaneous\free in selecting materials, colors, medium and the form that represents what I would like to create».
You are able to touch the soul of people, move their hearts and minds opening the door to emotionality, thanks to your artistic creations, what do your clients say, what is your secret?
«When my art has this affect upon its viewers, I feel I am fulfilling my life’s-purpose. Many people tell me that my art does this, they say it is full of light and inspires. Although, not everyone does nor can resonate with my art.
There is no real secret, it is something that is inside of me.
I have not tried to analyze this, it just happens».
You represent a crosscurrent phenomenon. Statistics this year have shown that the total amount of Italian emigration has surpassed that of foreign immigration coming to Italy. , Going back two centuries, Italians were those with the “ cardboard suitcases”, demonstrating the lack of faith and hope in our country.
You, on the contrary, from the United States came to Italy, where you live and work with great success; you are a privileged witness who can observe our country with a less pessimistic eye.
How do you ” live” our Italy?
Coming from an Italian background, and being raised within an Italian immigrant community until I was 8 years old, my formative values were and remain Italian.
I was always the “exception to the rule” when I was given psychological testing in school, as my results classified my values and behavior typical of Southern Mediterranean countries.
Since the first time I came to Italy at the age of 13, I felt at home.
Although I never consciously planned on “immigrating” to Italy even though I have had dual citizenship, due to my Italian heritage.
Maybe it was my destiny that I am living here.
I had the chance to study one year in Rome, and after graduation and from thereafter I kept receiving important international career opportunities related to Cross Cultural Organization Behavior working with leading public and private organizations and individuals in Italy.
I have also worked throughout Europe, Asia and some in the US; although the working relationships that have been the most fulfilling and natural for me have been in Italy.
I always appreciated that Italians know how to work hard but also take time to appreciate and enjoy life, something that I did not see in the United States.
Sometimes today I get frustrated that many Italians do not appreciate and respect the multitude of richness there is in Italy.
Looking around the world, many countries are facing challenges, in one way or the other.
I believe that things will turn for the better.
Being an artist, Italy is one of the most important place one could live».
What are the bright points beyond the dark that should be developed or enhanced to create a future different from our present?
To appreciate, respect, value and be proud of living in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, rich with history, culture, natural beauty and, at the heart of everyone - a strong sense of being humanitarian.
To transform the individualist characteristic to be used in positive way for example not letting the negativity of others and situations surrounding them effect but find and fight to look for solutions and to act upon these.
I am grateful and admire many individuals who, even with limited resources and numerous obstacles, provide positive support and projects to improve the situation.
I have met many individuals and groups in Italy who have been dedicated and generous in supporting the arts.
In your area, Biella, I have had the opportunities to meet and be associated with several important people, including: Mariella Biollino – Sindaco Candelo, ex-Provincial Cultural Assessor; journalists with both national and local media, Il Biellese, La Stampa, etc; numerous artists and craftsman working in the Cantine at Ricetto di Candelo; Anna Azario, Pria Factory; Graziano Prola, picture framer and “appassionato di arte” – Il Cornicaio, Borgo D’ale .
Other individuals in the Torino area whom I respect for their contributions include: Anna Pironti, Barbara Rocci, Paola Zanini – Department of Education Castello di Rivoli, Catterina Seia – UNIManagement.
I have seen and spoken with many people who think that this current situation is something positive, as it is making many people re-look at their values and to recognize the greater need for love, appreciation and sharing and uniting more with others».
What projects do you have in mind next?
«I have numerous ideas.
Currently I am working on projects for exhibitions related to the Expo 2015 CIBO theme, at this moment, for Milano, Parma, and Biella at the Spazio Pria - June 2015.
I am excited about these project opportunities, as I will be able to incorporate most aspects about what I enjoy the most. Right now I am dedicating my time and energy for creating for these exhibitions.
As I move further along the process of creating for these exhibitions, I will be lead to know what my next project will be.
I like surprising others and myself».
Intervista a Carla Cecere