Words: Dustin Strong
Photos: Giovanni Angelone
Where you’re coming from can be just as important as where you’re going. We recently had a chat with Giovanni Angelone on his life in Southern California, why he relocated from Texas, and why his parents are the most inspiring people in his life. If ever we were to take our days here in Southern California for granted, surely Gio could serve us up a good reminder and dose of perspective. His view on this place is just as refreshing as his publication, Waversons.
California by way of Texas. They say we never leave our roots behind us, how have they shaped your work and aesthetic? What have your brought to our sandy shores from Texas?
Well I would say more than anything from Texas would probably be a work ethic type of a thing, just getting shit done. Basically coming up with something and being able to do it, having people trust that if they’re working with me it's gonna get done and I’m going to do it well. It can be very lackadaisical here at the beach, but in Dallas there isn’t really time to hang at the beach it's more hard work and getting shit done.
Why did you finally make the move out here? What were those first few months like? You’ve made a wonderful life for yourself and a stellar contribution to the local surf culture, how did that happen?
I think what brought me out here was recognizing, from the times I visited, there was an opportunity to be creative, more so than somewhere like Dallas because it’s very corporate and big business and that wasn’t me. I wanted to be at a place where I could be creative and it wasn’t weird. The first couple months were kind of nuts. I landed in a neighborhood where the things I was into and seeing online from Texas were right at my front door. The guy who was shooting videos I liked was in the neighborhood and surfers I was following were surfing out front. There was a certain style I liked and it was right out at 68th street in Newport and I was able to just start shooting everything I could.
How did you end up at Thalia?
I started with Thalia when we first started to do Waversons and I had always liked that vibe, even before I moved here, and eventually we built a relationship and it translated into what I’m doing now which can be considered brand development. It includes anything from in-store shaper relations to the shop’s online presence.
What does a day here in California look like for you?
Get up early, get the coffee and music flowing, check out photos, do some design work, surf, try to capture new stuff, go meet with anybody for the shop. It depends every day but it’s a blessing to be able to make a living doing the things I love.
We’re very in love with Waversons, the print of it, the content, the whole delivery is on point. What are you after when creating a new issue?
We wanted to do something different than what we were being exposed to. Specifically for me, what I liked about starting a publication was being able to use it as a tool to pick certain photographers, artists, musicians and models to work with. I just wanted to be influenced by something, pick a story in my head, and find someone to fill that space. It’s really just who fits the direction of the issue, and lately a lot of the same photographers and people that are involved are always going to fit.
From where, what, and whom do you gather your influences?
One hundred percent my mom and dad. My mom plays a huge part of design stuff for me, mid-century modern influences come from her. She has the most incredible collection of furniture and knick-knacks and that plays a big role for me now. My dad for music and style and fashion, he was always on top of what was new and trending, but kind of just sprinkled it in and was very stylish. Another strong influencer right now is local Laguna Beach artist Jim “The Modern Beachcomber” Olarte. He has an extremely positive aura, amazing work ethic, and incredible ability to stay present. His motto is SEXY MODERN TUFF.
You recently photographed Matteo on his road trip through Southern California. What did you guys get into? What was that day like?
I had him come in to check out the place, shot a little bit in my apartment. Then we went to some spots in Laguna and shot some photos. The next day I shot him surfing at Blackies and he was out. It was a short trip for Matteo.
Your prints on wood and glass are stunning, what moved you into printing on mixed materials? Any crazy ideas for what you might use next
Shooting so much digitally gets boring and seeing my photos on a computer screen all the time was not doing enough. I have a friend named Jordan Minardi who is an awesome artist and designer. He had an art show up in LA and was doing transfers himself and I thought it would be fun to try to do some stuff like that with some of my photos. I like the fact that every transfer I do is different and I like that I can do it on repurposed wood. I think what I’m going to do is incorporate other things into the wood and the transfer.
Digital or Film? And why?
I like both, film because I like being surprised by it and I like that you don’t have to show the subject the photos so that’s kind of fun. I love the little special things you get from film because you don’t always get exactly what you anticipated. I love all those old analog style cameras; I have an over-the-shoulder VHS camera I love to mess with. The cool thing about shooting digital stills is that you’re guaranteed consistency even though I don’t do much work like that.
Coffee or tea? From where?
Definitely coffee. Right now if I’m in Newport it's Alta. If it’s down here in Laguna it's Laguna Coffee Co. But mostly here at home.
If you had a theme song what would it be?
There have been some really fun Italian versions of songs I’ve been hearing but for the most part right now it’s a bunch of The Velvet Underground stuff.
Do you still have a Texan accent?
People think you’re from Texas so you’ll have a country accent but where I’m from in Dallas it’s just a big city. Both my parents grew up in Cleveland but there are definitely a few words that I say where you could hear it a little bit.
Which RAEN silhouette is your everyday wear?
The Luxury Wig Collection is my thing for sure. Alex’s stuff is rad.
If you could only surf one wave for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
I’ve only been surfing about 5 years now so I’m not one to say which wave I’d chose in other parts of the world. But I’ve grown very fond of places here like out back at Thalia St, Three Arch Bay, El Morro, 56th St in Newport. If any of those spots were pumping then that’s where I’d want to be.