Both A Business An Artistic Success
Almost a decade ago Lucien Casartelli decided he would push the limits of his capabilities as a sculptor and artist by becoming proficient in CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) technology. He wanted to reach the point in his artistic career of being able to say, “If I can think it, I can make it.” As a result, in 2004 Casartelli with no previous experience began taking classes in CAM at Optipro Inc. a nearby Mastercam CAM software reseller. Soon he was producing some “pretty fun stuff” on the 4-axis router he had purchased.
Eventually he added a 5-axis CNC Router, CNC plasma cutter, laser scanner, and two computer-controlled spray booths to the arsenal of digitally-controlled tools at his 10,000 sq. ft. workshop. There, he supports his artistic endeavors along with Bella Designs, a commercial furniture design and woodworking venture that serves clients such as artists, architects, interior designers, furniture makers, custom vehicle makers, and homeowners. It turns out that Casartelli’s decision to become thoroughly grounded in CAM has been very good for both Lucien the artist and Lucien the woodworking businessman.
Rochester’s prestigious Nan Miller Gallery featured Casartelli’s sculptures in an exhibition early in 2013. “Contrast and Contours” was a mixed media exhibit that displayed Lucien’s smooth, colorful, twisting sculptures alongside metallic paintings of the Brazilian artist Hamilton Aquiar. The exhibit was well received and Nan Miller, in a newspaper interview, asserted that Lucien’s investment in and study of advanced technologies has absolutely projected him into a “whole different level from what most woodworkers and furniture makers do.
Bella Designs has four employees and much of the work is focused on high end commissioned furniture and doing custom millwork for other furniture designers who do not have extensive CNC manufacturing capabilities. Lucien has also found another interesting and satisfying customer base— other artists who have not learned how to translate artistic vision into computer-modeled end results. Casartelli’s shop provides a clean, safe OSHA-approved environment where these craftsmen can learn and work.
“I like being on the cutting edge;” Lucien says. “And I like using technology to expand our skills and capabilities. Most artists can’t afford to bring this kind of production-caliber equipment into their own studios. But we can help them take advantage of it here so they can maximize the value of their originality and talent.”