The "F" List Interview with Christopher Ulrich
Christopher Ulrich had a Catholic school education through high school, attended Loyola Marymount, and was about to go to The Art Center with a scholarship, but instead changed his mind and journeyed around Asia for 2 years. It turned into a quest for a better understanding of himself and a search for what he wished to communicate through his art. The trilogy of work he has now completed was almost 20 years in the making. In March of 2005, a "Demoneater" prototype painting was revealed at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors benefit at the Hollywood Athletic Club. Work on his "Demoneater" trilogy began shortly after. He completed and exhibited "Illuminator" in 2011 and now has completed "The Christ Chronocrator" cycle.
It is truly awe-inspiring and humbling to behold this ambitious exhibit, comprised of twelve massive oil-on-wood-under-resin masterworks entitled "The Christ Chronocrater, Series III: The Reckoning". Seeing the show is akin to stepping into a sacred sanctuary where one can meditate on the struggles of mankind, which are dramatically played out in a series of vignettes. Ulrich's grand collection of allegorical work is based on the Zodiac and is laced with a mash-up of iconic symbolism, haunting imagery drawn from a variety of sources and larger than life subjects (Some recognizable and some open to interpretation).
The show is stylistically reminiscent of the work of The Renaissance Period. It includes a fresh take on "The Last Supper" which spans the entire length of a wall. The work is weighty, both literally and figuratively. Each painting celebrates the classic tradition of pain-staking detail made popular by masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. It is said to be sacrilege to worship false idols, however there is not one false note in Ulrich's 2-year labor of love. This talented artist is completely deserving of being worshiped for his achievement and devotion to his craft.
Rick Galiher: Forefathers (What painting masters do you admire?
Christopher Ulrich: Deus, Death, the Dragon, and the Devil.
RG: Fate (Do you believe in it?)
CU: No, I believe in Destiny.
RG: Fire (What keeps your passion for creating alive?)
CU: Defeating Delusions, Despair, Danger, and Darkness.
RG: Faith (What do you believe and how does that influence your work?)
CU: I have more Doubt than faith.
RG: Fantasy (How much does fantasy play a part in you work?)
CU: I work from Dreams, not fantasy.
RG: Fulfillment (What about your work floats your boat?)
CU: My work totally Dominates my existence. I am Devoted to the process.
RG: Focus (What is the trick to creating a series like this?)
CU: It just about being authentic and honest. The magician can control the Dragon. But, the true mystic rides it.
RG: Frustration (What is the most challenging part of being an artist for you?)
CU: Dealing with mean people.
RG: Flow (How did you go about creating this show?)
CU: "Demoneater" started it all.
RG: Fine-tuning (How much does an average piece change or evolve while you are working on it?)
CU: Day to Day.
RG: Finished (When do you know a work is complete?)
CU: When it shouts “Do not touch me anymore!”
RG: Future (What shows / projects / work is on the horizon for you?)
CU: I Do not know?
RG: Fuck-ups (If you could go back, would you like to redo a part of your life?)
CU: I must honor the Dynamic aspects of the Downside…
RG: Feelings (What have been your happiest and saddest moments?)
CU: Delighted to find love; Down in the Dumps when I am misunderstood.
RG: Fudge (What is the curse word you tend to use the most?)
CU: Damn it all to hell.
RG: Food (What is your favorite meal?)
CU: I Drink more than I eat.
RG: Fun (What do you do for fun and in your free time?)
CU: I Dance and Draw.
RG: Family (How much does family influence your pursuits?)
CU: I Decorate their homes.
RG: Follow (Where can people track what you’re up to?)
CU: I've been working on this since I got out of college- Trying to gain this understanding of something more. Something Deeper. This (Surveying the show) is a testament. This is my best work. It took everything."The Christ Chronocrater, Series III: The Reckoning" will be on view until December 30th, 2012 at La Luz De Jesus Gallery, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90277. (323) 666-7667.
The first discussion with Ulrich was two and a half hours. A second discussion took place this past week. I attended this one and was struck by the number Ulrich disciples who had flocked to him for more answers and who made the pilgrimage to revisit the show. As we gathered at La Luz de Jesus Gallery and listened to his enlightening explanation of the work, it occurred to me that Ulrich's passionate spirit and extremely thoughtful observations have elevated him from the role of accomplished painter to an almost profit-like positioning. In revealing his work, he also reveals himself. He admits the process was not an easy one, but now that it is completed, he is thankful for the challenges and has gained a greater understanding of himself. This is an eighteen minute highlight reel directed by Randy Wall.