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All the colours of the sea

di Giuseppe Raimondi – Giampaolo Talani is the great artist of Partenze (Departures), a fresco covering 70 square metres in the central hall of the Santa Maria Novella train station, Marinaio (Sailor), a seven metre sculpture that dominates Pay Day Loans the tourist port of San Vincenzo, and many works of great emotional impact created with sentiment, great technical mastery and an unmistakable style.
We find out straight from the artist.

When did your love for painting begin?
It’s always been there since I was a kid. I went to art college and the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. As a young man I frescoed the church of San Vincenzo.
My first exhibition and successes then began.
Mine is a simple story. All my work is permeated with the search for simplicity. We must tend towards simplicity, which is exceptional; on the other hand, we’re often very good at complicating life, forgetting that the simple things are often the least banal.

What are the themes of your works?
In my paintings I actually talk about simple things and sentiments: love, searching for that other person, solitude, departures, discovery… Emotions that everyone feels from time to time.
I like people’s stories, the stories of sentiments – the sentiments of others.
Other themes that I prefer are the sea, the wind, music and femininity.
Love is still one of the most important values: meeting and understanding one another. That’s art for me.

What is your relationship with music?
Since I was a child I have always been attracted to music. I come from a family of musicians and I studied piano for ten years. But I had other interests. I still love it and I have a collection of pianos and electronic organs. I love to play jazz and blues. I’d like to know how to play better; now music is a hobby above all. It is the goal I’ve pursued and never achieved.

What about your relationship with the sea?
The sea is my life. You could say that I was born under a parasol. I live in San Vincenzo, 30 metres from the sea and it has always been a daily experience for me.
My family has a bathing establishment called Venere. I worked as a lifeguard for 25 years, with everything that entails, from the hard work of management to the responsibilities of lifesaving, as well as the wonders of summer romances.
Working as a lifeguard gave me a lot in terms of the poetics of being a painter, putting humanity on the canvas once and for all. I believe very much in mankind; the man who created Brunelleschi’s dome and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, but also the terrorist and man who released the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. That’s mankind, but I’m still an optimist and there’s always hope – like a rose that you grip between your teeth.

And the figure of the sailor?
Sailors are curious, they have the willpower to go beyond, to understand others to understand themselves. I feel like a beached sailor, but at the end of the day we’re all sailors – even in the town or mountains.

What does it mean to be Tuscan?
I’m proud to be Tuscan and I admit that I have all the faults of being Tuscan; we’re polemical, quarrelsome and argumentative, but sincere and never bad.

Do you have an anecdote that you’re happy to remember?
In 1992 I was received by Pope Wojtyla as I was commissioned to fresco the Palazzo Vescovile in Massa Marittima.
I turned up wearing something that was a bit too sporty and the secretary wouldn’t let me through. I started to talk back and politely yet firmly discuss the matter. After all, I have wearing a tie that was in tone with my – leather – jacket.
At a certain point, we realised that the Pope was behind us. He had followed the discussion and was laughing. Yes, he laughed, fit to bursting; he was bent in half with laughing – after all, even he is a man.
The matter was resolved and the Pope actually said sorry, saying that I was an artist and that I could therefore wear what I wanted. From then on, I’ve always felt freer in my dress sense… Well, the Pope said so!


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