With Eyes Wide Open: Pacifico Comics
10.05.2021, by Martina Iaconageli
What would happen if characters from beloved songs left their records and took shape, took life, began to think and react? Would it be a dream coming true, or would we ourselves turn into a dream?
Pacifico, nom de plume of Gino De Crescenzo, is among the most eclectic and yet delicate personalities of the Italian musical landscape. He is a writer. He writes songs, he writes poetry, he writes articles and reviews on other artists, and he is a singer as well. He sings about time, about love, about certain bitter doubts arising from dreams and from our very existence. His new peculiar collaboration with Franco Matticchio, a Master of dreams on paper, is a true dream journey through the characters of his songs. Pacifico wrote the music and Matticchio drew, and as they did so they slowly came to life, the girl seen from behind watching the sun set over the sea, the woman putting on a record and listening to it naked on her sofa. The room comes alive, the room where each of us stands, with its furniture and mirrors, the objects that surround our private moments. A man wakes up inside a curtainless window, and stands there perfectly still as time flows and the house wakes up, the house upon the hill, the house that takes flight when swallows come to announce that spring has come.
In this article we have gathered the information that Gino himself gave us about his songs, and about everything that happened in between the music and the pencil. Songs and drawings that are as valuable as all that helps us discover the world and, perhaps, even some small part of ourselves, something that we never knew was there, or we forgot.
ALL I KNOW ABOUT LOVE
“All I Know About Love” is a song in the mirror. When your guard is down, and you abandon your arsenal of poses and excuses, you look at yourself and you have to admit you’re still you, and that your love stories are a faithful reproduction of yourself – Pacifico explains – Matticchio opened his drawer full of “Suspended Moments”, and took out an instant on the brink of sunset. A girl seen from behind, as though hypnotized by the slow yet inexorable descent of the sun. As we look at her, we can also feel the last warmth of the day upon our skin.”
IF THE SKY WAS ENOUGH
“If The Sky Was Enough is a drone-song.
It is a flight over the city at night. The city flows below us, we watch it as it sleeps its fitful sleep. All around are skinny dogs, their ribs on show, fighting over the leftover food that spills out of overturned bins. Gaggles of kids, wrapped in smoky sweaters, crushed together in economy cars rumbling with music. Deserted ring roads. Blinking, perplexed traffic lights, like lost tourists longing for information.
A few lit windows in the buildings. One guy is studying for an exam, and for days now he hasn’t changed out of his pajamas. Another one has been following the same ritual for years, preparing half of his day the night before, with meticulous, mechanical gestures. His clothes folded on the back of a chair, his leather satchel left open for one last look before he leaves the house, his coffee machine full and tight, waiting for the hob to be turned on.”
“On my commute between home and my studio I often walk past a mother and her daughter. The mother looks pretty on sunny days, but grows older when it rains. She is always wearing the same man’s coat, several sizes too big. On her feet, which are bare even in winter, a pair of flip-flops. Her daughter, a girl of about twelve, is constantly running circles around her, singing and hinting at dance moves. The mother stops at every pile of garbage, at every storage unit for discarded clothes. Cardboard boxes, piles of junk and scrap. She dives with half her body into the bin, throwing jackets, sweaters and shirts onto the pavement. She examines them, and if they’re in good shape she gives them to the girl, who stuffs them inside a duffle bag.
The mother is always distracted, preoccupied. I’ve only ever seen her smile once. That morning the girl was pouting, sick of that neverending search for clothes and objects to salvage. As a sign of protest, she took out of her bag a golden bomber jacket, hugely oversized, and put it on. She was walking ahead, resentful, her arms crossed. Her mother’s mind was on other thoughts, but she smiled as she watched her stubborn, rebellious girl, looking like a golden balloon balanced on a pair of skinny legs clad in yellow tights. The mother always has one last thing to check before leaving the house, while her daughter is already out of the door, singing, and eager to go.”
“My mother, elderly but still alert, lives in a respectable two-room apartment.
She keeps it obsessively clean, though there are a few lapses she would never have tolerated in the past, such as a wet rag abandoned in the middle of the living room, a few white hairs inside the shower, an upturned slipper in the corridor, far from its mate. I go visit her and, when I leave, she often says goodbye from her armchair, smiling and telling me I don’t need to worry. I leave her there, gather my stuff and go out, shutting the door behind me. She turns a lamp on and watches TV; or she keeps on sewing, squeezing one eye tight to thread her needle. This image I had of her was the starting point for this song: my mother sitting on an armchair, in the pool of light from a stem lamp. Her and her thoughts, hazy figures that take advantage of the darkness, or silence, to return. Destiny is a ghost. I imagine it as the fog that creeps over the plain at night. It slithers by our doorstep as we sleep, amassing the years in front of us. Our future will be a direct consequence of today, and that is why some say fate is in our hands. But something unexpected may slip into the hours that have been long planned and awaited. And this will translate into jumps for joy and hands raised to the sky, or desperate, uncontrollable sobs. I wrote about a song’s destiny, which is like writing about nothing. I imagine Matticchio snorting as I jabber about control and the unexpected, ignoring my descriptions and planning instead one of his gentle pranks. He ended up drawing a house upon a hill, standing there straight and still the whole day long, under the sun or the raging storm.”