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John Felice Ceprano bio

John Felice Ceprano, Artist & Director of OTTAWA ROCK ART INC 

Ceprano was born in Providence, Rhode Island, July 6th 1947, of Italian heritage from the region of Campania. His paterntal side was from Caserta, and his maternal from Avellino. Providence and vicinity was a mostly southern Italian community, allowing him to remain intimately connected to his cultural heritage, as well as the American culture to which he was born into. 

Initially, Ceprano intended to become a meteorologist, and pursued that goal with an associate degree in Physics in 1966. However, his second passion, art, was realized and entered the University of Rhode Island in the Fine Arts Department in 1968. His concentration was in painting and printmaking, and received the Chambers scholarship in 1970 from the department. However, in 1971, he withdrew from the program and became actively involved in the Vietnam anti war movement. 

In 1973, Ceprano relocated to Ottawa, Canada, and was allowed visas to live there until 1975. During this time, he worked as an alcoholic councillor assistant, and also completed his BFA at the University of Ottawa in 1975. 

Ceprano returned to Rhode Island in 1975, working as a waiter while continuing his art, and was granted a Rhode Island Arts Council commission in 1976; his work remains as part of the permanent collection at the William Hall Library in Woonsocket. 

In 1978, he returned to Ottawa as a landed immigrant, becoming a Canadian citizen in 1991.

When Ceprano retuned to Ottawa, he worked in health care 'part time' until retiring in 2013. Throughout this period, he continued to paint, and studied photography at Rhode Island College, between 1982-84, with the graduate assistantship from the art history department. Ceprano returned to Ottawa in 1984, and continued his study in photography at the University of Ottawa until 1990. While studying photography, he discovered the practise of rock balance at Remic Rapids.  

He named the discipline “The Art of Balance", and was a derivative of his practice in Taoism and Transendental Meditation, which were disciplines acquired while at the University of Rhode Island. He also studied Shamanism at the same time, and was deeply influenced by the writings of Carlos Castaneda. 

The "Art of Balance" project became established in a short time, and in 1989, Ceprano was given a Canada Council Arts grant for his work, and continued to produce the project each year without support or assistance until 2000. 

The National Capital Commission provided a contract for his work in 2000, and has continued to support and fund the project to the present. The National Capital Commission is an independent federal government agency, which regulates the public lands within the National Capital Region. 

In 2009, ORA (Ottawa Rock Art), a non-for profit company, was established; the purpose of this company is:
i) Produce balanced rock sculpture projects, including the annual
“Art of Balance” project at Remic Rapids, Ottawa.
ii) Choreograph and sponsor “performance artists” & events.
iii) Providing "art of balance" workshops for schools and art organizations, with lecture and demonstration.
iv) Promotion of the region’s “environmental tourism”, ecological awareness & Canadian heritage.

Ceprano began to produce permanent sculptures for residential and commercial purposes in 1999. Since that time, the sculptures have been produced with the assistance of sub contractors, landscape architects, and construction companies within the National Capital Region. The permanent sculptures are based upon the balanced rock sculptures, but are installed with foundation, rebarb, epoxy, and are carved. Each production is in collaboration with the client, and installed in such a manner which refers to the environment provided. 

Ceprano has maintained his practice in painting and photography, which are usually related to mythology, climate and the current affairs. There are numerous publications on his work and will be provided on this site, under the header of "Publications".

Thank you 


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