Vanessa Compton

A People’s History
60″x72″; collage and acrylic on canvas; 2017

Vanessa Compton
Greensboro, Vermont, USA


Collage is the language of rupture and I find it an inherently poetic medium. Images quilt their way in and create a kaleidoscopic effect that is released onto the canvas by hands, scissors, gel medium, acrylic and oil.

The heartbreakingly beautiful mess of cultures, spiritualities, shared histories and epic landscapes this world over are why I make work. I’m moved by the ways our beloved planet has been worshipped and defiled and the ability for it to come back again and again with its Eastern cathedrals of forest and panoramic horizons of the West.

Living in a cut and paste culture, I am drawn to the act of wandering the American West, where time is on the loose and one is reminded of our endless penchant for violence. My work has a specific lens on the First Nations people of North America, but I follow a trail of broken promises the world over. The bullied and persecuted come too and I find beauty in this quilt of many colours.


Drawn to rural environments where landscapes are vast and people are few, Vanessa Compton grew up in northern Vermont where her singer-songwriter father and artist mother inspired her to create from an early age. She devoted her school years to theatre, sculpture, cello and world music. Vanessa has lived in Dakar, Senegal studying the kora and its influence on hip hop music, and Kumasi, Ghana learning palm wine guitar with living master Koo Nimo. After falling in love with rock climbing, she moved to Colorado and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Her sculptures and collages have been exhibited in galleries across the US and appear in private collections around the world. She has been awarded fellowships from The Wallace Stegner House, Vermont Studio Center, Hubbell Trading Post & National Historic Site, The Brush Creek Foundation, and Jentel Arts. Currently, Vanessa maintains a semi-nomadic lifestyle, creating art throughout the American West and the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.


(928) 797-1121
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Independence Day
9″x12″; collage and acrylic on canvas; 2018

Battle Royale
9″x12″; collage, acrylic, and graphite on canvas; 2018

40″x40″; collage, acrylic, and corn husks on canvas; 2015

12″x9″; collage and spray paint on canvas; 2018