In 1973, her family moved to Iran only to flee during the revolution in 1979. Janssen studied painting at the University of Arts in Berlin from 1986-1989, dropping out to travel the world as a street musician and performance artist. To make sense of all of these experiences, she returned to painting in 1991 with a clear voice that was no longer searching, but finding. Charlotta’s work re-imagines discarded and archival photographs
of working class Americans taken before, during, and after the Great Depression.
While at once cautionary, these images attempt to celebrate both the individual dignity and group solidarity of her subjects. Her paintings represent an exploration of the Great American “void”. The artist currently lives and paints augmented portraits in Brooklyn and Hudson NY.
Solo exhibitions include: Threads of a Story: History Inspiring Art, National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, Tennessee, 2014, A Whole Lotta Charlotta, Spazio Bocciofi la, Venice Biennale, 2013, Freedom Riders and Bus Boycotters, The George Washington Carver Museum, Dothan, Alabama, 2013 and The Day Bayard Rustin Came To Town, Memphis Public Library, Goodwyn Gallery, Tennessee 2012. York. Her work is held in numerous collections, including Oprah Winfrey’s.