Born in Brussels in 1951, Charles Emmanuel Schelfhout was 15 when he entered the Centre des Arts Décoratifs in Brussels, attended his first tentoonstellings vernissage and rubbed shoulders with Edmond Nauwelaerts, Jean Glibert and Jean Rets. In 1970, after a stay in Paris and strengthened in his vision of modern art by a long conversation with Denise René, he rented his first studio in September and worked alone for a year. Constructivist painter dedicated to “Black and White”, he was in demand at the Aquarius gallery in Brussels’ Sablon district, where he exhibited in 1972 and 1973, and at the Ado gallery in Bonheiden, the same year as Pol Mara, Roger Raveel, Gilbert Decock and Martin Bayens.
Despite enthusiastic reviews, he swapped brush for pen and contributed to Galop magazine, before joining Yachting Sud-Sur L’Eau.
In 1981, he experienced the first symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa, but this did not stop him from founding Les Editions de la Dyle in 1988, publishing some thirty titles and personally signing “Dans le sillage d’Hugo van Kuyck – Un Belge d’exception” and “Les Gerlache – Trois générations d’explorateurs polaires”.
In 2005, illness forced him to put an end to his professional career, but after a few months he took up his pencils again, this time to draw boats using a video-loupe.
Some thirty exhibitions followed, in Paris, Brussels, Le Havre, Antwerp, Toulon…
In 2014, he created the Art and Low Vision association with the aim of helping and encouraging other visually impaired artists, and in 2018 he launched the first drawing and painting competition for the visually impaired, now international.
He was admitted as an “Official Painter of the Belgian Navy” in 2015 , and was elected president of the association in 2017.
In 2020, no longer able to see the tip of his pencil, he replaced it with a cutter and a compass cutter and developed a specific technique to take up his “Black and White” study again, this time by touch. In 2022, he presented his first exhibition of cut-outs in Retranchement (Zeeland). An unthinkable comeback hailed by the public! In 2023, new exhibitions confirm this return.
The Belgian and foreign press regularly report on his achievements.