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Interview: Christopher Ulrich

Christopher Ulrich is an artist working out of Los Angeles, CA. His work is filled with surreal, iconographic imagery. Following his Demoneater, and Illuminator shows, Christopher will be opening his latest solo show at La Luz De Jesus, The Reckoning in December 2012.

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Creep: Can you tell us a bit about your history with art: how you got started, any formal education, and obstacles you encountered in your journey until now?

Christopher: On my website I playfully illustrated a map of my life. It starts when I was born and leads up to my second series “Illuminator”. I keep regular journals, and encourage others to do the same. Overall I have found that my sketchbooks have been the most helpful tool, and promote a sense of adventure that is vital to life. The Masters have left behind their individual road maps, and each person marks their own way through the labyrinth of life. At the center is death, but along the way there are golden moments and opportunities, often disguised as obstacles. I believe that Art is a beautiful way of navigating through this maze. Just look at what others have left behind! I am still not entirely sure what all this means, to be an artist. I was not able to call myself an artist for a very long time. Now I am considered to be one. Perhaps when I reach the center, with my last breath, I will understand. Wouldn’t it be glorious to find out sooner! Alas there are no short cuts; I have tried a few with devastating results. Be true and clear. Investigate yourself. The rest will follow.

Creep: Coming this December to La Luz De Jesus Gallery is your new show, “The Reckoning”. Can you tell us a bit about this new series of works?

Christopher: On 12-7-12 I will have a show, which I am currently working on, titled “Christ Chronocrater – The Reckoning – Series 3”. It will feature 12 new works. My intent is the creation of something magical. It is an alchemic operation of faith from the perspective of doubt transformed. It is greater and stronger than I am and to speak of it is misleading. The “Reckoning” is not a final judgment; instead it implies a settling of all accounts. The whole body of work is based on the twelve operations. The series climaxes with the “Last Supper” which is located at the point where the serpent’s mouth swallows its tail. This series is the third and last chapter of a process I started in 2005, which I had the opportunity to show series 1 in 2007 on Day of the Dead. Demoneater began the process. It was the black. I then showed series 2 “Illuminator: The Royal Wedding” on August the sixth, 2010. It was the white. This last series will be the reddening, and for anyone who can come to see it on that night will be a part of something wondrous.

Creep: You work with a variety of mediums. Are there any mediums you would like to work with in the future, such as sculpture, video, digital art or likewise?

Christopher: What if you had an experience in which artwork was making you? For example, you see something unreal and it “talks” to you. This “thing” will only reveal itself to others if it is carved in wood. Suddenly you find yourself carving wood to find it. The wood mysteriously shapes itself into the form of the very thing that you have imagined communicating with. This is the relationship to the invisible world. I do have things I wish to express in stone, marble, wood, found objects, movies, masks, graphic novels and even toys! We shall see what happens!

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Creep: Can you tell us a bit about the visual language you developed over the years?

Christopher: Over a period of time I have begun to feel that I am not developing anything, I am being developed by my art. You create a body of work. Then you are known for it, it defines you- whether you like it or not. Eventually you wonder: Why did I make it? Why does my work look like that? Why doesn’t it look like someone else’s work? Other artists may feel the same way. Do we choose what we make, and who we are? I cannot honestly answer this question. I have discovered that behind the visual language is a code. The code holds meaning and I hope it is as intriguing to the viewer as it is for me.

Creep: After looking at the La Luz De Jesus website, and some of the shows you have had there, it shows you not only create concept sketches but also discovery works. Along with the phase of discovery and the steps leading towards the completed works, what are some of the other methods of inspiration you use, such as music, movies, etc?

Christopher: The thing that moves me more than anything is a sincere moment. Truthfully, in this phase of painting “The Reckoning”, I find myself retreating to nature for inspiration. Quite frankly, I need to quiet my mind in this stage of my process. Our world is very loud, full of distraction and chaos. I am not insulated from it, and do not work in a vacuum. The suffering and noise can be overwhelming. Gossip is especially destructive, and our communications are impregnated with it. Long walks seem to help.

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