In Focus: Karen Boissonneault-Gauthier

“When I create images, I like to find a way to use textures, shapes and a little artistic whimsy for results that surprise the viewer.”

Karen Boissonneault Gauthier

Karen Boissonneault-Gauthier is an indigenous artist, writer and photographer. Most recently she’s been a cover artist for The Feeel Magazine, Arachne Press, Pretty Owl Poetry, Wild Musette, Existere Journal, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Gigantic Sequins, Ottawa Arts Journal and more. She’s been featured in Vox Popular Media Arts Festival, New Feathers Anthology, Maintenant 15, Parliament Lit, Pure in Heart Stories and others. When she’s not walking her two huskies, she’s also designing with Art of Where. Karen now uses some of her artwork on non-medical face masks. See to find out more.

Bread crumbs

TPCR: What is your creative process? 

Karen: Creatively, I recognize that everyone is limited by their reality, location and circumstance, but a child’s imagination is authentic and not bound by any of those things. Childhood is our only honest interaction with the world, so I creatively go back to that place a lot. When I do, it allows me to present my images in a different way. For this reason, my image “Warmth” needed a childlike note of the kind of bliss one finds while embraced. There’s also the appearance of wings and sparkly atoms to complete the progression of innocence. 

TPCR: How do you connect with the idea of brown existence?

Karen:  As an Indigenous person, this question is interestingly hard to answer. As a photographer, I rather enjoy knowing that brown light doesn’t exist in a rainbow. It’s actually orange with context. I knew that Panatone Brown 448-c was dubbed the ugliest colour in the world, so I simply had to prove them wrong. Both “Warmth” and “Bread Crumbs” have a hue of that Panatone Brown. I connect with the idea of a brown existence in that I’m always swimming upstream. Equally, I am determined to show that brown is beautiful, worthy of an admiring gaze and worth getting to know. Perhaps brown may not exist within the rainbow because it radiates more than light itself. That alone is a childlike and magical existence.

TPCR: What would you say are your primary sources of inspiration?

Karen: I am inspired by the challenge of layering, overlapping and altering the images I shoot so I can create something better than my original piece. Sometimes I don’t even know I want the end result until I see it unfold before my eyes. I love these ‘happy accidents’. If I make the viewer stop and take time to soak in all the details hiding within the photograph, I then feel the greatest success. 

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