Issue #140

Paola Citterio

La Penelope con le Palle

I was Born in 1964 in a small village close to Milan. In 1986 I received a MFA in Scenography from Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, NABA in Milan. For the next fifteen years I build my career as Production Designer for theater, movies and commercial productions between Milan and Rome. In 2001 I moved to New York City where I opened a restaurant in East Village with my best friend Chicco Piadina, future husband and father of Amelia and Ercole. In NYC I found artistic inspiration in my family life, creating sculptures that blend the traditional craftwork, I learned from the women in my childhood home, with found metal object. I am an independent artist, unconventional venues are my favorite place to show my work, I love to engage my audience with the space and the pieces and discover them inside and out.

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What do you do in your life (work and fun)?

Like most New Yorkers I am very busy, my daily routine is run a family business, LellaAlimentari, and run two little humans.
So this is what I do for fun; there are times when I have to push, prod and pummel my way through life. Then, there are others when I let life lead me. My work develops in much the same way. I often have no idea where it’s going when I begin.The joy, for me, lies in the uncertainty; in embracing that void. The raw materials are all here: my yarns and the lost metal object found by family and friends in this city I love. It is the process that is a true revelation. I use a needle felt technique. Which translates into hours of constant jabbing, pushing, probing, puncturing. This repetition, the relentless rhythm of it, creates a momentum. A momentum that not only gives a birth to the piece itself but that also transports me. Making my sculptures is my way to escape from everything.

What made you leave Italy and chose NY?

I left Italy cause I fell in love with my best friend who moved to NYC, because He fell in love with my best friend who lived there (now She moved back to Italy). I Loved New York City at first site, after sixteen years, with a family, two restaurants and my art, I continue to feel myself on vacation.

Please share your best memory in the City.

My best memory was in 2000 when Chicco brought me cross all the New York City bridges on his BMWR80, we screamed for happiness as much as we could. After three years He decided to sell the motorcycle, with my disappoint, cause we discovered my pregnancy, we screamed for happiness much as we could!!!

What made you choose this specific location and outfit?

I chose Governors Island for many reasons.

Governors Island stood as silent sentinel in New York Harbor, and provided protection of the ideals represented by Statue of Liberty across the bay. Today I think it is the best getaway from the city, as well as incredible views of the New York skyline. When you are there you seem to go back in time, than you turn around and you can see the Megalopolis with all her modernity.

Governors Island is the place where I met Alexo after ten years at the GIAF, an art exhibition he had attended years ago.

What a perfect place to go back together!

About the outfit I chose , for the past five years I wear only jumpsuits and a hat, it’s a uniform form me, I collected them, mostly are vintage. I’ve always thought to match well with my sculptures, be neutral, minimal and comfortable in the same time.

I satisfied my masculine side.

Your thought about this project, ITALIANY.US

I like a lot , I love Alexo’s work, He has able to catch the soul, not just faces. The setting helps to emphasize the portrait, I’m very proud to be part of his project.
What a a great time shooting with him!

How would you describe being an ambassador of the Italian style/culture abroad?

Ambassador is to fancy world for me, I feel a I’m a lucky Italian with certain style.

  • Governors Island, NY


  • Time

    360 mins

  • Shots


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A visual celebration of Italians working, living and loving in NY and in the US