Giancarlo Calicchia, born in 1946 in Veroli, Italy. He describes his childhood as steeped in the ancient traditions of Lazio. Uprooted at age 11, his family moved to Rome, New York where he was raised. Giancarlo attended the University of Syracuse and then returned to Italy's Rome, the city where art and he chose each other. He studied stone carving throughout Italy, Mexico and America and then went to Haiti to learn wood carving.
Each of these countries and cultures has influenced Giancarlo and his work in unique and powerful ways. His native Italy, of course, as he said, can never be forgotten or abandoned. “America has instilled in me a desire to seek and accomplish the impossible. But it was Haiti and Mexico that brought me into confrontation with the true nature of man and art. These two cultures contain the new world in their soul. When I traveled to Haiti, I was hoping to learn how to carve wood. Instead Haiti carved me and I am the better for it”.
Moving from Haiti to Cleveland, Giancarlo became a local resource for large stone projects. He established Calicchia Stone Industries.
The company completed achitectural stone projects throughout the world including Cleveland's cityscape changing Gateway, Tower City, RTA Station, the Ritz Carlton and the Galleria. Calicchia Stone Industries was closed in 1994 so that Giancarlo could devote full time to his personal passions.
Giancarlo can now be found working in his studios in Tremont or Carnegie Avenue or at his farm and vinyards in Madison. His often-massive pieces of oak, mahogany and maple await their turn along with blocks of marble, jade, alabaster and granite.
“My work celebrates living on our magical Earth. Carving and shaping for me is as important as the results. I was trained by hardened survivors of the ancient traditions of wood, stone and bronze. I am unable to compromise or forget. I live for what I do. I look for projects that challenge my passion for touching and elevating all the elements of our Earth.”
Giancarlo Calicchia is known for his dedication to charity work and his love of travel. A recent newspaper article pictures Giancarlo with former Cleveland Indians Shortstop Omar Vizquel at an exhibition of Giancarlo’s works and fund raiser at Jacobs Field. Vizquel has also become an accomplished sculptor. Recently the two have combined their love for art and travel with a visit to the Siena Cathedral.
In his Madison project, Giancarlo is sculpting 185 acres on the Grand River into vineyards and orchards, gardens and islands. Apricot, black currant and Montmorency cherry trees ring the lakes. His bees produce honey from the fields' different nectars, and Giancarlo shares it with the chefs of Tremont. The property includes a cabin of log and stone, a studio and a guesthouse. Art is quietly everywhere.
Finally, there is the anticipation of things to come, like Giancarlo's creme de cassis.The deep aubergine-colored liqueur is made from black currants grown in one of Giancarlo's gardens. It's been aging three years now and he deems it ready. Similar to when California wines first had their triumphant moment over French wines, he teases of smuggling his creme de cassis to France and pouring a glass in a fine restaurant. The wine steward would inquire appreciatively, "But where is this from?" And he would just smile and say "Cleveland, Ohio."
The aspiring aisles of pinot gris, syrah, pinot noir, gewürztraminer and muscatel are maturing and have yet to extend their first bottle of wine. Giancarlo says that it will be in 2005. It will be a harvest for Giancarlo and Cleveland to celebrate; for, once again, he will be sharing his work with the community he loves. We can all take delight in imagining the wine to be wrought by this artist's hand.