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C. Damon Carter

The creative arc of the painter, composer and poet C. Damon Carter is nearly Bunyanesque in its variety and breadth. Born in West Virginia (November 11, 1947), Carter was given up for adoption, and re-named William Bland. His parents brought him up in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, where he showed early gifts in music, ultimately graduating with a doctorate in musical composition from Johns Hopkins University's Peabody Conservatory (1973). Carter's most influential teacher was Earle Brown, the composer of open-form graphic compositions, forms influenced by Brown's friends Alexander Calder and Jackson Pollock. C. Damon Carter's compositions during the 60s, 70s and 80s, some of which employed open-form, were performed in London, Amsterdam, Rome, New York, Brussels and Paris. During this period he was commissioned and performed by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Ijsbreker in Amsterdam, and his compositions were recorded for Radio France, Deutsche Grammophon in Germany, Belgian Radio and Television, and the Dorian and Bridge labels in the USA.


At the dawn of the new millennium Carter's literary interests intersected with composing, resulting in the creation of 587 poems, with collections published in two volumes, "Academia Nuts" (Igneus Press, Canyon, Texas, 2016), and "Poems Accompanying Sonatas" (Composerbear Press, Hagerstown, Maryland, 2017). The latter title refers to Carter's grandest musical composition, 24 large-scale piano sonatas in each of the major and minor keys, a project which took more than 20 years to complete, currently being recorded for Bridge Records by the pianist Kevin Gorman.


In December of 2020 Carter made the most radical shift of his creative life, devoting all of his creative energies to painting. During 2021 and now midway through 2022, Carter has completed more than 200 paintings, developing themes from the natural world, from legend, and from ideas initially explored in his music and verse. The paintings frequently focus on a personal stream of anthropomorphic creatures and plants. The noted graphic novelist P. Craig Russell wrote: "As opposed to so many abstracts I've seen, it's not a surprising stretch to say that C. Damon Carter's seem the most liquidly musical." Carter's thematic material and penchant for intense chromaticism, give his canvases lyrical qualities that surprise and delight. --David Starobin, June, 2022

About Damon Carter

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