If you were to attempt to describe the work of Giovanni Randisi (@gosleep_) you might use adjectives like “surreal” or “moody”, but we have found no words to accurately encapsulate his art. It is certainly mesmerizing and eccentric while at the same time beautiful and stimulating. Regardless of what descriptors your mind ascribes to his pieces, they are altogether intriguing and so we found ourselves speaking with Giovanni in detail about his art. Here’s what came out of our conversation!
My name is Giovanni Randisi. I’m a 34 year old Canadian from Montreal. Waiter by day, music producer by night. When I’m not busy with that, every second of extra time is spent on photo editing - a fairly new hobby that became a drug - a perfect companion to my introverted life style. Which is why I love Instagram. You get to interact with like-minded people, but also keep a safe distance.
I grew up with a massive love for music. I went through a lot of phases, but when I heard Idioteque by Radiohead for the first time that was a game changer. Electronic music opened a door that I will never close. The beats, textures and atmospheres, all that great music gave me such an urge to create my own. Once I got the tools to do it myy social life was gone and I became a hermit.
Films play a big role in where I get my inspiration for both music and photo editing. I can’t go through a day without watching at least one movie. Visionary directors like Terry Gilliam, David Lynch and Harmony Korine are just a few of my favorites.
I’ve always loved taking photos. Especially when I first got Mextures. That’s when my photos started to look good.
A little over a week ago I bought my first Polaroid camera. It’s an SX-70 and I really love it. So much so that I bought three others (different models). There are two amazing Polaroid photographers on Instagram that are responsible for this: @briansphotographs and @brunoroids. Check them out and you’ll see why I’ve been splurging with my money.
These are the things that drive me to create everyday. It’s what I live for.
What was it that prompted you to start taking pictures?
I started taking pics when I got my first iPhone. I fell in love with Instagram as it brought eyes to my photos. All I was using were Instagram tools and filters at the time, so I began to hunt for photo apps. I wasn’t really impressed by any of them until I found Mextures. I couldn’t believe how perfect it was. I had finally found an app that would enable me to have my own look. The endless possibilities excited me.
All of the men on my dad’s side of the family are established photographers which is why I was never interested in it at a young age. Taking wedding photos was not what I wanted to do. I only realized later on that there are many creative paths one can take with photography.
When I was in high school I was in no way, shape, or form an artist. I had considered graphic design as a career choice, but the more I thought of it, the less interested I became. I didn’t want to sit in an office and design things that don’t interest me. Boy, do I ever regret making that choice. Sadly, I now know that I would be a force to be reckoned with if I had taken that course.
How would you describe your style?
My visuals can be described as surrealistic collage forms. Blending found images in discordia to create a whole new dreamy art in uniform and linear design. Much like my music and layering of sound and rhythm, my style subsequently assembles composite pictures into one seamless photographic print. They usually provoke feelings of solitude. Colourful dark tones. As I mentioned earlier, being a huge movie buff, Sci-fi is a huge inspiration in my work. Whether I’m editing portraits or landscapes, all of these elements come together.
What is it that you’d like to communicate with your work?
I wanna walk you through my soul, releasing my bottled emotions - what I feel about people and the world in which we live. This kind of honesty keeps me motivated. It’s my passion. But most importantly it’s my survival instinct. And, every part of me is in there - an open book with no words.
What inspires you to create more than anything else?
Mystery. The strange and unusual. I’ve been a conspiracy theorist for the past four years. Although I prefer to call it “seeking out the truth”, what I've learned in short, without getting in to details, is that we are living in a sci-fi horror film. As much as my work can be absurd or surreal, it’s actually a very close depiction of our world. There is so much truth that is passed off as fiction, and so much fiction in our distorted reality. As much as it’s scary, it's all so incredibly fascinating. The mystery of our world. The mystery of why people are the way they are. This is what inspires my work more than anything else.
What does your editing process generally look like?
My day starts off by collecting a bunch of photos from Unsplash, dragging them to Dropbox, and importing them to my phone.
UNION APP: I use this app every day as all my blending is done there. All it's missing is a blur function. I would love to be able to blur images as I'm editing in Union. Besides that, I have nothing negative to say about it. I've tried many other apps for blending, but I always come back to this one.
MEXTURES: I use this app religiously. I can't get enough of it. There is just so much room for experimentation. The endless possibilities excite me. I’ve created over fifteen-hundred formulas. Addicted would be an understatement. I love clean looking photographs and edits, but I'm a super fan of textures and dark tones and Mextures is the best app for that. The new Dust and Dirt pack is a major addition. I was pretty much hoping for exactly that..and it came. This is why I love Mextures, and I hope they keep adding new packs.
90% of my work is done from these two apps, but I also use Brainfever apps; mostly Lenslight but Circular app is also awesome. There's Pixelmator, PicsArt for it’s blur effect, also Glitche, Matter, and I recently picked up VSCO. Ever since I started to take my own pictures using my Olloclip, I like passing them through VSCO first. All of these awesome apps contribute to my work and the effects I can create with them are what keep me coming back for more.
Would you care to share some of your Mextures formulas?
ZHTPGHI - orange - This will give a really nice glossy orange look to your images.
NATKQYF - exclusive - I made this one specifically for this interview and I love how it came out. It’s clean. No dust or scratches. Great for any style but especially portraits. Fore is one of my favourite textures as it sort of does a semi-vignette effect. Rotate it to highlight the right spot on your image.
UIQWKKW - totems flare - An old b&w formula that I revamped. What makes this formula is Heliotrope in difference mode dialed in at 81%. It will give a very subtle inverted effect to the dark parts of your image.
XNWLTJE - shore-line - This is a really nice clean, soft, and warm formula. Good for any style, but especially portraits and landscapes. Abalone makes this one - another favourite Mextures texture of mine.
Do you feel like Mextures offers anything unique to your editing process?
So much. I’ve said this before, I wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t for Mextures. What appeals to me more than ideas or the content of an image is its aesthetic. Mextures provides endless possibilities to finish a photo. I discovered my style thanks to this app and it continues to develop more and more. The whole concept of formula sharing is wonderful. It has helped all of us own our craft. When I first got Mextures, I didn’t know what blending modes were and I wasn’t using the adjustment tools. This is probably why I was so amazed by what people were doing with Mextures. I learned a lot by simply importing people’s formulas that I had collected. At the time, I was blown away by some of @subzer.o’s formulas; they helped a great deal. There was one formula in particular that I fell in love with, it really inspired me, and that's the day my formulas started to get good. The formula was by @nevandoyledesign and it was shared via Mextures Collective. It's a learning process, but the results are limitless for each individual using the app.
How has social media played a role in your work?
Social media put ears on my music and eyes on my visual work. Not only did it offer me a fan base, but it has allowed me to connect with so many talented artists from around the world. It has been a dream of mine to discover like-minded local artists, actually meet up with them, and develop solid friendships. We tend to learn from each other - swap tips and tricks. And, being observant is what’s taught me everything I know, so watching the artists I follow - their style, their technique, the mediums they use - has been a great learning tool. Social media has not only helped me realize that I am an artist, but it’s contributed to my growth and inspiration as an artist over the years.
What do you think makes a memorable piece?
Vision and skill. If you’re as good as Beeple, than all of your pieces will be memorable!
Sometimes a memorable piece can tell a story. That’s how artists communicate. And if people connect with your story, then chances are they will remember it. Sometimes they don’t. The piece may just be visually enticing. Much like seeing a beautiful woman walk down the street. You don’t really know her story, but you will most likely remember her because she appeals to your own personal taste.
What has been your favorite piece to create?
I love side profile double exposures. And this one is easily one of my favourites. Head in the clouds. Anyone can relate to that. And the figure adds some poetic mystery to it.
What have you found to be your biggest challenge in developing your work?
I just want to say that if it were concerning my music, I would have a ton of challenges to talk about. I started photo editing to overcome these problems. This interview itself has been my biggest challenge in this medium. I just don't have the energy to convey my emotions and creative process into proper words sometimes . It's like a collage for me; a blending of images with layers of textures and colors and honestly, I think the process just comes to me, or it doesn't.
You recently started posting to a second account. Where did the motivation for that come from?
I won a competition not too long ago hosted by Brainfeverapps and TheAppWhisperer. The prize was an Ollo clip. I had no idea what it was at the time, but honestly, I’m so glad that I won it. Olloclip is a company that makes lenses which clip on to your iPhone. The lens that I won is a 4 in 1 lens but I only use the macro. I didn’t know I would like macro so much. It’s a whole other universe.
Once I realized how much I liked it, I opened a new Instagram account called @phosleep. People expect epic edits from me, so I thought that my macro shots wouldn’t be appreciated if I shared them through my main account. Opening a new account is nice but, it has its setbacks; one being that I don’t have my all of my followers so it's starting right back at zero. It’s been a slow start but I feel blessed from the amazing support I've gotten so far.
Photography is now a full time obsession of mine. Last week, I purchased my first DSLR camera. It’s a Nikon D5100 and I got an AF-S Nikkor 35mm lens for it. (I wanna give a special shout out to @teyleen for helping me choose this camera and lens). I’m hooked. I can't seem to put my camera down, which is good because I need all the practice I can get.
Who are the people that have most inspired your work?
I can take inspiration from anything. But I'll name the artists from the Instagram community that influence me the most:
Do yourself a favor and check out more of Giovanni’s work here!