Born in Italy, Renata Spiazzi had a passion for the arts at a very early age, but when WWII came she had to learn shorthand and typing in a hurry. “My father was a seaman and his ship was under the British, while my mother, my sister and I were under the Germans. I had to find a job to be able to support them,” she recalls. After the war, Renata got married and moved to California, and soon was back into perfecting her craft. She finished her education in Arts & Crafts, and worked in an artist’s studio.
In 1939, Belle Baranceanu painted a mural called “The Seven Arts” on the Auditorium wall at La Jolla High School. She also did a wall at the La Jolla Post Office. They were all part of the WPA project. The Auditorium was demolished in 1976 because it was declared unsafe. Belle died in 1988 and was extremely saddened by the demolition of the school mural, which she considered her best work.
In 2000, La Jolla High School’s graduating class of 1960 was considering a gift to the school. Sandy Brabon and Ida Jessop, both graduates of the 1960 class, were asked to do a mural as a gift to the school. They were painters of murals found mostly in restaurants here in San Diego and south of the border.
The graduating class asked the two ladies to reproduce the mural on the wall of the new Parker auditorium, but there was a problem with the placement of the figures. The mural done by Belle was around the face of the stage, while in the new auditorium, the proposed wall was a long horizontal strip of 90’ in length and 9’ in height.
They had never been faced with anything this huge, and came to Renata Spiazzi asking if she knew what could be done. Belle had placed “The Seven Arts” around the face of the stage. As soon as Renata saw the image she knew the solution. “I made a scale model of the new wall, and placed “The Seven Arts” on it." The grid for the design was done 1” = 1’. Brabon and Jessop enlarged the design accordingly.
It turned out to be a handsome project. “We are all very proud to have preserved Belle’s Masterpiece. Although Belle was not there for the dedication, she definitely has a smile on her face now.”
Renata's own work has recently received an honor when she was named by MOCA, the Museum of Computer Art, as one of only 17 "Grandmasters of Digital Art". According to the museum, this selection was carefully made after study of the thousands of artists who have exhibited on their site in the 19 years since its founding. View at: http://moca.virtual.museum/grandmasters.htm.
Here is "Bridge", a digital painting by Renata Spiazzi.