One NY Artist: Painter and Designer Richard Tsao

There are thousands of artists is New York City. Some are famous internationally. Others are scratching out a living while perfecting their craft. WNYC is bringing a few of them to the spotlight, in their own voices. Here, artist and designer Richard Tsao.

Richard Tsao is originally from Thailand, and he has developed a unique painting technique. In this interview, he explained that he mixes painting with marble dust on a canvas, and soaks that in a flooded room. "I call it soaking and saturation of the work, and flooding," he said. " Maybe it has something with growing up in Thailand, where we had monsoons and our backyard was always flooded for like two months."

The process takes years. "It's time consuming, and it's very labor intensive, and it's not practical," he said. "It's, you know, what Wall Street would say not cost effective."

Two of Tsao's paintings are currently in a group exhibit at the Tribeca gallery Art Projects International

Tsao also designs women apparel made of Thai hand woven silk. "I came up with this idea of sewing elastic into silk to create the classic, I call the cocoon jacket," he said.

Even working with two very different art forms, Tsao said he never runs out of ideas. Or out of the urge to create. "I think in being an artist you are probably born being Mal-content. You always want more, you always think you can do better. so voila, it's 40 years and you are still doing it."

"Salty Sea" by Richard Tsao is a water-based mixed media art piece on wood.
"Salty Sea" by Richard Tsao is a water-based mixed media art piece on wood. ( Courtesy of the artist and Art Projects International, New York. )
Silk jacket designed by Richard Tsao.
Silk jacket designed by Richard Tsao. ( Mark Tunyaluck Phuttal )
Richard Tsao completed "Twin Peaks" in 2010. This piece is 20 inches by 18 inches.
Richard Tsao completed "Twin Peaks" in 2010. This piece is 20 inches by 18 inches. ( Richard Tsao and Art Projects International )
Details on an outfit designed by Richard Tsao.
Details on an outfit designed by Richard Tsao. ( Mark Tunyaluck Phuttal )
Installation view of "Richard Tsao: Nam Wan" at Art Projects International, New York, in 2011.
Installation view of "Richard Tsao: Nam Wan" at Art Projects International, New York, in 2011. ( Richard Tsao and Art Projects International )
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