Christina Heurig

images · art direction · set design

Self portraits: The Christmas Wonderland Trinity

Detailed self portraits celebrate the spirit of Christmas: Alice in Wonderland meets the Nutcracker. (A fictional family portrait)

This year, I felt the heartbreaking urge to drown myself in a kitschy fairytale-and-all-cliche christmas mood: heavy red-golden brokat ornaments, oceans of candles and my favorite christmas fairytales… to stand my ground (again).

After the past two years I finally have the luxury of experiencing a quiet, peaceful christmas time and got rid of all my to-do tasks in the end of December. The last two ends of each year I spent with moving (first my fathers household, then my own), so there was no space (literally!) to calm down. I needed (desperately!) time to hide from the outside world and re-connect with my inner child and mystery-loving-personality.

Christmas & the question: What’s my ideal family?

Christmas has always been the holiday of ‘family’ – earlier in my life I’d been pressured to meet the whole bunch for Christmas, as I’ve been raised in a very catholic village… But  I don’t feel connected to most of them. Different generations, different state of mind. My parents are (especially my mother) different then the ‘rest’, so I had the change to grow out of this small world. I am very thankful for that possibility.

Today, my world consists of my ‘own’ family: a network of like-minded people to make each one feel less alone, inspire and push each other.
But the silent longing to have a rich, likeminded bunch of ancestors remains. I’ve always been a day dreamer, who reenacts imaginative worlds: It’s my only way to make them become real – and to soothe my aching longings. It is my way to cope with reality.

In attempt to contemplate my surroundings, I created a trilogy of detailed portraits that picture my ideal family. I locked myself into my new flat (which contains this pomp wallpapers!) and played with my toys. In this peaceful and uninterrupted process, my icons of this year’s Christmas were created.
This is definitively my favorite Christmas.

The Christmas Portrait trilogy

Clara Alice & the Nutcracker. Daughter (The Christmas family I, 2018)

“Oh spirit of Christmas, spill your secrets!”

Marie from the original story “Nutcracker & Rat King”, inspired by the looks of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland.
Personally, I identify with Marie from The Nutcracker 100%, as she’s able to talk to toys and gets sucked into a fantasy world with an innocent, beautiful ‘victorian living room’ atmosphere. The homely feeling just draws me in and contains ideals I try to act upon – I live still, as often as possible (the upside of freelancing!), in this kind of dreamworld and surround myself with curiosity and beautiful toys. It makes me feel free, young, playful and creative in my own, chosen well-protected home. Raise your glas for Nutcracker!

The Hatter’s homecoming. Father (The Christmas family II, 2018)

“I’ll come home for Christmas and tell you all about my Safari adventures.”

Disney-fied Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. Father.
My dream father wouldn’t be as mad as his namesake: He loves to travel to far away wonderlands and collects pretty things. Sometimes, he’d bring them home for me and teach me how to catch wild dragons. He’s in control of his time, looks beautifully androgynous and knows how to dress in style (always). He’d talk in raven’s tongue and – of course – he knows the answer of the question „Why is the raven like a writing desk?”.

The Red Heart Queen. Mother (The Christmas family III, 2018)

“Last Christmas… I took your heart.”

The Heart Queen from Alice in Wonderland (inspired by Queen Elizabeth I), just like Disney.
I have a strong connection to my real mother (and that is why this character is partly inspired by her). My fairy-tale mother knows how to hunt heads, but also how to give her heart to others. She’s sweet and caring, but looks very dangerous on the outside; elegant, glamorous and with a royal attitude: she’s fair and will fight for what she believes in. (And she’s broken some kings’ hearts on the way, ha!). Her favorite hairstyle is “Queen Elizabeth I sprayed to death with hairspray”.

I wanted to do these as long as I live in my new flat now (since February) – and it makes me happy to see which nice clothes I bought in the meantime and haven’t used for photos yet. Most of them are cheap from ebay or flea markets, but they make the story so much better. Nearly lit them on fire while handling all the candles. That’s the spirit of Christmas!