Charles Gagnon was born in Montréal Québec in 1934. He studied art in New York from 1955 to 1960 at the Parsons School of Design and New York School of Design.
He taught at Concordia University and at the University of Ottawa for several years.
He was a multi-disciplinary artist whose projects included mixed media, painting, photography, film, sculpture, and multi-media. His paintings were often non-representational abstract works. Photography played a large role in his artistic development and the way he saw the world. His exhibits are more like shows, engaging the visitors and arousing the senses. He was always experimenting and embracing the outer society, reflecting and interpreting the world through his art.
His work is part of numerous private and public collections including National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Vancouver Art Gallery, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, Museé d'Art Contemporain, Museé des Beaux-Arts de Montreal and Museé du Quebec.
In 2002 Gagnon was the recipient of a Governor General's Visual and Media Arts Award. He is a member of The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. He also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Montréal in 1991, induction to the Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Québec, the prestigious Prix Borduas in 1996, and the Governor General’s Award for the Visual Arts in 2002. In January, 2003 he was awarded the first Jean Paul Riopelle Lifetime Award, given by The Council for Arts and Letters of Québec.
He died in 2003.