|Gipi, Stripburger 45
Interview with Gipi
Gipi (Gianni Pacinotti, his pseudonym is of course the Italian
pronunciation of his name's abbreviation) is probably
The title of the extensive anthology that was published last fall in the Graphic Novel series (a weekly supplement of Repubblica / L'Espresso in association with the Cococina) is no coincidence, nor is the title of his website, Baci dalla provincia, Kisses From the Province. The Italian province, geographically undefined, is, along with the labyrinths of the adolescence, the Italian's leit-motiv in his latest works. These two poles coincide with the drawing style, the sequencing that sways between the character- and word balloon- rich pictures and wide panoramic images. A master of seemingly loose lineart, supplemented by watercolour or diluted ink, handpicked his story Two Mushrooms to be published in Stripburger.
Lately, you’ve been in
Gipi: I live between
location is very important for your narration and
your style of drawing this change can lead you towards new stories.
G.: Certainly. I used to
tell stories based on my way of life and I did not pay attention to
people’s lifestyles. Recently, my way of life has changed; partly
become older and partly because I earn more money then I did when – I
earn anything. I can no longer tell the kind of stories I used to tell.
would write a story about youngsters on the street now, I would feel
hypocrite. I am in a different world now, one that I haven’t learned to
yet. I’m in a strange and very difficult period.
P.: There is a
prevalent provincial feeling in your comics.
They are also intimate explorations and discoveries of realities where
passes much slower than in the city.
G.: It is a question of
spaces and aesthetics. I spent the last 20 days in
understand. Wouldn’t you agree that this is a general
Italian issue nowadays?
G.: For me it is a question
of personal growth and social status change. I traveled to
P.: No, that is
not true; it’s a phase in evolution, it is an
exploration of a different style in a new period of time. If your
been very coherent, then the form of your representation has changed.
it used to be more concrete, more picturesque and more descriptive and
later acquired a more radical language. I really like your refined
your careful observations of nature depicted so well in your diary-form
stories, stories possessing a width and depth, like the story Two Mushrooms you chose for publication
in this issue of Stripburger.
G.: The landscapes never
represented a question of aesthetics for me. They represent The Spirit.
draw the sky, I don’t do it because I like to draw clouds, I do it
feel the imbalance of power when I look within me and when I look from
inside out; when I see myself as a human being I always feel small … So
only way to show the inner misery – since that is what interests me
people, their smallness – is to juxtapose it to something very clear
P.: This is a
time of rethinking the language of your comics,
then. You are looking for new forms of narration, be it through film or
or other ways that might bring you to a new way of seeing your world.
G.: The issue has always
been there. I always had periods when I would get really into other
music, video … And every time a tiny inner voice would tell me:
just wasting your time.” But then, when I would go back to writing or
I’d see what has happened when I was filming or writing a scenario or,
recently, playing music. I spent ten days in the studio and kept
myself: “You shouldn’t play, you should draw!” And when I got back to
realized that the rhythm of narration has changed! Know what I mean?
I have a clearly defined path but I keep getting lost and keep doubting
is the path of narration, narration combined with images. But when I
something it is absolute, it seems like my chosen path.
P.: Essentially, it is a different way of thinking about a story.G.: I think so, yes.
P.: These things
are connected. It happens to other painters as
well that they use a variety of media. Explorations of forms don’t have
meant for themselves. You can always choose another medium; music,
video … They
are always explorations of the self.
G.: Yes, because music creates an energetic effect which cannot be created while you sit in solitude at your drawing board. When I draw, this energy stays with me.
P.: And yet we speak of a specific form of expression.
G.: It is a form of expression and primarily, a rhythm.
P.: It is a vision.
G.: Certainly. Speaking in the language of film this vision comes back to you when you define frames or when images settle in you after you’ve been staring through the camera lens for too long. For instance, I never use photos; which is to say that everything I do has to be seen through an analytical observation of forms – as opposed to a superficial and artificial gaze. OK? When I observe nature with my analytical eye, the images stay in my memory and imagination and they become quite reliable material for further use. When I draw a story, I never use neutral backgrounds with moving people in the front. It’s like I would have a real frontal scene and I’d move backgrounds into it. This camera perspective turns into a storage of images which are later used in the story. Everything is connected. The problem is I tend to forget about it and then I worry…
P.: So you don’t keep a sketch book, you learn as you work.
G.: I made many sketches, I have drawn from nature a lot, but that is all past now. Now, I hide myself in my studio and work. I think that my last book, S. (Coconinopress, 2006), the one about my father, has drawn a line. It represents the end of seven years of thinking, of a way of writing and drawing. And now I am here, I finished one game and I still have to find a way to start a new one.