100 Colorado Creatives 4.0: Vincent Comparetto

Denverite Vincent Comparetto takes aim at life on the street level.EXPAND
Denverite Vincent Comparetto takes aim at life on the street level.
Vincent Comparetto
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#77: Vincent Comparetto

A native New Yorker now living in Denver, Vincent Comparetto walks the planet at street level, but with a global view fired by a love for traveling. When he’s not doing that, Comparetto teaches, makes films and music videos, does motion graphics design work, photographs sights seen in places near and far and, as an artist with an elegant modernist design sense, stencils over collaged backgrounds in limited editions. A DIY guy in a handmade world, Comparetto glides through town on a skateboard or a bike. Tag along and take a trip with him through the 100CC questionnaire.

Westword: What (or who) is your creative muse?

Vincent Comparetto: Cities in general – and my partner, Skye Savage, is a constant source of inspiration.

Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to invite to your next party, and why?

Grace Jones, Freddie Mercury and David Bowie — if it’s a dance party. But if it’s just like a dinner party, Werner Herzog, Nicola Tesla and David Bowie.

Vincent Comparetto, "El Barrio de Born," detail.EXPAND
Vincent Comparetto, "El Barrio de Born," detail.
Vincent Comparetto

What’s the best thing about the local creative community in your field — and the worst?

People often reach out to me to collaborate as a photographer, animator or director, and it’s nice to be able to lend my creative skills to our local music scene, as well as nonprofits and subcultures such as the queer community and events held at DIY spaces. The work I most often do for the sake of collaboration is abundant and non-commercial, which is great, but I have to pick and choose who to work for, and I turn down many collaborative opportunities because the other side of my life is that I am paid to shoot and direct for the world of advertising, which is my job, and it’s tough to balance the two sometimes. The other downside: The Denver gallery scene is still very much a male-dominated white-boys’ club, and I honestly don’t feel very tuned to it. It seems like they could curate events with diversity in mind a bit better.

How about globally?

Traveling and appreciating different scenes, whether it be street art or music, is one of my favorite things to do. Regardless of cultural barriers, we share the common language of creative expression.

Are trends worth following? What’s one trend you love and one that you hate?

I like that a lot of old-school skateboard tricks have come back in style, making me seem accidentally relevant. Wait — what were we talking about?

You’ve come this far in life. What’s still on your bucket list?

All of my accomplishments are future goals that I quickly lose interest in once I have accomplished them. Equal parts self-deprecation and ambition.

Follow Focus, Vincent Comparetto's book of street photography.EXPAND
Follow Focus, Vincent Comparetto's book of street photography.
Vincent Comparetto

What’s your best or favorite accomplishment as a creative?

I have no idea. I like hearing from past students that they are pursuing filmmaking or motion graphics because of my influence.

Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?

When I first moved to Denver in 1997, we reveled in a proud anonymity, we cobbled together limited resources and built a vibrant creative community with very little recognition. It’s nice to look back on all we’ve done to transform this place, despite the fact that the marks we left have been, in many cases, gentrified beyond recognition. Torches are always passed on, and artists are often the bricklayers of the aristocracy. The creative communities I continue to collaborate with are the main reason I am here.

Stencil work by Vincent Comparetto.
Stencil work by Vincent Comparetto.
Vincent Comparetto

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

Hmmm. There are a lot. I am a big fan of Evan Hecox, Chris Bagley, Molly Bounds, Jaime Molina, Sandra Fettingis, Gemma Danielle, Justin Gitlin, Ravi Zupa, to name just a few.

What's on your agenda in the coming year?

More issues of Follow Focus, my photography book. I’d like to get back into music-video direction for some of my friends’ bands. I’d love to work bigger with my cubist paintings — oh, and there’s making sure that patriarchy and governments of the world crumble into a fine black powder.

Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?

Sofie Birkin, Michelle Merlin and, in music, I have to shout out to Echo Beds, Church Fire, Midgut, Altered State, French Kettle Station and the harpist Annestezhaa.

See mixed-media/collage stencil prints by Vincent Comparetto at Cuba Cuba, 1173 Delaware Street. His photography book, Follow Focus, is available in Denver at Fancy Tiger and Armitage & McMillan or online at abstractcity.org. Learn more about Comparetto’s film and video work and fine-art and photography work online, or follow his Instagram page.

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