Love and Water- Your cards are just beautiful, and each one is so touching in such a unique way. How did you come up with the idea for Rino Cards?
Jan Horvath- We started Rino Cards around seven years ago, when we decided we wanted to have our own business that we really loved and were passionate about. Rino has been a painter his whole life, and we had always made our own Christmas cards that our friends and family really enjoyed. I’m a concert singer, and I had some time in between concerts and thought this would make a good business for us to work on together. We started off slow, as each card is handmade, but have continued to grow, creating one card at a time. Slowly but surely it has grown to 148 images.
L&W- Where do you find the inspiration for the art on your cards, Rino?
Rino Li Causi- My art is just a part of me. It’s the way I see my life. It’s the way I feel. I make the cards but I also have paintings, poetry, sculptures and songs that are all my expression of who I am, and it’s what I will continue to do. The way I see it with my art, if the money comes, that is great. But this is what I love to do, so I continue from that perspective to create what is meaningful to me.
L&W- Where can people find Rino Cards?
JH- The cards are on our website, and they’re also in various bookstores in NYC. You can find them at the Barnes and Noble near Lincoln Center, the Barnes and Noble on Greenwich and 8th Ave, and Rizzoli Book Store on 57th St., between 5th and 6th Aves. We are starting to approach publishers because Rino now has a full body of work, and they’re selling well in the stores in New York City. The only problem we anticipate with a publisher is how to avoid growing too fast. Because each card is handmade, we don’t want to run into the problem of not being able to fill all of our orders. We want to keep the art our main focus and not get into mass-production. Right now we’re very happy with the fact that we have enough work to put in a few bookstores and to watch them sell. It’s amazing to get positive feedback from customers. I ran into a man who was buying a card for his daughter’s birthday and he said he just loved our cards. That’s a great feeling.
L&W- It’s so wonderful that each card is handmade. Will you custom design videos for people as well?
JH- Yes! We would love to do that. This is our first foray into making videos, and that is definitely a possibility. We’d love to find a way to market the video further, and right now we’re just giving it to the world to see the kind of response we get. So we’re definitely open to making others.
L&W- What is the most moving moment you’ve had working together?
RL- We can fight a lot when we work together, but we have made so many wonderful things happen at the same time. I think for me, this is the most important thing. Because we have so many good moments together and we discover new things about each other through our work.
JH- Rino is used to working by himself, and I’m from the theater world, where it’s all about collaborating. So it’s often foreign for him to allow someone else to collaborate with him on his work. When we decided to do the video, I took his work and the song he wrote, translated the song to English, made a recording of it and made a video collage of his work to go along with it. It was unnerving to him while I was working on it because he didn’t know what to expect. But once he saw his art come to life in the video, it was a really special moment. And the fact that he wrote the song for me was also very moving.
L&W- Did Rino write the music for the song as well?
JH- Well, since he doesn’t have musical training, he wrote the lyrics and starting humming in my ear the tune he was hearing for it. I took that and tranlated it to the best of my ability, and came up with this song.
L&W- It’s such a beautiful, touching song. I understand you wrote it in Italian first?
RL- Yes, and I sang it in Italian. You can see that on YouTube as well. I take inspiration from Jan. My age is 66, and my brain is so young and wants to do more and more, and I’m very excited about working further. You will see more from us.
L&W- I hope so! How does it make you feel to know that your cards are selling so well?
JH- Both Rino and I get a kick out of the fact that we can put our art out there and it helps other people express their emotions. It’s such a privelage. We’ve had such positive feedback from the cards, and I’m really touched that they can give people such joy.
RL- Sharing our dreams with others and seeing their interpretations of it is really amazing. It’s a satisfaction when someone loves my work and it keeps me going. It makes me want to share more.
JH- I think also as a painter one doesn’t have an audience standing there, applauding every brush stroke. So when people respond to our cards, it feeds Rino in a new way that is so gratifying for me to witness. It’s really wonderful.