Gianpiero D’Alessandro is one of the greatest illustrators, graphic designers, and artists of the 21st century. GianPiero was born in Sant’Anastasia (Naples). He was noticed by Justin Bieber and became one of his top collaborators. Gianpiero is the sole designer of Drew House, the apparel brand recently co-founded by Justin Bieber and Ryan Good.
But he also designed the various promotional fonts of the singer’s latest single, "Yummy," as well as the Drew House "Yummy" limited edition tee-shirt. Gianpiero is the brainchild behind the inbetweeners NFTs, together with his long-time childhood friend Pasquale "Pavi" V. D'Avino, who serves as CEO for the inbetweeners NFT. Gianpiero has collaborated with some of the greatest artists of the 21st century and fashion industries such as Dolce & Gabbana, among others. Gianpiero has been featured in some of the most prestigious journals and magazines, including Forbes.
Gianpiero, welcome to the leaders' show. It is a great honour and pleasure to have you here. What has struck me about you is that, apart from being one of the best artists of the 21st century, and working with some of the most inspirational musicians and fashion industries, including Justin Bieber, Dolce & Gabanna, you are an incredible human being. I would love to know more about Gianpiero, the man behind these successes. How would you describe Gianpiero in your own words? What are your passions and hobbies?
Very nice this first introductory question! Over the last few years, especially in the early stages of Covid or during the lockdown, I have learned to analyze myself better. I understood many things about myself that I had never understood because I had never stopped to think about it. I have always been an extremely sensitive and very emotional person. I have always let myself be carried away by my instincts and my ideas. One of the things that makes me feel alive is enthusiasm. I love being able to still get excited after so many years of career. I'm a dreamer disguised as an artist. I love to cook and I really like to write. In short, I am creative at 360 º.
You were born in small-town Sant’Anatasia near Naples, Italy, where you spent your childhood and developed a passion for art. What was Gianpiero as a kid? Did you always know that would be part of your life? Was there anyone or anything that inspired you in your career? Since I was a child I have always been very lively. Ever since elementary school, I have always loved drawing and I remember my teachers scolded me very often because I drew everywhere: in notebooks, on desks, on walls… In short, just everywhere. I've always been driven by my strong ambition, I wanted to become someone who matters, I wanted to leave my mark on this planet and let's just say I'm working hard for it. I was greatly influenced by Andy Warhol who in my opinion managed to break that boundary between artist and creative and this certainly spurred my creativity to do better and better. Without limits.
You are collaborating with perhaps the most talented musician of the 21st century, Justin Bieber, who is also very humble and has believed in your work right from the start. How significant was it to you that both Justin Bieber and Ryan Good believed in you? Let's say that people like them can go to anyone and ask them to collaborate instead Justin Bieber who was very impressed by my work decided to believe in my potential. During these years our relationship has become like that of two friends, the same thing with Ryan Good, one of the best people I've ever met.
Obviously, for me, this experience was the umpteenth cornerstone of my life. I remember that 2017 was a very special year for me, I had lost a lot of stimulus and until the first months of 2018, I was at a standstill and was unable to create. Among the many questions I was asking myself about my career, Justin Bieber stands out who, with his words and his esteem for me, gives me back the emotional charge to get out of my dark period. I am very grateful to Justin and Ryan and the Drew House for giving me back the grit I could no longer find within me.
How does it feel to be the main designer of Drew House, a community that aims to allow people to be themselves and feel safe and loved? How do you balance productivity and fun with your co-workers?
Being the designer of all the Drew House characters is really cool. We have created a community of people who love and follow all the ideals of the brand. This experience enriched me a lot because I learned a lot from the whole team. I've always had free space to create whatever came to my mind. Today I can certainly say that Drew House is one of the most popular brands in the world.
Can you tell us a little more about your NFT collections called "inbetweeners"? What is your favourite artwork?
inBetweeners is an NFT project featuring 10,777 different teddy bears. It’s like my son. It was born following a trip with my business partner (and my best friend) took to New York. After meeting with a group of developers that I had already known we decided to found this NFT project. Personally, I didn't know much about the subject but I was intent on creating one of the coolest projects ever created. And thanks also to the help of the entire inBetweeners team, we can say that we did it.
Also for this project, since we had already been talking about it for some time, I decided to involve Justin. A few days after the launch, during a call I told him: "I'm about to launch an NFT project, it's a very cool thing, you'll like it .." I didn't even finish talking and he immediately told me that he wanted to be part of it and obviously this gave more power to the project. The most interesting thing is that we are developing the project as a brand even outside web3. One of my favourite works of the project is just the one that JB has as a profile picture.
What do success and kindness mean to you? Why are these important in your life?
Success is like a pass to be able to do all the things you like. When you are successful, people tend to believe in your ideas even more and this makes the ways of collaboration very easy. I'm not much interested in success in its ephemeral part. Instead, kindness and the person you are really making the difference.
All the people I work with or interact with love me because I've always behaved well with everyone. I have always given an example: knowing how to do something is important but being a good human being is the most important thing of all. There will always be another person who will decide whether or not you should do something, so the winning weapon is to be loved and to treat all other people well.
Pablo Picasso once said:
"Art is a lie that makes us realise the truth."
How much do you relate to this quote?
I think Picasso could not express a truer concept. Very often I create works that want to hide some of my moods by focusing attention on other things. But it is precisely through some works that people can learn to read between the lines the truths that the artists are trying to hide.
What advice would you give to many aspiring young leaders out there who dare to dream big regardless of the circumstances they may face?
The advice I always feel like giving to younger kids, especially the difficult times we're experiencing after the pandemic, is to never stop believing in yourself. We have to be our own biggest fans every day. Don't think about those who say you won't be able to achieve something. The reality from which I come is not very open-minded, even today it is difficult to make people understand that mine is a job and yet with perseverance and determination I have succeeded by going against all people's prejudices. Be hungry be crazy. As Steve Jobs said. Indeed, without madness, people hardly pursue their dreams. Never stop doing what makes you happy!