John Charbonneau

John Charbonneau

My work is philosophically driven and raises questions in a comical way. When making imagery, I start with an interesting irony or absurdity. Sometimes the images are just humorous, but frequently they also have a sarcastic, dark element. I’m interested in and deeply concerned about our cultural confusions in the areas of science, religion and politics and I make work which reflects those concerns.”

I didn’t think about being an artist as a child, but when a college roommate set-up a darkroom in a house we were renting, I discovered the magic of photography. It was love at the first sight of an image materializing in the developer tray. That was in 1968 and I’ve been on an artist’s journey since. I’ve had a few other mini-careers along the way, but whenever I put the camera down, I wander more or less blindly. The photographic process keeps me engaged with both the inner and outer realms and provides a mechanism for more than self-expression; it has set me up with a way of being in the world. There is no separate part of my life which is sort-of distinct from my life as an artist. While I don’t always carry a camera and am not always thinking about how to use this or that experience in my work, I do pay attention to the inner muse and note ideas that are interesting and possibly useful. So, for example, if a conversation while on vacation resonates, I stop and record the point of interest as soon as possible because I’ve learned that it may inspire new work. The photographs that are necessary for the construction of a piece may or may not already be in my collection, but ideas are what gets the ball rolling.

Finally, after I’ve completed a new piece, it often doesn’t resemble what I intended at the outset. No matter, for as the process stimulates and challenges, the work mutates and that’s the true reward.