Deafblind artist Tony Giordano led an adventurous life, traveling and playing sports, before completely losing his sight and hearing to diabetes in 2018.
“I was into everything. I loved adventures,” the Brooklyn native said during a Newsday interview on Tuesday, listing bike riding, snowboarding and basketball as some of the pastimes he had reveled in.
Giordano sat with two interpreters at the Helen Keller National Center in Port Washington, who helped him communicate using tactile sign language — where he grips someone’s hand to signal his questions and responses.
An auto mechanic by trade, Giordano, 58, agonized about what to do next after his sight and hearing losses. The North Carolina man moved into the center in November 2021 to relearn basic skills like mobility and orientation.
Being deafblind doesn’t necessarily mean someone is fully deaf and fully blind, but rather that the person has a combination of vision and hearing loss, according to the American Association of the Deafblind.
While reinventing his life, Giordano said getting into art was not something that crossed his mind — at first.
“I didn’t have any skills. I didn’t know anything about art,” Giordano added.
But after taking a creative arts class at the North Shore facility, Giordano began to discover he enjoyed it. Drawing on his nearly 30 years of experience as an auto mechanic, his welding skills and various spontaneous bursts of inspiration, Giordano began pouring himself into what’s become his specialty — designing metal sculptures.
More than a year later, Giordano now is getting recognition for his art pieces.
In December, Giordano made his first sale of a sculpture, a larger-than-life hand made of copper pipes and titled “I Love You,” to artist and collector Jennifer Contini for $1,000.
He also was the star of his debut gallery exhibit