Debra Hampton was born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California. She began her art education in the studio department of CSLA, later transferring to CSUF to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History focused on European papal portraiture and social/political murals of Latin America. Hampton moved to New York City in 1996 to obtain a Master of Art degree from New York University in Humanities and Social Thought with a certificate in Museum Studies.
Her work has spanned various unconventional medium and process while investigating issues of commodity, identity and appropriation. She is well-known for mixed-media mashup collage portraits which are created from magazine cutouts, splattered ink, and intricately stippled shapes.
Hampton's work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art Permanent Drawing Collection, and The Frederick R. Weisman Foundation, and has been featured in publications such Art Review, The New York Times, New York Arts, FlavorPill, Queens Chronicle, Etapes Graphiques, and The New York Art World. She has been recipient of the Chashama AREA Studio Residency and an A.I.R. Gallery fellowship. She maintains a studio in Long Island City, New York.