This time I will tell you the story from end to beginning, starting from when I was leaving Los Angeles to go back home in Italy. At the security check up I get stopped and I’m asked to open my carry on bag. The hostile faces of the American officers are interdicted, they don’t understand. What are these irregular pieces of rubber? They’re look like hollow oval balls. They grab them; one is in a pistol shape even. Not understanding what’s going on, after a while, they begin to question me. The answer is easy, they’re molds of the hands of the stars. They’re the result of this past week of work in Los Angeles. The curiosity becomes morbid; the officers want to know whom the molds belong to. To my answer their faces become more relaxed, a little shocked and a little dumb. Listening to the names of the celebrities that they love so much makes them mellow. Wising me a safe trip back to Rome.
For me it was a very hard week of work, the jetlag and the wait at every appointment before I meet with the celebrities. But this time the satisfaction doubles. Between the stars there is an international movie legend. He might just be the last star standing. I this hand that I will turn into a sculpture will be the most exciting one. I leave this story for last; it was the last appointment in real time. The appointment was April 14 th at 14 o’clock in Santa Monica. A very elegant street, warm summer sun, we stop the car. My friend Maurizio from Rome, who now lives in Los Angeles, accompanies me. We ring the bell of this Disney looking home, sloping roof, all wood, a little yard and the typical white fence. All tight together, it looks like a miniature home with well curled curtains on the windows. The door opens up and behind the door…
A giant, the home seems even smaller, but it’s normal size. The Incredible Hulk opens the door, yes the actor that used to interpreter the real muscular character, Lou Ferrigno. The whole situation is very fun but he’s a real giant, very funny and polite. He show me his grandparents photo right away, they came from Italy to America in the 19hundres. He proudly declares his Italian roots from Amalfi. It seems really weird to think of such a Hollywood character speaking with an Italian accent.
We get comfortable in his living room to start working on the mold. His hands are also giant, I think to myself how much bronze I will need to make this sculpture, and it’s 30cm like a size 42 feet. I place his hand next to mine and it looks exactly double the size. Thank god he’s nice and funny, the complete opposite of his character. Otherwise I would have been in trouble. Time goes by fast while he tells me personal stories and anecdotes of his set life. We take some photos together; he rights a praise to Mano Artigiana. Hugs and kisses (always dangerous due to his strength). While we walk back to the car, crossing the front yard, I turn around and I see him in front of the door, HULK, he says goodbye with his giant hand and says “Arrivederci, don’t forget my sculpture”. Don’t you worry Mr. HULK, I will do it just right. I wouldn’t go back if that wasn’t the case.
Mano Artigiana & Hulk