Sculptor Enzo Torcoletti's perspective and
skill are inspirations for both artists and
art lovers alike.
Amara McMann, coordinator of University of North Florida Art Galleries, says Torcoletti can thrive with very little. She believes this is a valuable lesson for her students.
Torcoletti says he creates because it's what he loves and stops when it's no longer fun.
"It is like breathing," Torcoletti says. "You do it because it is necessary to stay alive as an individual or an artist. You do it for yourself."
His love of art began early. He attended art school in Italy before moving to Canada, where he learned English and majored in English literature and fine arts at University of Windsor in Ontario. After meeting art students there, he began to study stone carving, a practice which became a fascination.
He later earned a master's in fine arts at Florida State University, then moved to St. Augustine to teach at Flagler College. His plan was to stay a couple of years and move back up north, but he's never left.
"Over time, I spent more time here than anywhere else in my life," Torcoletti says.
He hasn't slowed down since he retired from teaching. Inspired by history and mythology, Torcoletti creates sculptures inspired by God and Icarus. Other fragment pieces are abstract depictions of the human form, many of which feature the torso.
Torcoletti has worked on commission pieces, creating or restoring sculptures in Florida and in Europe. In 2011, he joined Northeast Florida sculptor Joe Segal, a former student, to restore the twin marble lion statues at the foot of the Bridge of Lions.
Torcoletti also designed the La Florida sculpture, the award given to inductees into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame.
Torcoletti's appreciation for natural materials is evident. He works primarily with stone for most of his pieces. He has his own home foundry for casting bronze, creating sculptures there and using simple tools when possible: chisels, hammers and mallets. For larger tasks, he uses pneumatic chisels and diamond blades.
His home, much like his life, centers on his love of art. Torcoletti and his wife, Gayle Prevatt, share a love of art and creativity. Prevatt is a potter, painter and jewelry maker.
On their St. Augustine property, there's one building for honeybees and honey extraction and another for pottery, in addition to the foundry. There are several citrus trees in the yard and even a chicken coop.
Torcoletti now has works on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens and Southlight Gallery.
"Mythos: From Concept to Creation," featured in MOCA's UNF Gallery through January, includes both Torcoletti's sculptures and the sketches that inspired them. Torcoletti often sketches out his pieces before he begins an actual sculpture.
Some of Torcoletti's works, with the theme of the human form, are featured in the Cummer's new sculpture garden; 11 pieces are displayed in the Cummer, including two in the permanent collection.
"His pieces push the idea of the human form a little farther into abstraction," Cummer Museum Chief Curator Holly Keris says.