Free Richardson, founder of The Compound gallery in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, with Jonathan Mannion’s portraits of, from left, the LOX, Trick Daddy, Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), Kanye West and Ice-T. Credit Devin Yalkin for The New York Times. Featured Image
For the past 11 years, Free Richardson has run The Compound, his creative advertising business, from a compact space off Bruckner Boulevard in the South Bronx, where he works on campaigns for Timberland, ESPN and EA Sports. Part agency, part clubhouse, The Compound refers to the physical footprint, a bunkerlike space where Mr. Richardson hosts clients, professional athletes and hip-hop artists who come to use its recording booth, kibitz or admire Mr. Richardson’s collection of KAWS figurines, hip-hop ephemera and N.B.A. memorabilia.
But the name also signifies Mr. Richardson’s governing ethos: that combining creative disciplines usually yields something interesting.
“Everyone who would come over would say, ‘Yo, this is like your own art museum,’” Mr. Richardson said. “So I said, O.K. It was always in the back of my head but it was like, when is the time right to do it?”