The Giufà bookshop is certainly one of a kind in Rome, located in the University district of San Lorenzo, halfway between a literary café and a bookshop, offers a selection of sophisticated books from the Italian and international markets, leaving space for graphic novels, comics and picture books.
Giufà means to sit comfortably, enjoy a good cappuccino and perhaps let your eyes linger on a fantastic book written by an author who for some reasons you had never heard of before. In addition to what has already been said, the Giufà Literary Cafè organizes events regarding book presentations and sometimes even reading groups which are held at least 5 times a month.
Thursday, April 11th Fabio Visintin (notorious Venetian illustrator and cartoonist) altogether with designer and critic Riccardo Falcinelli presented Historiate, a book of illustrations and sketches by various authors which explains to the reader what’s behind the world of a book cover.
Here comes the interview given by him for FIRST Arte:
Have you ever been to the Giufà bookshop before?
“No, but I’m happy to be here now, I have been very well and I have the feeling it is one of those places where you can find the books you can’t find (laughs), the difference however is made by the booksellers, and the importance of a bookstore that is also a comfortable place where to sit and sip on some tea becomes essential.”
Was it hard to start working as an illustrator?
“In a sense, it is always hard… I mean clients always change and your work always changes, I have been working for 7 years with the “Corriere dei Piccoli” and in the blink of an eye the newspaper got closed. You have to know how to reinvent yourself, this is a job that, apart from the fact that involves the action of drawing, it often changes in all its other aspects.”
Would you have preferred to be a cartoonist or would it have been too stressful?
“For a certain period I worked as a cartoonist and it was also beautiful, let’s say that actually I was just a comic author, I would never have been able to draw a Tex for instance…being an author has its beauty because it allows you to tell stories, but I must say that by doing illustrations I found my balance.”
Is making book covers an art? Is there some art in it?
“Here at the beginning of Historiate I added a definition made by Milton Glazer, which is one of the tutelary deities of the world of illustration. He says that art is a work, tells us to try to replace the word art with the word work, so…when a work meets well with the client’s expectations is simply a good job, instead when a work is excellent in the way that even we don’t know why it moves us it can be defined as an excellent job, and that work suddenly becomes a work of art.”
Making covers, do you try to represent exactly the world which the writer imagined in his/her book?
“I love writers very much, I am very fascinated by what they write and it makes me happy to please them, when I summarize the true visual conception of a writer’s book it gives me great satisfaction and makes me very happy.”
Do you have any anecdote you would like to share?
“An important book cover for me has been the one for “The Eternal Night of the Rabbit” by Giacomo Gardini that made me really shine with the publisher: at the time Gardini was a newcomer in the Literature World and yet his book sold several copies. Suddenly an article came out where a literary critic said to not know this author but to have been intrigued in reading it by the book cover.
This was a big point in my favor, publishers usually say that if a book does not sell it is the cover’s fault, in the case the book sells well instead the cover has nothing to do with it, but that time it had a lot to do with it indeed.”
Written and Translated by Gerardo Iannacci.