Artist Statement

I come from a family of artists. Growing up we moved around, by age 13 I’d been to 10 schools. It was hard to keep friends and an early memory is being 5 and drawing a life-size bear in blue pastel on my bedroom wall that became my best friend.
Art has always been my first language in the world and collage allows me the ability to communicate exactly the way I want to. It is the language of rupture and I find it an inherently poetic medium. I find images wherever I go: plane, train, automobile, trading post, mountain top, there are beautiful things everywhere. These countless pieces of hand-cut paper are culled from over a decade’s worth of hunting and searching for contemporary and vintage books, journals and magazines. They 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,  surrounded by the ruins of monstrous historical injustice, I am weary of technology and its cancer-like proliferation. I am specifically drawn to the act of wandering throughout the American West, where time is on the loose and one is reminded of our seemingly 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 colors.

– Vanessa Compton