City Sketch: Joseph Bellacera

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Joseph Bellacera thrives on patterns, and each day brings fresh opportunities to discover them, whether he’s admiring mosaics while on vacation or fixating on cracked asphalt closer to home. “I kind of examine things like as a child, when you discover something for the first time,” he explains.
When the West Sacramento painter translates the forms and designs into his artwork, he does so with fetching vibrancy. Take “Patterns of Flight Over Winters,” a 22-foot-long, multipaneled piece recently completed for the Winters Community Library. Bellacera depicts fields, marshes, even roadways in his aerial “snapshot” of Yolo County. The result is a luminous mix of lines, contours and circles painted in turquoise, salmon pink and other rich hues, along with Plexiglas and aluminum.
Bellacera, who spent much of his childhood in Solano County, holds a master’s degree in art and worked in commercial design for several years. He began showing his paintings two decades ago, and continues to exhibit locally and out of town. In 2004, he quit his day job to devote himself to art in his studio—across the yard from the studio belonging to his artist wife, Paula Wenzl Bellacera.
Lately, he has focused on public commissions. Among them: a whimsical, oversized sculpture of books for the West Sacramento library, and aerial “farmscapes” for Lodi Memorial Hospital and the UC Davis Medical Center.
Bellacera and his wife travel a lot, which has further sparked his interest in patterns, whether visiting the Byzantine mosaics of Istanbul’s famed Hagia Sophia church or reading about sacred geometry in architecture and art. “Patterns are a way of processing the world around us,” he explains. Visit josephbellacera.com to see more of Bellacera’s art and to learn about upcoming exhibits.