At the Ernesto Neto exhibit at the Al Riwaq exhibition center, Qatar
Charlene balances a symbiotic relationship between art, illustration, and art education; each area influences and strengthens the other.
I grew up in the prairies of Canada. My childhood was filled with boxes, stationary supplies, and…industrial printing machines. My parents owned a print shop. I spent many days amongst the floor-to-ceiling shelves of paper. My mother was the best artist I knew and my dad made the tools and scraps of the print shop available to me –– a dream setting for making, drawing, and imagining.
Art classes were not available in my middle or high school, but the teachers in the small school knew my interest for drawing and built creative options into any project that would allow for it. During my senior year my parents arranged for private drawing lessons with the best teacher I could have hoped for. This wild-haired woman taught me how to see. I still value and connect with her today.
My post secondary studies began in graphic design––a logical choice, given the family business. I had found “my people” in that creative environment. After graduation, I worked in the advertising industry, honing my skills to the level of shrewd meticulousness within a variety of fast-paced advertising agencies, a design boutique, as well as a short-term position at the provincial museum.
That chapter of work came to a close after a two-month backpacking adventure through South East Asia, where my husband and I stumbled upon teaching positions at an international school in Bangkok. I was eager to shift my creative momentum to art education; I loved seeing through they eyes of children. All the while, I continued to illustrate and paint.
The half-year contract turned into 17 years abroad. After Bangkok, I taught drawing and painting at a boarding school in Switzerland. It was perfect, but it was in London, with two little children, that I fully redirect my minimal time and full attention to artwork and illustration. I attended illustration conferences, participating in group exhibitions, and organised my first solo exhibition.
I arrived in Qatar with that growing body of work and experience, and have since collaborated on projects with museums, schools, and educational institutions. Regardless of the boarders I live within, my artistic perception of reality develops and evolves.
Anticipated: Masters in Gallery and Museum Practice (Hons), UCL-Q, 2010
Masters in Education (Hons), Endicott College, Switzerland campus, 2010
Bachelor of Fine Art (Hons), University of Manitoba, 2007
Diploma in Advanced Graphic Design (Hons), Red River College, 2000
Diploma in Graphic Design (Hons), Red River College, 1999
Private Art Lessons with Artist, 1995-1998
Collaborations in Qatar:
Museum of Islamic Art, University College of London in Qatar (UCL-Q), Qatar Museums Family Programmes, Qatar Museums, Medina Publishing, Akkadia Press, and several international schools in Doha.
Picture Books illustrated:
The Path Towards The Island (Qatar Museums Publishing)
The Old Man and his Donkey (Medina Publishing)
The Blue Jackal and Other Tales from Islamic Lands ( Medina Publishing, in collaboration with the MIA)
Several personal picture book projects, with quantities under 10
Various group, duo, and solo exhibitions held in Switzerland, London, and Qatar
from 2009 to the present.
I participate and organise collaborative and purposeful exhibitions,
with the intention of making art accessible to viewers who are new to contemporary art.
Charlene has built friendships and gains perspective from connections within:
The Association of Illustrators, and
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators