Paolo Arao





My Time In Wassaic


Please write a paragraph (or a few!) about your time here in Wassaic. You should say a bit about yourself, where you came from, how you got here, what media you like to work in typically, and what you chose to work on while you were here in Wassaic. Then talk about what Wassaic means to you, how it influenced your work, and what you might want others to know about Wassaic. Write from the heart and write in natural language. We want people to get to know you through this work. Be sure to embed hyperlinked words within these body paragraphs, so that we can link out to your portfolio site, exhibitions, movements, etc. Have fun with this!




By Drew Broderick, June 2018

Where do you call home?


Why do you make art? Have your reasons changed over time?

I make art because I can't imagine doing anything else.

What have you been reading lately? Thoughts?

I'm reading a few books right now: 1) The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino-Americans Break the Rules of Race by Anthony Christian Ocampo, 2) Queer/Documents of Contemporary Art, edited by David Getsy.

What drew you into the contemporary art world?

I would have to say artist residencies became the entryway into the contemporary art world — meeting artists from all parts of the world and creating a sense of community.

How would you describe your work/practice to a total stranger? To a friend’s 5 year old child? To a grandparent?

I make paintings, textile constructions and fabric collages. I'm interested in exploring the elastic concept of queerness through abstraction - specifically geometric abstraction. My work uses bold color and soft geometry to create playful, queer, and dynamic paintings.

What are your studio essentials? What is something unexpected a visitor might encounter?

A sewing machine (I work with textiles) acrylic paint, colored pencils, fabric (both commercially bought fabrics and second-hand clothing) a rotary cutter!

Influences: we all have them regardless of whether or not we acknowledge them. Who or what currently inspires your work?

I love looking at textiles and quilts (especially quilts from Gees Bend) I've also been looking at the work of Alan Shields recently.

What were your intentions for this residency and how have they changed since being at the Wassaic Project?

I'm preparing for a three-person exhibition in July at Mother Gallery in Beacon, NY. The work I'm making and finishing up here will most likely be going to be included in the exhibition.

What role does community play in your work, and how has community shaped your experience of this residency in particular?

Community is crucial. I think being an artist today would be so much more difficult without the support of a community of artists who you can share ideas and experiences with. Learning from the experiences of other artists is so invaluable.


I make art because I can’t imagine doing anything else.
— Paolo Arao

Photos by Walker Esner