As a son of migrant Italian parents, Robert Cauzzo did his artistic apprenticeship in the urban landscapes of outer eastern Melbourne – learning about texture, sculpture and architecture through concreting.
That real-world canvas allowed him to evolve into a 3D artist, cementing his place not just as a concrete artist, but as an innovator seeking new forms of expression.
Roberto’s stencil art on concrete gained attention in Australia, Dubai and Japan where he imparted the skill of carving designs into concrete.
Where his true artistic vision was realised was on the factory floor, in an experiment to develop a new type of epoxy finish for commercial flooring.
The breakthrough material Roberto helped design was a thick, oozing epoxy resin that you could spread with a trowel – a gloriously malleable explosion of colour and movement, which proved to be an artistic wonderland.
“Mistakes were masterpieces of art. I fell completely in love with this medium as an expressive art form.”
In that kaleidoscope of free-flowing epoxy resin, Roberto feels he is interpreting both nature and nurture; the translucent pool of deep colours reflecting emotion, and the primal power of the Australian landscape.
“The resin is such a contradiction as it’s an industrial chemical that portrays a spiritual energy.
I like to layer different levels over time, creating multiple dimensions. The surface is translucent and yet the colours run deep, which are often a challenge to control – like life, and love.”
Roberto’s raw, visceral art sits in perfect contrast alongside classically trained artist Brigitte Dawson, whose poignant murals conjure the work of the Italian Masters.
Together, the couple run La Casa Sawtellis – a restaurant and gallery along the idyllic inlet which flows through Tooradin.
For the 3D master, a near death cancer scare has inspired his urgency, fuelling him with a manic desire to take his chemical concerto to another level, to break boundaries like his influences – Pollock, Klimt and Frank.
His foremost challenge is to paint with epoxy resin, to further stretch the limits of his reactive canvas.
“I have constantly evolved my method, solving the myriad of problems which rise up with bold new techniques. As the resin would shrink, the canvas would warp so now I work on composite aluminium which I make myself.”
The artwork may be solid in structure, but it breathes with a life force of its own.
“The art is fluid. It changes in different lights, from different angles. People are drawn to touch it, like it’s living.”