When visual artist Alexandra Von Fuerst was commissioned to present her take on the theme of ‘Ablaze’, her mind immediately wandered to a friend she met on a trip. For Von Fuerst, finding a muse who embodied sensuality was key to bringing her vision to life. As an artist and photographer, Von Fuerst’s pieces are highly distinguishable, featuring visual feasts of bold colours and idyllic florals which give way to deeper meaning—female-empowerment. Her work centres on the connection between the human body and nature, and her piece for Vogue Singapore—entitled Ignited Soul—embodies that very artistic ethos.
The shoot for this piece took place in a humble apartment located in Mexico, where Von Fuerst was based during the time of our interview. With sustainability at the forefront of her process, everything from the clothes on the model’s back to the iridescent backdrop are items that Von Fuerst either already owned or would reuse in the near future. The result? A whimsical, ethereal snapshot of feminine energy. Here, Von Fuerst steps away from her camera to speak about travel, ecofeminism and the genesis of Ignited Soul.
What was the inspiration behind the piece you created for us?
When I came across the theme of ‘Ablaze’, the first thing that came to mind was a sort of intense light, rather than a fire. I was thinking about how we are all made up of little lights. I wanted to capture the energy that people exude, and show a part of my subject that transcends who she is in her daily life, something extremely feminine and powerful—almost divine.
How did you find your artistic ethos?
Working with women has resonated with me the most since the very beginning. And when I started travelling to Southeast Asia and South America, I really connected with nature and knew that it, too, had to be an important part of my work. That was the moment when I understood my niche. It’s strange, but this epiphany came at a time when I was struggling creatively, but it finally clicked in my head and I realised what I wanted to do.
Has travel played a large role in shaping your creativity?
I wouldn’t be the person I am if it wasn’t for travel. I was lucky as a child since my parents brought me along on their trips, so I never developed a sense of nationality, which gave me an open mind and nuanced point of view. But it was when I started travelling alone that I learnt who I really am.
In 2019, when I first went to Mexico, I was at a stage in my life where I was thinking of leaving the fashion industry. During the trip, I fell so sick that I couldn’t move from my bed. When you find yourself alone and vulnerable in a place far from home, it truly takes you out of your comfort zone and challenges how you think. It was then that I realised I wanted to change something about what I was doing. From then on, my work started evolving organically and has eventually transformed into what it is today.
Being an ecofeminist means understanding the intrinsic connection between nature, womanhood and how we perceive the world
Your pieces are often geared towards promoting body acceptance. What are some other causes you’re passionate about and hope to bring across in your work?
Acceptance, as a broad theme, is something I’m very passionate about. I really hope for society to move towards total acceptance and deep compassion for the things and people around us. This is deeply tied to my philosophy of ecofeminism, which means understanding the intrinsic connection between nature, womanhood and how we perceive the world.
What is your ultimate goal as an artist?
My dream is to evoke emotion and hope in the people who view my work. I want my pieces to make a difference, not only to me, but to my audience as well. Through my art, I hope to inspire a more gracious and peaceful world.
Read more about Vogue Singapore’s artists-in-residence.