Sculptor who is deaf and blind inspires people through his art
A student at the Helen Keller National Center in Port Washington who is deaf and blind is inspiring people with his art sculptures
"Families and friends will tell people who are deaf-blind, 'You can't do this, you can't do that,'" says sign language interpreter Ilissa Sternlicht as she interprets for Tony Giordano. "I show people how hard it is, but that you can get through it."
Giordano was born deaf. He led an adventurous life, traveling the world and riding dirt bikes. But all that came to an end when he lost his sight to diabetes in 2018.
"It is very frustrating, it's scary, it's frightening, it's very hard," Giordano says.
Giordano moved into the Helen Keller National Center in Port Washington to learn how to navigate his new world of darkness.
It was at the center's art therapy class where Giordano found himself in what he lost. Drawing on his nearly 30 years of experience as an auto mechanic and wielding skills, Giordano discovered a gift for creating sculptures from copper tubing.
"It was me relying on my tactile skills, a lot feeling, a lot of troubleshooting, problem solving and using my hands," Giordano explains.
His teacher, Antonia Isnardi, says his artwork is an expression of his personal mettle.
"I think his artmaking is proof that things change, and you can make beauty out of chaotic situations," Isnardi says.
Giordano is making a name for himself in the art world. His sculptures are featured in museums and galleries, including at the Manhasset Art Guild. A piece that is the sign for "I Love You" recently sold for $1,000.
"The fact that she was so happy purchasing this piece from me made me so happy," Giordano says.
Giordano hopes his artwork will inspire the world to see the deaf-blind community more clearly.
"People who are deaf-blind can do things just like anybody else can," he adds.
Giordano says he hopes to create a life-sized copper sculpture for display outside the Helen Keller National Center in the future.