Charles Compo is an Internationally recognized composer, multi instrumentalist, and fine artist His colorful career spans four decades and has seen many incarnations including jobs as a bicycle messenger and construction worker, a stint Off-Broadway as a professional actor, and success as an entrepreneur.
Born and raised in New York City, his parents were both professional musicians and performers. In the early eighties, he formed a band with friends and moved into an abandoned warehouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where he began experimenting with painting and never stopped. Immersed in the up-and-coming art scene of the East Village as a young man, he began collecting art by local artists and found work as an artist’s assistant to Andy Warhol, Charles Ross, and Harry Smith.
Compo's painting style has always been an intuitive process, depicting stories of every day life. Working primarily with oil paint on canvas, many of his paintings have been revisited over multiple decades, with evolving narratives appearing and disappearing on each canvas.
Today, Compo paints daily in his studio at The Music Building in Midtown Manhattan, tending to an intimate following of fellow artists, collectors, and art lovers. He has accrued a list of notable exhibitions including a feature in the 2021 London Biennale, award-winning works shown at Schweinfurth Center for the Arts and Oxford Arts Alliance, as well as a debut solo show at Pictor Gallery in the Landmark Arts Building in New York City. Most recently his painting “Down At The Rally”, a piece that received a special prize by MOMA curator Paulina Pabocha, was acquired as part of the Yuko Nii Foundation’s Permanent Collection at The Williamsburg Art & Historical Center.
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.