Charlie Co was born in the Philippines in 1960. He studied at La Consolacion College, College of Fine Arts, in 1984 and at Philippine Women's University, College of Fine Arts, in Manila in 1986. He was first identified as a social realist in the mid-1980s and later developed an interest in figurative expressionism that borders on surrealism. He held his first solo exhibition in 1983, and has since had 23 solo exhibitions in the Phipippines and Australia and has participated in over 30 group shows.

His current work combines painting and sculpture. He models small figurines in terracotta and places them in a vividly coloured painted scene. In these sharply observed works, "all the world's a stage". The shaped frames reference both folk art and his upbringing in the family furniture business.

Co has had the distinction of representing his country in the exhibition Asian Modernism at the Japan Foundation ASEAN Culture Center in Tokyo Japan in 1995; at the 23rd Sao Paolo Biennial in Brazil and the 2nd Asia Pacific Trienniale of Contemporary Art in Brisbane, Australia in 1996, and the 2nd International Claywork Symposium and Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan and the Taegu Asia Arts Exhibition in Korea in 1997.