Conversation With Artist Giovanni Leonardo Bassan
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Conversation With Artist Giovanni Leonardo Bassan

Romain

Giovanni Leonardo Bassan is an engaged artist. Originally from Italy, his artistic journey began at the Art School A. Martini in Schio, followed by Politecnico di Milano where he graduated in industrial design. He currently lives and works close to his mentor Michele Lamy, in Paris. We discuss his position as the Head of Furniture for Rick Owens, but also how his travels and volunteering projects impact his creative work, and what causes matter to him as an artist and individual.

What is your favorite quote?

Giovanni: My favorite quote is “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice ” from Neil Peart.

We feel a revolt in your work, where does it come from? Isn’t it a signature of an entire generation after all?

The revolt is always an answer. It is a reaction of a contemporary social and political situation and I definitely feel that is a signature from young generations through time that is just manifesting in different forms each time.

You participated in various volunteering projects, what causes matter to you?

The cause that matters most now is, without doubt, the climate crisis. It seems the person in charge are not yet recognizing the alarming state in which we are. Also, my volunteer projects supporting the LGBTQ community in Uganda, and helping an orphanage in need in Pokhara (Nepal).

Giovanni Leonardo Bassan for Good Manners and unfiltered
Giovanni Leonardo Bassan for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni

What do you like the most about your country?

I LOVE Italy, hands down on that! Love the culture and the history, the traditions and the values in which the country stands strong… Love the food and the charm of the ‘Dolce far niente’, people taking the time to do things they like. Unfortunately, I wish Italy was more open-minded and respectful to diversity.

And Paris?

Paris, I have a hate and love relationship with this city.

How did you meet your mentor, Michele Lamy?

I got the chance to model for her when I was still in college and once she had to pick me up from the police station when I was in trouble in Paris, and let me stay at her place. From there, it was love at first sight! [laughs]

Giovanni Leonardo Bassan Michele Lamy
Giovanni Leonardo Bassan for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni

As Head of Furniture for Rick Owens, you probably meet a lot of fascinating artisans, how does this inspire you in your Art?

Yes one of the best parts of my job is indeed the relation with the artisans. From marble to wood, bronze to all kinds of resins I get inspired every single day by the research of new techniques and materials, I love working with my hands and being close to these great men and women gave me the chance to learn a lot. For example, my last sculpture that was exposed in Venice at Ca d’Oro during the last Biennale was strongly inspired by that.

Speaking of creativity, I was told you launched your first independent Art Exhibit in Paris by yourself, in collaboration with photographer Pierre Ange Carlotti, can you tell us more about this event and how you managed to do it?

Yes, my first show was a duo-exposition with my talented friend Pierre-Ange Carlotti. in 2015, we were spending a lot of time in my studio with some friends and other artists. And at some point we realized that both our work was going in a same direction, and started to see similar forms. We were working individually but we were also very communicative with each other. So, one day we decided to clean up the space and give the opportunity to our friends to see our work.

With the help of a few friends, we put together a show that was displaying my drawings and his photos and the feedbacks we received for this project was beyond our expectations.

Giovanni Leonardo Bassan Head of Furniture Rick Owens and artist
Giovanni Leonardo Bassan for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni

Who would you love to collaborate with?

I would love to collaborate with other contemporary figurative painters such as Guglielmo Castelli, Gio Black Peter, Paul P, Chloe Wise. I know all of them personally and on top of being great artists, they are also amazing persons.

What is your favorite word in French?

Je ne sais pas. (it means I don’t know)

How do you start your creative process as a painter?

It always starts from an observation of my surroundings and documenting with my analog camera the people around me or the most extreme situation I can find. And then sketching them in my studio in complete solitude.

What your Ideal self-care day looks like?

My ideal self-care day starts with some meditation in the morning, even 5 minutes makes a big difference. And then is a mix of healthy food, sports, some good time with close friends and solo time in the studio.

Giovanni Leonardo Bassan unfiltered
Giovanni Leonardo Bassan for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni

As a world traveler, what is your favorite destination?

This is a hard question, because I loved in different ways all the countries I visited. However, India is the one popping in my head now that I’m thinking of. Next on my list, I want to visit Argentina, Vietnam and Mexico.

You went to Los Angeles several times, including for the “Rick Owens: Furniture” exhibition at the Moca Pacific Designer Center. How does this city where Art is everywhere inspire you in your creations?

I love LA! And I spent a lot of time there for different projects but what inspired me the most there are definitely the people. The individuality and strength of the friends I met there is something unique that inspired my paintings and drawings.

Giovanni Leonardo Bassan for Good Manners by Sylvie Castioni
Giovanni Leonardo Bassan for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni

We recently rewatched the movie ​Eat Pray Love​. Julia Roberts travels to Italy where eating is part of the beauty of life. As an italian yourself, what is your perfect menu?

I have to admit that I haven’t seen this movie yet, but food in Italy is an art. The respect that food gets from people is something I don’t see anywhere else in the world. Maybe only Japan comes close to it. May sound a bit cheesy but the pasta my mom cooks is simply the best.

We like to share empowering stories and advice from inspiring people, who do you think we should interview next?

I had a guardian angel in India, his name is Kshitj Kankaria. I will definitely suggest you guys to interview him, his artistic vision and freshness really struck me.

Read the full UNFILTERED Series HERE[/mepr-show]

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Romain
Romain

Romain Wawrzyniak is our Editor-in-Chief. His enthusiasm and kindness make his guests feel comfortable creating intimate conversations and priceless insights.

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1. a way in which a thing is done or happens.