Maxime Koch has a dream of bringing his artistic talents to the United States one day. At just 20 years old, he has just completed his 5th visit to the United States in the last five years, and will be returning for another visit in less than two months. Max has a passion for the arts, including photography, drawing, guitar and tattoo artistry.
Max’s love for the U.S. began before he ever visited the country. As a boy, Max enjoyed watching American movies, which he says gave him a vision of what it would be like here. Max’s first visit to the U.S. came as part of Ace International’s cultural exchange program when he was 16 years old. He stayed with a local family for three weeks. His visit turned out to match the expectations he found in the movies. “This is how I was imagining it would be in the United States.”
Because Max had more confidence with English than many of the other French students, he was emboldened to speak to Americans and found it easy to make friends. “I love this place so much that I wanted to meet as many Americans as possible,” recalls Max. He has since developed dozens of friendships that he is able to continue during his visits and through social media when he is back in France.
Southern California has been a great backdrop for his photography passion. “Every time I visit I take a few thousand pictures. Everything is so different than in France, the trees, the houses, the cars. It’s all so impressive to me.” He especially enjoys long exposure photos which create a unique effect that he enjoys sharing. Max has interned for the Chamber for the past month and has put his photography to work, as several of his photos will be featured in the upcoming Oceanside Living Magazine.
Max is not the first in his family to develop a love for America. Max’s dad Gerome, worked on an American military base in Germany as a young man, and came to appreciate American culture. While Gerome never fulfilled his dream to come to the U.S., this dream is being satisfied through Max.
While photography is his primary artistic outlet while visiting the United States, Max has been drawing since he could hold a pencil in his hand. Max recalls that when he was 4 years old, his parents bought him toy a phone. While he didn’t care much about the phone, the box the toy came in became a palate for his drawings. He enjoys drawing people the most, but has also drawn characters from cartoons, TV shows, and is now practicing tattoo artistry.
All of Max’s visits to the U.S. have been to Southern California, but when he eventually relocates to the U.S., he says he has plans to explore much more of our country.