Charles Compo is an internationally recognized composer, multi-instrumentalist and painter. He was immersed in the East Village art scene in the ‘80s and collected art by many Rivington School artists. During this time, Compo worked as an assistant to Andy Warhol and collaborated with filmmaker and artist Harry Smith. He has written over 100 published musical compositions including “Seven Flute Solos”, which is published by Smithsonian Folkways.
Over the past two years, Compo’s work has been featured in over thirty notable juried shows worldwide. His painting “I’ve Got The World On A String” was selected to represent the United States in the 2021 London Biennale. In August of 2022 his painting “Crossing The Bridge When You Come To It” was exhibited at the 2022 Chianciano Biennale and is now in the permanent collection of the Museo d’Arte di Chianciano Terme. His painting “Down At The Rally” received a special award by MOMA curator Paulina Pobocha and was acquired by The Yuko Nii Foundation’s Permanent Collection at the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center, and most recently his painting “Bad Birdie” was acquired by the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.
Brinda Kumar, the curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum, selected his painting “Swan Lake” to exhibit at Greenwich Art Society for their 105th Annual Juried exhibition and gave a talk on the painting at the opening reception. Here is an excerpt from that talk:
“I love how narrative can be a starting point but where it takes you, and with the artist’s imagination you are certainly not limited, it takes you somewhere quite surreal and unexpected. You’re not quite sure where you stand with this, and I find it quite absolutely marvelous and refreshing. there’s a certain kind of psychological complexity to it that I think the artist is getting at.”
I find myself deliberately arranging items with or without so-called symbolic significance in a way that may or may not be affecting emotions and intellect. If I sit and stare at a painting that I am working on in my studio long enough or from enough different angles, forms begin to emerge.
I play with the brush and the paint on the canvas. With each stroke, thoughts emerge and find their place in the collective hallucination known as reality. I’m engaged in the ritual of exploring the boundaries of my imagination and passing the hours dedicated to an activity that has no practical use in the world other than the elevation of life.