Charles van Sandwyk was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1966.
In 1977, he emigrated with his family to Vancouver, Canada, where he studied graphic design at
the Capilano College art programme in North Vancouver.
By the early 1980's, he was selling his drawings and watercolours in a style reminiscent of
the old prints and paintings which hung in the family home.
Upon graduating in 1986,
the wanderlust of younger years sent him travelling to the South Pacific. He discovered the
Fiji Islands, and fell in love with a remote island and its inhabitants.
In that same year, van Sandwyk won an Alcan award for his limited edition book
A Selection of Neighbourly Birds, illustrated with etchings printed on an antique
intaglio press. This first attempt at publishing prompted a passionate venture into
the world of handmade and private press books and prints.
His watercolours, etchings and books are now collected across North America and in Europe.
The National Library of Canada has maintained archives on his work since 1986, and in 1992
purchased the original drawings and paintings for his children's book The Parade to Paradise.
The book Wee Folk won Juror's Choice award at the 1994 Seattle Book Fair, and also third prize at
the Alcuin Awards '95 for limited editions.
He began to divide his time equally between Vancouver and Fiji (leasing land from the
neighbouring family and building for himself a simple home of grass thatch, in the traditional
island style) and settled into a pleasurable routine of winter seasons in Fiji filled with
painting and writing, the results of which were brought back to Canada each summer and
prepared for exhibition and publication each autumn.. The fruits of these labours, his watercolours,
etchings and books, are now collected across North America and in Europe. The National Library
of Canada has maintained archives on his works since 1986, and in 1992 purchased the original
drawings and paintings for his children's book The Parade to Paradise.
Charles continues to divide his time between Vancouver and Fiji.