Vanessa Compton

8″x8″; hand-cut mixed media collage; 2015

Vanessa Compton
Greensboro, Vermont, USA


Surrealistic landscapes have featured predominantly in my work. Time is meant to be on the loose, with past, present and future existing simultaneously. My works are clusters of relationships, interactions that are both proactive and sedate and dreamily living in an architecturally sound landscape.

A major inspiration is migration. I focus on the luxation of figures and structures through landscapes of epic quality and interminable horizons. These are beautiful, dislocated worlds that live behind the gauzy film of dreams.

Through collage I birth brave new worlds for discarded paper forms and the creation of these entirely disparate realities weighs on me with humility and wildness. These worlds celebrate lives lived in non-normative existence. These are worlds caught between shifting dimensions, full of myth and contrast.


Says Vanessa Compton, “It is essential to my creativity to live in a rural environment, one where I border thick Northern forests and Southern borderlands and live with my feet on the earth in perpetual aesthetic contemplation. To create, I need solitude and the hum of wind and wildness. If it’s raining, snowing, or storming, that’s even better. I love being forcibly holed up in my studio, away from everything and everyone. A good album and disconnected phone is essential, too.” After growing up in rural Vermont, she moved West in 2001 and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder. After living and teaching art in Colorado for nearly a decade, Vanessa transitioned into a largely nomadic lifestyle focused on climbing and art.

Vanessa currently spends part of the year working in her studio in Vermont’s remote Northeast and the other part of the year living off-grid in a 1950s Aloha camper and guiding in Hueco Tanks State Park (El Paso County, Texas) and climbing throughout the American West.


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Defiance Plateau
24″x48″; hand-cut mixed media collage; 2016

Escape from Technopolis (detail)
45″x60″; hand-cut mixed media collage; 2013

Guardians of Being
20″x16″; hand-cut mixed media collage; 2015

40″x40″; hand-cut mixed media collage; 2016