You’ll know their names and their wonderful designs, but what do you know about their backgrounds and sources of inspiration? Joanna has been chatting to some of the top artists whose original stunning artwork is transformed into craft products and featured on her website.
In this blog Joanna talks to Robert Giordano, of Giordano Studios, the artist behind many popular design Joanna has featured on her website.
1. Where do you get your ideas from – what inspires you?
Inspiration can come from so many areas. My family inspires me, through their interest, support and love. Nature is also a great inspiration. Each Spring I marvel at the activity of songbirds in my yard, how hard they work looking for nesting material. As my wife and I prepare the garden after a long winter, among the many other Spring commitments like trade shows and family celebrations, I think of the birds and realize we are all part of the same world, each busy in our own way. The budding flowers and the world becoming green again inspire me to create.
2. What do you enjoy most about your career?
The day-to-day changes. One day I might be asked to develop a new Kitten design, the next it might be Santa on a rooftop. It could be July and 100 degrees but inside the studio clients are putting together lines for a year to 18 months down the road so they just might be needing winter and snow. Being self-employed allows me to attend daily family events be it in the afternoon or during school hours. However as the principle in the company, I know discipline is a very important word and sometimes the business of the day never ends. I also enjoy seeing our art bring joy to others, sometimes we take that for granted as we’re so focused on business, our fans and consumers remind me of that and I’m grateful to hear they like what we do.
3. What do you like the least?
Being dependent on the state of retail and consumer spending. It’s getting difficult for retailers to keep the same business model and so much of our world has changed. It’s important to build good relationships with manufactures who look to our studio to keep their lines fresh.
4. Are you a night owl or a morning person?
That depends on the season! In the summer I’m definitely a morning person. I love to fish and find solace in being on the water well before sunrise. My wife also gets up rather early for work so the days of sleeping in are few and far between for us.
5. If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
I would have liked to go away to school for college. I went to the School of Visual Arts in NYC about ten miles from where I was raised and, although I loved the education, it lacked a social and campus-like lifestyle and I’m a social person. No regrets, but I think it would have added a different perspective to my formative years.
6. What is your favourite childhood memory?
Growing up in a wonderful family I’m fortunate to have so many. Sunday dinner with my extended Italian-American family, averaging 22 to 28 people, all in a smallish dining room in my Grandparent’s apartment. Sketching with my Dad and brother Greg at the Museum of Natural History or one of the city’s Zoos and myy Dad stepping in when we were finished to critique in a positive way.
7. If you had to choose just one of your designs as your absolute favourite, what would it be?
The one that has sold the most! Probably one of the teddy bear designs from our Bearhugs collection. It’s rather simple, a snowman holding a teddy bear in his arms while two others who look like the baby’s siblings build the snow around him.
8. Who do you think has had the most influence on you?
Hands down my father Joseph Giordano. Not only was he a great artist, he was a great father and husband as well. His influence on me is endless in so many positive ways. He started our licensing business in 1980 and I worked with him from 1984 until his passing in 2011. He was painting 24 hours before he passed on, doing what he loved all of his life. He worked out of his home studio and, where I mentioned having to be disciplined, that comes directly from him. He was always working, always trying to design the next series to bring us success. He worked hard and played hard, enjoying the beach, the sun, his family and friends, not necessarily things that only come from financial success. Other influential artists are Winslow Homer, Frank Benson and John Singer Sargent. You can see their influence in my fine art, primarily seascapes and maritime in theme.
9. What was the last gift you gave someone?
I bought my son Luke a pair of white shrimp boots for our fishing ventures for his birthday. He’s 14 and growing like a weed so his old ones were too small. Our fishing boat is rather small and wet and it’s comfy keeping your feet dry. I wish I could say it was some fabulous gift for my wife Maureen for mother’s day, but hanging plants for our porch has become the norm the last few years. Note to self, sparkle her next year!
10. Do you have any future plans you’d like to share with us?
Just to continue bringing Joanna Sheen customers the Giordano brand be it Puppies and Kittens or some other lovable critters. It’s been great working with Joanna and the Joanna Sheen design team. I’m delighted with what they’ve done with our art applying it to the craft and made by hand industry.