Charles O’Connell

Video by Charles O’Connell

The planet we occupy is brimming with beauty juxtaposed against abysmal chaos. These polarizing truths present us with potent content to research, protect, imagine, transpose and pursue. The endless stimulation is what keeps Charles O’Connell grasping for the unknown at the same time steadily achieving small goals. 

Charles graduated from the University of Milwaukee with a degree in Interdisciplinary Arts and Technology. The program reinforced diversity as a key element of his creative output. In 2015, Charles started a Record Label/Artist Collective by the name of, Future Fern Records. The collective steadily produces work and continues to expand as it gains momentum. Charles enjoys the freedom to experiment and the spontaneity of working with multiple mediums! 

The 2020-2021 artist-in-residence season is supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc



Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8am to 1pm

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Monthly Updates

Every month we will be sharing with you an update from the artist-in-residency studio.

November 2020

In this video, our FA 2020 artist-in-residence, Charles O’Connell, talks about the production of music, collaboration, and releasing new music under his label Future Fern Records. 

The 2020-2021 Sheboygan North High Artist-in-Residence Program is supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc. 

Video courtesy of Charles O’Connell. 

© 2020 Charles O’Connell

Another month at the O’Connell home studio starting and finishing works.

Below is a description of this month’s progress from Charles.

Color Space – This mixed media piece was completed this week with the final colorful additions. 

Photography – A pairing of photos taken from the same position but different angles displayed together in an interesting frame. Looking to find a perplexing title to amplify the piece. 

Collaboration with Cooper – I was gifted an open collaboration platform from Cooper Diers. So, I dove in with mixed media/collage polka dots. 

This week was dedicated to the organization of a handful of audio albums that are being worked on with a goal of be completed by the end of the residency.

There are currently 6 albums in production at all different points of completion.

  • Future Fern Records Presents • Danger Dropoff
  • Nagaina • (Album title not confirmed)
  • Cooper Diers – Frankie II
  • Smooth Cactus x Brent Dekker – (Album title not confirmed) 
  • Sumthin Gunny • Purple Sand Chronicles
  • Permanent Murkers • Tunnel Vision

I’ve been collecting video footage that will be used for my sample project for Mrs. Reineman’s chemistry class. The chemistry class will be studying Light and Color after Thanksgiving. Amy expressed interest in having me design an example project for the class to use as inspiration. The project guidelines are broad, basically the students can use any medium to show a study of light and color. I decided to compile video clips of interesting moments of light and color and then add brief scientific descriptions as accompaniments. 

October 2020

Video by Charles O’Connell

This past month was fun working on art and thinking about what could be done with Amy Reinemann’s class. We communicated about me executing an example project for her Light and Color section that will be happening in November. Her plan is to give her students full freedom to express what they learned in that specific chapter. I will be working with a friend/chemist with his liquid light show setup to get an interview/video to show the class.  

I connected with Leighanne Metter-Jensen, YTY. We talked about sharing the videos that I will be conducting throughout this semester with her students for inspiration in these isolating times. 

Below is a list of projects and activities from this month:

2020 – The Red and White pyramids/mountains are reminiscent of the bold times that we are all going through and the title will be bold like “2020”. The 2nd Coat of white has been applied. There will need to be another coat added to complete the piece. This particular piece I believe will be gifted to NHS. Another layer of white was applied and a gray addition to the sky. It needs one more coat of both the white and gray and then the piece is done. My plan is to gift this piece to North High School. If there is any possibility of getting it framed for the protection and longevity that would be amazing!

Midwest Mountains – The final color’s first layer is completed. Due to the nature of paint and different colors covering better over other colors there will inevitably be multiple layers before the paintings are finished. 2nd coat on 6 out of the 12 pieces completed. I will wrap up the second coat on the rest this upcoming week. Hoping that will the end for these works. Otherwise, I will apply coat 3. They all have the third colors 2nd coat! 3rd coats will be applied for crispness and will complete the series

Water Color – This piece was started a while back with simple colors and shapes. I just added the water color to propel the composition. This next week I will add a layer of transparency images to build up the density and interest level of the piece. 

Collaborations with Jordan– The last three images are works that  Jordan and I are trading off and teaming up on. They are works in progress that will keep evolving until the moment they present themselves as completed collaborations. While searching through books for collage material, I found two pieces of transparency with images printed on top. They worked great as layers on both the watercolor and collaboration with Jordan. 

Record Label Release –  Future Fern Records released a single this past week. Two local musicians making music at a local monument.  Hey Coat’s compact disc is located at local businesses.

September 2020

September 2020

The first month of the residency has proven to be a supreme source of creative time. 

Projects are pushing forward while new ideas are bubbling in the background. As we start the second month, I will share a schedule of video projects to be made viewable by the students and staff. The video episode will be a tool to stay in tune with the NHS community, while we all navigate a new world where it’s a little more difficult to communicate. 

The “Midwest Mountains” painting series has reached the third and final colors. The Molotow paint markers allow me to cut precise lines with vibrant colors. This week was dedicated to fine tuning to getting the base colors finished so that the third color can be the final step(no extra cleanup)! 

Multiple other mountain landscapes have manifested. The red mountain scene will be carved out with a white paint marker. The color combination will be bold, so I want to give it a bold title(brainstorming…)

Helping a local business enhance their environment by providing some pyramids. 

The “midwest mountains” painting collection is structurally setup for the final stage of color. 

Three mixed media/collage pieces have been created. They are to be passed off to a collaborator. The pieces are meant to be abstract and open ended for many interpretations. 



September – Introduction Video

October – Painting, Mixed Media, Digital Art

November – Record Label, Music Production, Live Music

December – Music Video, Animation, Short Film

January – Conclusion of Residency Video 

The 2020-2021 artist-in-residence season is supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc