Giorgio Cecatto of CEK
When I first met Giorgio I knew right away this was a man who lived and breathed art. His charismatic demeanor drew me right in, the way he spoke about his art was so inspiring. Giorgio is an architectural genius that creates original pieces using concrete that incorporates lamps, clocks, and various other items. He also has a clothing line called pathetic slogan. Giorgio's attention to detail and intricate designs is what makes him stand out. Needless to say, Giorgio is not stopping anytime soon!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in a small village in Friuli, in the northeast part of Italy. I graduated with a degree in architecture in 2009, then worked in Spain and Italy before moving to Toronto in 2011 to pursue my career. I’ve always been productive as an artist-designer, and I’ve won a few artistic and graphic design competitions. A couple of years ago I decided to use concrete as my main medium. This material gives me the freedom to experiment in many different ways.
What inspired you to pursue a career in architectural design?
My love for both art and science. Architecture is one of the few disciplines that combine the necessity of structural strength, poetical meaning and the satisfaction of some basic human needs. It’s the most difficult artistic discipline of all. On different scales it combines science, poetry, politics, finance, ergonomics, geometry, environmental issues and more.
When did you get into the field?
Right after high school, but I’ve always been a strong art weirdo…
What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
As a designer, it was when I had my first personal exhibition last year at Northern Contemporary Gallery. As an architect/project manager, it was doing my part in getting two high-rise condos finished and occupied. Every time I walk by them I remember all the effort I put into those projects.
What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?
Learning. I know exactly who I am and where I’m coming from as an artist, but the way I develop and manage my activity is something I’m constantly learning from people who are better than me. This city is so fast, and the way information is exchanged is constantly mutating. If you want to survive, you have to keep up with it. That’s why I always look to the kids in their early twenties. If you ever want to understand the “here and now” in history, you should always analyze the kids from 18 to 25 years old. All the revolutions throughout history — political, technological or sociological — have been made by them. These days are no different.
How would you characterize your style?
It’s certainly clear I love minimalism and geometric abstraction on the product design side. The Pathetic Slogan [clothing line] is more a self-hyronical, sarcastic, conceptual experiment. With it I want to emphasize the lack of concept in contemporary street art, to prove that success in this field is only a matter of repeating your logo or brand over and over again. Even a Pathetic Slogan can be successful if you repeat it enough times. So I’d say the style is “Conceptual-Street.”
Is there anyone you look up to in your field?
So many. And mainly minimalist artists. In visual art and sculpture, it’s Frank Stella, Sol Lewitt and Tony Smith. In architecture and design, it’s Mies Van Der Rohe, Tadao Ando and Alberto Campo Baeza. But my artistic hero is the Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan.
Do you recommend mentorship?
Yes, absolutely. I believe that having a person show you the right way to do the things you love is fundamental.
Where do you see yourself or your business in the next five to ten years?
I think I’ll be more focused on the pure sculpture. If I really want to investigate the pure geometric composition I need to get rid of the functionality of my objects. It’s something I’m considering these days.
What advice would you give someone who is trying to pursue their dreams?
Study. Whatever you want to do, there’s somebody who has done it before you. Start from there, and then develop your own language and style. This applies to all fields: art, sport, marketing, life in general. Anyway, I should probably receive advice instead of giving it.
Where do you feel most creative?
It’s not in a specific location but in a specific state of mind: in front of a piece of paper with a pencil in my hand and some instrumental music as a background. It can happen in my studio, on a street car, in the park… It’s my favourite time ever. Better than sex.
Do you regret any mistakes you've made?
A good friend of mine always tells me to “love my mistakes.” I used to hate that saying. I always thought that as human beings we can analyze, rationalize and minimize the failed attempts we make during the creative process. But some time ago I understood what he actually means. Now I love my mistakes, the future ones in particular.
Why do you love what you do?
Creating something that didn’t exist before us and will last long after us — it’s probably the ultimate reason we are all alive, no?
Who (or what) is your motivation to keep going?
The opinion of certain individuals I’ve met in my life. I always need feedback from people I know I can trust. There will always be people who don’t understand or like what I do, but they don’t matter.
If you had the opportunity to work or collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
Italian contemporary conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan for his way of criticizing and making fun of the system while working within it. A Genius. Also Diego Armando Maradona, for reasons that I don’t need to explain. I’d love to see him wearing a Pathetic Slogan t-shirt someday.
What is the one thing you can't leave the house without? (Other than your cell phone!)
Music, to give a soundtrack to my day.