Check out our interview with Peruvian artist and photographer Christian Fuchs who is doing something so remarkably unique, that no other photographer has been able to accomplish in the art world. Obsessed with his illustrious German/Chilean ancestors he grew up admiring from their oil paintings and old photographs that were hung in the halls of his grandparent’s home in Peru, Fuchs decided to physically become them, spending months painstakingly recreating their portraits through photography, posing for them himself whether the ancestors were men or women.
In his exhibit, “I AM MY FAMILY”, which is on display for the first time in Los Angeles at the Yiwei Gallery (1350 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291) through June 19th, Fuchs takes on the role of his ancestors as a way to connect to his family, celebrate them, and help them live on. The exhibit is free to attend.
Follow Christian @christian.fuchs.artist & @christianharaldfuchs
Describe yourself in 3 words?
And your art in 3 words?
When did you start in the business?
For me art is more a way of living than a business. I became a photographer two years after graduating as a lawyer, after being in the field for a short period I realized that career was going to kill me. Since I never liked the law career I started to venture in the field of healing while I was still at law school so I opened a practice where I performed chakra alignment, Cranio Sacral Therapy and floral and color therapy. During that time I was going through some family issues that had me very stressed so I decided to close the practice since I believed I could not work as a healer if I was not doing well and that’s when I started exploring photography when I was around 26 years old.
Name one your strengths?
What is the key to your success?
Keep doing what I love and what I believe in no matter what others tell me I should be doing. Always listening to our own hearts is the best thing we can do.
What was the first camera that you got? And what’s your current equipment?
It was an analog Vivitar camera that I used while studying photography that I bought from a photographer friend. I remember that I loved developing classes in the dark room but I had to leave them because of the allergic reactions that the chemicals caused me and it was at that moment that I bought my first Canon 5D. Currently I am using the Canon 5D Mark III and take my photos mostly indoors. I use window light together with a soft box and umbrella for most of my portraits.
Do you have an all time favorite camera/lens combination?
I love my 5D Mark III and my 50mm lens, is the best for portraits. I think I will start to look for a new camera soon.
What other artists do you admire (past or present)?
From the current ones Cindy Sherman, and many deceased ones, the kind of artists you’ll find at Fine Arts Museums: Monet, Manet, Mary Cassatt, Gainsborough among others.
What do you love most about creating and being an artist? And what not?
What I love the most is being able to express myself through my work and share that with people at the same time. Another thing I really love is to explore other times and people’s experiences and shapeshift and get to know parts of my personality that were asleep. Performance art is a great way to get in touch with our real selves. When we stop being ourselves in the hear and now we break the time and space limits and we can become whoever we want.
I don’t think there is something I don’t like about being an artist and create, being an artist allows me to own my time which is one of the more important things a human being can have time together with freedom.
Now what about your exhibit “I AM MY FAMILY?” When/Where we can visit the exhibit or where we can see some of your work?
This exhibit is happening at Yiwei Gallery located at 1350 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice Beach. The Gallery is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 12-5pm
Why did you decide to do this exhibit?
Everything started in LA Photo back in 2020 when I met Curator and Gallerist Yiwei Lu. She was curating a show there while I was showing my work at the booth of O- Art Project. There we started to talk and I knew immediately she was special. We stayed in touch after I return to Peru and last year she invited me for an artist residency program. I really felt that she was the first gallerist who understood my work and my concept and working with her has been delightful not only because of her charming personality and deep knowledge about art but also because she really cares for artists and is something which is really rare to find. I love the way she explains my work to others no one has been able to do it the way she does before.
What kind/style of art do you like to create?
My main project is a self photographic project where I dress up as my ancestors in different times of history. Until now I have covered mostly the 19th century and I am going soon to interpret ancestors from the 18th and other centuries. My photographs are the product of a personal performance; I spend months living like my ancestors, getting to know they better: eating what they ate, reading what they read and so on. I grew up in a house surrounded by many family portraits, objects, letters and documents that have been kept by my family across generations and that has been a blessing since it allowed me to get know my ancestors as If they were alive added to the fact that my Grandparents told me many stories about them while I was growing up.
In order to look like my ancestors I work with seamstresses and tailors, costume specialists, make up artists and jewelers who make the accessories I need to recreate for the reinterpretation of my ancestors’ portraits.
Do you have any artists that inspired you?
Who was your role model as a child?
My role model was my paternal grandmother who raised me. She was a witty, sophisticated, generous and beautiful soul and I am so lucky to have learned to see the world through her eyes. I feel very privileged of being raised by a person who taught me the most important values in life and told me that there is not a better thing that being able to sleep at night knowing you did the right things throughout the day.
In five years from now, where do you see yourself and your career?
In five years from now my wish is to have made at least 20 more portraits and have a little family museum where I can show my work together with my family collection and also have a room to invite other artists whose work is also related to their families so they can show there.
How would your best friend describe you?
A sensitive and generous spirit, yet with a sharp, sarcastic tongue… provocative while also traditional.
Coquettish, bright and warm Christian is a kind, generous old-soul.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
I never thought about that but if I was a book it would be a book it would be about healing ourselves by understanding our ancestors’ lives.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
I would tell my younger self to spend more time with his loved ones, even though I did spend a lot of time with them it’s never enough because life is short and we always ended up wishing we did more to make them happy.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
I don’t consider myself an entrepreneur but I would definitely recommend one my favorite Wayne Dyer booms “Your magical zones” which I believe it would be very useful for them to read.
What’s next for Christian Fuchs in 2022?
Traveling to Germany to attend a family gathering to celebrate the death anniversary of our oldest known Schilling ancestor and continue doing my research in that country that I love, visit relatives and friends I haven’t seen since 2019 and then heading to Spain to visit family and friends as well and coordinate my future show in Madrid. Later in the year I will go back to my hometown and will continue with my Selfportrait Project interpreting historic ancestors.
What is your favorite healthy food?
And your favorite cheat food?
What is your own definition of happiness?
I think my definition is quite simple: being surrounded by the ones I love, be able to do what I love which is my art and be close to nature: forests, mountains, sea, meditate, cook, bake and grow a garden.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
It would be my Great great Grandmother who raised my Grandmother and was her favorite person. I would love to hear more stories about my Grandmother’s childhood from her perspective and also because she knew a lot about plants and flowers which I also love, I believe that from all my ancestors she is the person I resemble more in personality from all the stories I heard about her from my Grandmother.
Best advice ever given?
Don’t listen to others
Do you support any charity?
Favorite Song, why?
I have many favorite songs but I can tell you two of my favorites by Stevie Nicks: Sara and Seven Wonders, I love the first one because of its depth and the second one because it’s just magical and it makes me very happy to listen to it
What do you think of Social Media?
I like social media because it allows us to connect with people with similar interests. I have met great friends though social media and we write almost everyday. Another thing I love about it is that I can show my work to the whole world within seconds, I believe it’s a great tool for work, specially if you’re an artist.
Where we can follow you?
Book: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Quote: “Drink what your eye holds from the golden abundance of the world.” My Grandmother used to say that one very often and it’s a translation from the original in German “Trinke was das Auge hält von dem goldenen Überfluss der Welt.”
Movie: Mary Poppins
Tv Series: Outlander, Vikings and Game of Thrones together with Chinese series on Netflix like “Ten miles of Peach Blossoms” and “The Untamed”
Favorite Food: this is a hard question I believe I have many favorite dishes, most of them are Chinese, Peruvian, German and Italian.
Travel Destination: Germany
Sports Team: Not really into sports, just regular exercise like jogging by the seashore. I also do yoga to keep myself healthy, planks and abs when I have time.
For information about Christian’s current exhibit, please visit yiweigallery.com/christian-fuchs
For more information, please visit wearechristianfuchs.com/