Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, the primary artist and designer of the duo's projects, was born on June 13, 1935 (age 77) in Gabrovo, Bulgaria. His father, Vladimir Javacheff, was a scientist, and his mother, Tsveta Dimitrova, was a secretary at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia. Artists from the Academy visiting his family saw Christo's artistic talents at an early age. On his father's side, Christo is the descendant of a German immigrant in Bulgaria. Christo's great-grandfather, the German Friedrich Fischer, had invented a modern system for mass production of bearings. Fischer sent his son - Christo's grandfather Vitus Fischer - to Bulgaria to open the first bearing factory in Eastern Europe. Then when the project collapsed (14 Bulgarian workers died in an accident at the factory) and seeing that the local police looked at him suspiciously, Vitus Fischer changed his identity to that of Dmitri Javacheff, the name of one of the workers who died in the factory. accident. With his new identification, Vitus rejoined society as an ordinary Bulgarian and began working in a milk production business. Dmitri's grandson, Vladimir Javacheff, displayed his grandfather's technological prowess and became an academically successful scientist in Bulgaria, although he was still poor.
Christo realized his German origins in the 1970s and, after a brief trial in the courts of what was then West Germany, he was compensated with 49% of Friedrich Fischer's estate. Although this would make Christo a millionaire, he decided to live modestly on a part of what his artistic work produced, donating most of his income and all his inheritance to charities. In his youth, Christo became interested in the theater and in Shakespearean plays. In 1953, he was admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts, but became disillusioned with the strict curriculum imposed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party of the time. He studied Art at the Sofia Academy from 1952 to 1956 and another year in Prague, Czechoslovakia. In 1957, Christo fled the socialist state by hiding in a truck transporting medicine to Austria. Christo quickly settled in Vienna and enrolled at the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts. After only one semester there, he traveled to Geneva and then moved to Paris. Due to the trip, he lost his citizenship and became stateless. His life in Paris was characterized by economic deprivation and social isolation, which was increased by his difficulty in learning the French language. He made money painting portraits, which he compared to prostitution. When visiting the galleries and museums of the city, he was inspired by the work of Joan Miró, Nicholas de Stael, Jackson Pollock, Jean Tinguely and mainly by that of Jean Dubuffet. In January 1958, Christo made his first piece of "wrapped art": he covered an empty paint jar with a canvas soaked in acrylic. He tied it up and colored it with glue, sand, and car paint. A German businessman named Dieter Rosenkranz bought several small works "wrapped" by Christo. It was through Rosenkranz that Christo met French artist Yves Klein and art historian Pierre Restany.