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Chitchatting with Friends: Philip Giordano

Questions and answers to enter the world of Philip Giordano with his colorful and surprising creatures, happily landed even on the shores of Nanban.

Where does your passion for drawing come from?

I believe it’s closely linked to another passion of mine, that of nature, animals and plants.
As a child I watched documentaries about Nature and dreamed of traveling and classifying animals and plants as a nineteenth-century explorer. So I drew them in intricate forests, immersed in kilometric sequences of leaves joined together. It is funny to remember it now: they make me think of the Japanese emakimono scrolls; those that unfold horizontally.

My relationship with drawing is strange.
I am grateful to have this ability, because drawing kept me afloat in difficult times.
This privileged relationship between me and drawing is perhaps also due to the fact that I am dyslexic and for many years I found it difficult to express myself with words.

What are or have been your work's reference points?

At the age of 5 I saw the feature film "Nausica of the Valley of the Wind" by Hayao Miyazaki.
Among the protagonists there were insects, caterpillars, but mutant, gigantic caterpillars.
Everything was new and different in this cartoon.
The graphic and visual imagery, the music, the antimilitarist ecologist poetic, the post-apocalyptic scenario.
It was like an explosion in my head.
It was the same invisible world that I observed among the leaves of my home garden, but on a human scale.
The protagonist was not a man but a young girl, a female heroine! (at the time quite unusual on TV) that had taken to heart the fate of mutant caterpillars.
I wanted to be like Nausicaä: a champion of the ugly, the derelict, of those who are different from others and are marginalized.

Where are you going now?

In a broader and deeper sense I wouldn't know what to answer, in fact I think I lost myself.
Let's say that right now I'm going to my favorite ramen shop...
A guarantee.

What's your connection with Japan?

In the last seven years in Tokyo I felt like I lived in an upside-down world: in suspension, inside a bubble, surrounded by the sea and far from everyone.
Living in Tokyo was like looking at the world through a mirror that returns reversed images.
When I think of my past life in Japan I feel a certain melancholy, which is perhaps due to that feeling that the Japanese call wabi-sabi (侘寂), that is, of nostalgia for something that is now past, far away and that will never come back.
A lost world that exists and resists only in memories and in some object bruised and dusty by the patina of time.

Japan is a world to which I would have liked, quite naively, to belong.

How important is music in your work? what are you listening to right now?

Music, along with food (desserts in particular) is a source of immense happiness for me.
I listen to it a lot... It also helps me to bring out certain inner images that I use when I paint.
In this period I am on the romantic symphonic: I am listening a lot to the soundtrack of Terrence Malick's last movie (Knight of Cups), Shéhérazade, a Ravel's unfinished work, a bit of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps, Björk's Utopia and, to stay on the subject, Stolen from strangers by Jun Miyake.

A secret wish.

To live in a garden house (do you know the "Mur Végétal" by Patrick Blanc?), surrounded by a forest, with a tropical winter garden where to set up my studio and certainly a Japanese corner with tatami where to sip a sencha tea accompanied by mochi: a dream, precisely.