Laser-cut works by artist Charlie Hubbard bring dimension to Homeland gallery


Artist Charlie Hubbard

Charlie Hubbard was blessed with wood crafting and photography talents and an eye for intrigue and fascinating designs.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said of his intricate woodcuts now hanging in the Homeland Florida Room gallery. “It makes just about everything a little bit different when you use different media.”

Hubbard is the latest in a long line of artists whose work comes to Homeland via the Art Association of Harrisburg’s community gallery initiative.

Every three months, a different Art Association member hangs an exhibit of their unique, high-quality art in the Homeland gallery. All the artists are specially chosen by the Art Association of Harrisburg Executive Director Carrie Wissler Thomas for their appeal to residents, brightening their days with landscapes, seascapes, and streetscapes.

Hubbard brings a new dimension to the exhibits – literally. His laser-cut woodworks layer finely shaped wood to give depth and symmetry to geometric forms, words, and images.

Hubbard, who lives in the Dillsburg area, grew up in Mechanicsburg and Harrisburg before serving in the U.S. Navy for six years. After retiring from active duty, he stayed in the Navy’s orbit by working at the Mechanicsburg Naval Supply Depot, now Naval Support Activity Mechanicsburg.

Since retiring in 2018, he considers himself lucky to follow the plan he has had all along to pursue his art full-time. He has always had an artistic bent. It started with woodworking – “little knickknacks, boxes, and things like that.” After turning some goblets and bowls, he asked a friend to take photos for an album before he gave them away. Looking at the pictures, he thought, “I can do that.”

“I borrowed my mom’s single lens reflex camera–and couldn’t do anything with it,” he said with a laugh. “It was terrible, so I spent time at the library and learned how to use it.”

In those days, around 1990, his early photographic work explored his fascination with bare trees and ship’s riggings. Then, he bought a printer that came with Photoshop and a plug-in for “fractals,” and he discovered a new passion.

The software for fractals uses mathematical equations to repeat shapes and designs in seemingly endless formations. Then the artist applies color gradients and adjusts the images. Hubbard’s resulting images create intricate interplays of swirling and layered lines for ethereal representations of hearts, masks, and trees.

Charlie often carries two cameras. One captures atmospheric scenes in nature and at historic sites around the region, from Gettysburg to Cape May, NJ. The other has a special filter that captures the infrared spectrum, washing out colors and creating ghostly black-and-white images.

“I like black and white in general, but in the infrared pictures, all the green foliage comes out white,” he said. “The chlorophyll in the foliage gives off radiation, which kind of overexposes the image. It just looks so magical to me.”

Charlie has always liked doing things that few others are doing, so about two years ago, he found his way to laser-cut wood.

“It’s new,” he said. “Nobody around here has ever seen it. It’s good to be the first.”

Using purchased patterns, Hubbard laser cuts thin pieces of plywood or medium-density fiberboard, then paints and stains the pieces, stacking the layers. Like his fractals and landscapes, they present interplays of lines and curves.

He shows his work at the Art Association of Harrisburg and local galleries. A small gallery in York has sold several of his laser pieces.

In fact, a Homeland resident bought two of the laser-cut works hanging in the Homeland exhibit. One depicted an Asian-style great wave, and the other showed a sun and moon.

“I think people like the depth and the three-dimensional side of it,” he said. “It’s visually confusing. You can stare at it for so long. Like the fractals, you see something different every time you look at it.”
Hubbard has shown his fractals in the Homeland gallery before and, this time, was especially pleased to know that a resident bought two pieces for his own room.

“That’s the reason for doing it, that people appreciate the work and they’re willing to buy it,” he said. “I’m retired. I’m not making a living at this, so it’s really rewarding when somebody wants to hang it in their home.”

For a look at Charlie Hubbard’s diverse portfolio, visit