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Meet Banks Compton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Banks Compton.

Hi Banks, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
If there is a will, there is a way. I grew up on my family farm in rural Demopolis, Alabama. I’ve always loved to paint and draw. In high school, I started selling pet portraits. People love paintings of their dogs and cats. Eventually, I sold enough to buy my first car. It was then that I realized I might be able to have a career in the arts.

To make sure this was the right career for me, I got a summer job in New Orleans, building Mardi Gras floats with Kern Studios. I fell in love with the work and began to search for what I needed to do next. Art school seemed important to me because my high school didn’t have an art program, and I had never received any formal training at that point in my life.

In my research, I discovered the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). In order to apply, I had to learn how to make a portfolio. I wanted the practice, so I applied as a junior in high school. My intention was to learn the application process and apply again the following year when I was to graduate high school. Unexpectedly, I was accepted a year early with my application.

I attended RISD in the fall of 2017, as the youngest freshman and the only one from Alabama. I learned a lot during my time in college and experienced many unique opportunities. Through RISD I secured an internship with David Monn, a luxury event planner in New York City. While there, I created event décor that was used for private events in the Hamptons, Rockefeller Center, and the Hearst Castle in California. I loved the work and wanted to work in event planning when I graduated college.

These plans changed due to the global pandemic. I was in Rome, Italy studying traditional painting techniques when the pandemic began. I was evacuated and found myself back on my family farm in Demopolis, Alabama finishing my degree online.

After I graduated online, I headed west hoping to find a career in art. I landed in Phoenix, Arizona, where I learned how to paint murals with artist Taylor Victoria. She taught me how to create large artworks and has been an inspiring mentor to me. Painting murals is the perfect job for me. I love creating works on a large scale, and I love how mural paintings involve the community and bring joy to so many.

Mural painting is a culmination of all my past experiences with painting pet portraits, building Mardi Gras floats, designing luxury event decor, and my degree in painting from RISD. Now, I sell canvas paintings and paint murals full time and I couldn’t be happier!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
No, it hasn’t but that’s life! I have had my share of difficulties and moments when I wanted to give up on the following art as a career. What has kept me on this path is my passion for art and the support of my family and friends.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I paint murals mostly now. I love to create larger-than-life landscapes.

I like to distort the landscape and add pops of surprising color to create a sense of joy and energy. I am most proud of a recent mural I completed in Linden, Alabama. This mural was one of the first steps in revitalizing the small town. It has had a transformative impact on the town and its people.

This mural made clear to me the impact of art on a community and the potential for art to change lives. I am starting a large mural in Tempe soon, and I cannot wait to see its impact on the community.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
Most people might think of me only as a fine artist working through canvas paintings.

I’d like more people to know how I would like to focus also on murals, I am just starting out! I am learning how to start my own art business one project at a time, and I would love to take any opportunity to paint more murals in Arizona. I love the people and landscape out west.

I want to share my appreciation for southwestern beauty with as many people as possible. Please contact me on my website, Bankscompton.com, so I can create custom art for you!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Yvonne Xinyu and Liang Carolina Halkias

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