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New York, NY


2023-202Grant Transparency: multi-media sequential installation

Scholarship 2019-2020, 2018-2019, 2017-2018, 2016-2017

Grant 2015




Paul Michael Wright is a painter, illustrator and story teller who “uses figurative portraiture to tell personal narratives about coming of age, community, and nostalgia.” He will use this grant to create a mixed-media series titled Transparency.

Wright's series Transparency is a thematic analysis of the duality that lies within the portrait. The sequential installation displays 9 works layered on acrylic transparencies, painted in acrylic and oil, and framed in wood to convey depth. This layered series captures the body as a metaphor, using the form, materials, and color to tell a deeper narrative of the subject's adversities and duality of our personas, egos, and collective repressed identity.

In short, Transparency takes a critical view of the shadow of a portrait versus the Self which is your true inner nature, who you are, and who you always will be.

“In this series, I aim to deconstruct traditional norms of what it means to black, feminine, masculine, and most importantly human. My three-dimensional pieces encompass everything that I love to examine, see, and expose in painting – a luring subject, beautifully painted, with a deeper story that's not apparent at first glance.

“As a black gay artist, I document my perspective of my life by telling my truth and relative stories through my paintings while creating a conversation within the community. The purpose of this is to visualize my trauma and transformation and create a relative story to help those who are in a similar situation. This series acts as a mirror for myself but also for humanity. It's been said that the hardest thing for a person to do is to be themselves. Transparency is defined as the quality of allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen, but for me, it's a desire to look inward and allow myself and others to be vulnerable.”

Wright graduated from New Orleans Center for Creative Arts in 2012, received his MFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts in 2021 and his BFA from Parsons The New School for Design in 2019. In New Orleans, he has exhibited at the Contemporary Arts Center, George Rodrigue Gallery, the African American Museum and 5 Press Gallery. His work was shown at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC in 2009. He has been an artist-in-residence at Adobe, Cow House Studios in Wexford, Ireland and the Joan Mitchell Foundation in New Orleans. He works as a freelance muralist, collaborating and completing four major projects in the last year with companies such as Vidmob, Spotify Resorts World Casino, Lionsgate and Nola Station. He has given back to the community that raised him by serving as a mentor and studio assistant at YAYA. He is currently a teaching artist in New York City.

Paul Michael Wright first joined the YAYA Guild in 2007.

All works are copyright of the artist.

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