Over the years, RSI has chosen to explore several symbols that represent its work.
One of those symbols is delicately stacked stones.
As with all symbols, not everyone agrees. For some cultures, red is a symbol of debt, for others of wealth. Stacked stones are similar, even within RSI there was, and continues to be, discussion regarding the stones. Do they really represent what we do? Do they represent the aspiration of challenging risk?
To be clear, in a perfect world, we would want to achieve zero risk. We would want our outcomes to be predictable or at the very least, always preventable. The truth is that civilization's complexity is such that a zero risk world is unattainable. What is achievable is a commitment to constantly labor to manage risk. Both as a society, and as individuals, we must accept that stacked stones may very well fall over, but if they are carefully set on top of one another, if they are responsibly monitored, if they are adjusted when circumstances change, then yes, risk can be favorably managed.
RSI is all about maximizing our clients' ability to minimize the consequences of any and all of their activities, hence the choice of balanced and, yes, even fragile stacks of stones as emblems of our everyday efforts.
As it happens, RSI found inspiration right in its back yard, right here in Ottawa. John Felice Ceprano, a world-renowned artist, has spent over three decades building a balanced stone campus on the shores of the Ottawa River at Remic Rapids. John was kind enough to sit down with us to share his philosophy.
Ceprano was born in Providence, Rhode Island, immigrated to Canada in 1978, and given Canadian citizenship in 1991.
He received an Associate degree in Physics in 1968 from Community College of Rhode Island, and a BFA in Fine Art from the University of Rhode Island in 1975, with final year study abroad at University of Ottawa.
Between 1982 to 1984, he attended Rhode Island College in the Master of Arts program in photography, with the graduate assistantship in art history. Additional study in non-sliver photography at University of Ottawa between 1985 to 1990.
In 1986 he began the art of rock balance sculpture at Remic Rapids Park in Ottawa, and received a Canada Council Arts grant for the project in 1989.
Since 2000, the National Capital Commission, a federal government agency, has provided an annual contract for the project.
Ottawa Rock Art Inc, a non for profit corporation, was established in 2009, mandating the 'rock balanced sculpture project', including performance artists, workshops, lectures, and 'Balanced Art World International' festivals, from 2012 to 2014.
In 2015, he received the 'Award of Excellence' for urban design in public places from the city of Ottawa, and designated an 'Ottawa Ambassador' from Ottawa Tourism in 2016. In 2017, the project was included in 'Canada 150'.
Permanent sculptures have been produced since 1999, and have become a very exciting exploration, incorporating the visual vocabulary of painting and drawing into the surfaces of the rock sculptures.
Ceprano began his career as a painter, and continues to the persue the craft to the present, exploring various mediums, trends, and applications. Photography and digital art have also influenced both the sculptures and painting.