Philip Giordano

“I do not think there is a pre-established age to become an artist. If you have something to express, you can do it even at the age of 80.”

Hello Philip!
How would you describe yourself – who is Philip Giordano?

A restless person, who tries to understand something of the world around  him making illustrated books. ( I was born in Liguria a small region in the north of Italy )

Could you please tell us a little bit about your background and the path that led you to where you are today?
When I started my illustration course in Torino I was 20 and my goal was to make naturalistic/scientific illustrations for magazines.

I was fascinated by the idea of traveling around the world with a notebook taking notes of plant and animal species. Since my childhood, I  had the dream of traveling and drawing animals and plants as an explorer of the nineteenth century, with the aim to become an illustrator for magazines such the National Geographic.

For me, illustrations meant the naturalistic ones, born from a close observation of nature. That is why I have never drawn the human figure, avoiding it for years from my works. Only by participating to a tour organized by my school to the Bologna Book Fair, I discovered the world of picture books. I was surprised by the idea of expressing something I had inside, telling a world of pure imagination. I thought: ” Let’s try to make a book!”

What three words come to mind when you think of your style? How did you develop it?
Geometric, animals, melodramatic. These words represent the essence of my characters, created with geometrical shapes, often animals, with a melodramatic expression.

Can the creativity be learned later, or is it a feeling that is always within the human being?
I do not think there is a pre-established age to become an artist. If you have something to express, you can do it even at the age of 80. But it is necessary to find a medium: I found it in picture books.

What would be your perfect day?
A day spent walking in a forest.

What’s your morning ritual?
Breakfast with coffee and carrots juice. not mixed!

What are your three must-read design books/blogs/ podcasts?
“La mela e la farfalla“ by  Iela and Enzo Mari, two Italian designers. (an Italian blog about picture book )

What are your top five songs on your playlist?
Aldous Harding – Imagining My Man
Ravel – Une barque sur l’ocean
Grizzly bear – Shift alternate version
Franco Battiato – Cuccurucucu
Blonde Redhead – Here Sometimes

You’re born in Liguria. Now you landed in Tokyo. What draw you to Tokyo?
I’m a big fan of the master Hayao Miyazaki. I saw the first film of the Ghibli studio when I was 5 years old. It was a shock for me. I fell in love immediately. I think my link with Japan began at that time.

What artistic inspirations have Tokyo given you that Liguria wasn’t able to?
Tokyo is a box full of colorful things from all over the world. A concentrate of interesting selected stuff, which catch my attention.
When I need some inspiration I immerse myself in this rich minestrone soup. I like walking around the city and pick up some little treasures, like a vintage Japanese book from a second-hand market, a delicate ceramic from a hidden tiny shop,  or a little crazy character stored in a forgotten box.

How do you think the city that you live in affects your work?
All the objects I collected in this 7 years in Tokyo are in my studio, around me. It’ s a kind of tiny fragile world. A reflection of what a like. Vintage Books, ceramics animals, plants, wooden and steel box, paper statues, etc… a miscellaneous that you can easily see coming out from my illustrations.

If any readers find themselves in Tokyo… Please give us your top tips!
Jimbocho the district of vintage second-hand books.

Could you give us three fun facts about yourself?
I’m obsessed with karaoke.
If I were not an illustrator I would be a singer.

Finally, is there something you wish interviewers would ask you — but never do?

Thank you!