Charles Sandison was always interested in computing; at the age of 12, he taught himself to code on his computer. He went on to study art (at the Glasgow School of Art) from 1987–1993 and briefly taught there after graduating. In 1995 Sandison moved to Finland and now resides permanently in Tampere.
During the early 1990s Sandison exhibited alongside Young British Artists in such shows as; Wonderful Life, Lisson Gallery, London 1993, and Institute of Cultural Anxiety: Works from the Collection Institute of Contemporary Arts, London 1994.
During a five year hiatus in which Sandison moved away from the United Kingdom and occupied the position of Head of Fine Art at Tampere School of Art and Media. He came to wider recognition in 2001 after exhibiting in the Venice Biennale. In 2004 Sandison became a visiting professor at Le Fresnoy, Lille. In 2010 Sandison was awarded the Ars Fennica prize by President of Finland Tarja Halonen.
Much of Sandison's work involves computer generated video projections that create immersive data installations, placing the viewer at the centre of a changing universe of words, signs, and characters. Sandison's art works to incorporate the viewer into the piece, so that the computer and human mind can work together. Sandison draws inspiration from nature and his surroundings, and attempts to capture elements of human life and the current world that we live in.
His work “Nature Morte” won the 8th edition of the ARCO-BEEP Electronic Art Award
The piece is an accomplished interpretation of baroque vanitis from the viewpoint of new technologies. Convinced that language is our interface with reality, Sandison creates IT programmes controlled by dynamic molecular algorithms that generate words and brings them to life. In the case of the winning work, the artist uses the quartet of Byron that references Carpe Diem, the enjoyment of the instant, in a generative audiovisual work, as such, always distant, that includes elements of literature, romanticism, and textuality, as well as a profound reflection on new media.