Tony Giordano demos his copper sculpture technique for Port Washington kids
Anthony (Tony) Giordano, a DeafBlind artist from Helen Keller Services, visited students at Weber Middle School in Port Washington this week to demonstrate how he creates his unique industrial copper sculptures.
Ms. Sweet and Ms. Gober’s core extension 8th grade class sat silently watching Tony assemble a version of his now-famous “I Love You” sculpture, made of 1-inch copper tubing. The original sculpture recently sold at a Southampton art gallery for $1,000.
“This was an amazing and unique experience for our students to see the abilities and artistic passion of someone who is DeafBlind,” said Ms. Gober. “We learned about the challenges Tony faced after losing his vision only four years ago. We were captivated by Tony and his artwork and how genuinely he presented his passion.”
The school visit was made possible by the Port Washington Ed Foundation, which has funded American Sign Language opportunities in Weber Middle School.
“I enjoyed using my art to connect with the students in the classroom,” said Tony. “Now they know just because someone has lost their vision or their hearing doesn’t make them less capable of expression through art or any other medium.”
After the presentation, students asked questions, such as “Do you dream?” “How do you know when it’s time to wake up?” and “What was your favorite sports team?” He also communicated to the students, via tactile sign language through interpreter Ilissa Sternlicht, with stories of his life before his vision loss, and being a member of the Deaf Surfing Club and visiting all these surf towns in places in California, Hawaii, Australia and Japan. At the close of the program, students lined up to shake his hand and fingerspell their name into the palm of his hand.
Tony was born in Brooklyn, NY and made a career as a trained auto mechanic, working for nearly 30 years in a variety of autobody shops on luxury car types including Tesla, Mercedes Benz, Land Rover, Porsche and Ferrari. He holds 12 certifications in welding.
Tony lost his sight due to diabetes in 2018. He is currently a participant at Helen Keller National Center, located in Port Washington, NY, where he is learning skills for employment, independent living, communication, adaptive technology, and creative arts, working with his art teacher, Antonia Isnardi. Tony has found a new passion for art, especially sculpture.
Tony was recently the star of his debut gallery exhibit at Loves Art Gallery in Southampton, NY, where he sold his first piece of art, a larger-than-life-sized hand made of copper pipes, titled “I Love You,” to artist and collector Jennifer Contini for $1,000.
Asked to leave some parting words, Tony said, “If you ever see a blind or DeafBlind person walking on the street and they look like they need help don’t be afraid to go up to them and help them. Help them cross the street don’t be afraid.”
About Helen Keller Services
Helen Keller Services (HKS) a national non-profit working with individuals who are blind, have low vision, are DeafBlind and/or have combined hearing-vision loss to live, work and thrive in their community of choice. HKS offers services and programs through two divisions: Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults and Helen Keller Services for the Blind. For more information, please visit www.helenkeller.org.
—Submitted by Helen Keller Services