Paolo is a British-born artist currently residing in the United States. Originally trained as an illustrator, he began teaching himself sculpture and woodcarving in 2011. His journey in sculpture began whilst whittling a mermaid under a tree in the Pyrenees mountains. The process of turning a twig into a mermaid struck him as a magical one, and he has been hooked on sculpture ever since.
His first project was a series of wooden boxes in the shape of heads, which allowed him to practice sculpture while traveling. Directly influenced by his nomadic lifestyle, the boxes are small, lightweight, and hollow. After settling in the United States five years ago, Paolo was able to start making larger sculptures and began experimenting with felt.
Best known for his bizarre, whimsical, and dreamlike creations made from foam and needle-felted wool, Paolo’s sculptures give viewers a glimpse of a world inspired by myths and fairytales, Jungian theory, and Gnosticism. Often influenced by outsider, tribal, and folk art, Paolo strives for a clean and pleasing resolution of form in each sculpture. By combining grotesque imagery with the softness felt, he uses his sculptures as a comment on the dichotomy of beauty and ugliness.
Most recently Paolo has exhibited his work in the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York and the Samek Art Museum in Pennsylvania. He has been featured in various print and online publications including It’s Nice That, Hi-Fructose, Juxtapoz, Design Boom, and Colossal.
Paolo loves collaborating with other artists, so get in touch if you have a project in mind.
As an artist, I draw from the deep waters of the human sub-conscious, visiting a landscape of dreams to retrieve ideas and characters that form the basis of my sculptural work. My sculptures present a contrast between the familiar and the foreign, the inviting and the unsettling. Oftentimes this contrast is found in the relationship between two characters within a sculpture. In many of my pieces, characters find themselves locked in a power struggle with symbolic and totemistic animals. In other instances, this contrast is found within individual characters, as they find themselves at odds with their own identities. I frequently use masks in my work as a symbolic device to convey the theme of contrasting identities. I particularly enjoy reversing the traditional concept of the mask; using the calm and serene face as the mask, which is removed to reveal a monstrous face beneath.
It is my hope that the work I create challenges the viewer to examine the deeper nature of a subject. By obscuring the boundary between beauty and ugliness, the safe and the dangerous, the inviting and the repelling, the familiar and the foreign, the graceful and the grotesque, we are forced to consider that one might also be the other. Through that notion, we are able to encroach further into the otherness of our dreams and imagination than we might otherwise fear to tread.