The Urbanite – Jon Liedtke – Jan. 15, 2014
Windsor artist Mauro has pioneered new mediums straight from 19th century Florence that he hopes will hang from Caesars Windsor to the walls of Saudi royals.
In an unassuming house located in the core of the city lives an eccentric artist whose taste for art is as eclectic as his taste in mediums. On a brisk January morning the faint smell of smoke lingered through- out the air of the modified living room and studio, while the dulled bleak rays of the sun crept through the windows, obscured by shades.
Mauro, as he is known in the art world, uses 23 karat gold from the House of Giusto Manetti, Goldbeaters, in Florence, Italy to create gold inlaid and pressed glass enamel works.
It was due to a conversation roughly 21 years ago with Moshe Safdie – the architect of the National Gallery of Canada when Safdie lamented that the engraved enamels of the Florentine period were decaying, that Mauro began to think of ways that he could protect the form.
“I bought a lot of glass. It was actually depressing how many times and how often I hurt myself, but I was persisting because I knew there must be a way,” he said, while reflecting on his perfection of the craft. “Eventually, I succeeded… it’s your ethical obligation as an artist to produce good work.”
Mauro’s gold works include intricate rosettes, a Canadian $100 gold note which was commissioned as a gift for former Prime Minister Paul Martin, the then finance minister of Canada, tributes to both. Sir. Isaac Brock and Chief Tecumseh, and numerous other pieces.
“This is a Canadian thing; real, original, Canadian art,” said Mauro about his art and form. “I cut gold and I press more gold into it… this also is gold-on-gold.”
One of the difficult things about working with such a medium is that once a mistake is made, the artist must decide whether to live with it or start the piece anew.
“Once you make a mistake, you can’t correct it. In a pencil drawing, you can erase a small thing,” said Mauro. “Here you can’t. This is permanent. These are two plates of glass that are fused together, they can live underwater for hundreds of years.”
Timothy Dugdale recently began rep- resenting Mauro and while he has great respect and admiration for the artist, he conceded that an artist’s reputation and personalities sometimes precede them.
“He’s eccentric, he’s a nut,” said Dugdale. “He works in a medium that is from an- other century, the late 19th-20th century.”
Dugdale has high hopes for his client’s work and plans to attend Art Dubai, an international art exhibition, in March to help receive commissions for new works.
“We’ll put on our suits, we’ll come with a beautiful portfolio and hit people up,” said Dugdale. “We’re hoping to sell a piece to the Saudi Monetary Authority.”
In addition to soliciting a commission from SAMA, Dugdale hopes to receive a commission for a 10,000 square inch gold U.S. hundred dollar bill, which Mauro hopes to have displayed in the lobby of Caesars Windsor.
Mauro, who has yet to speak with representatives from Caesars or begin working on the piece, said it would “be the ideal of ideals for a casino to have.” Mauro also believes that it would help attract tourists and would help to further transform the image of Windsor from that of a blue-collar town to one more focused on the arts.
Jonathon Liedtke is the managing editor of The Urbanite, Windsor’s alternative newspaper. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.