Mercedes Helnwein

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Mercedes Helnwein (born 1979, Vienna, Austria)[1] is an artist, writer and filmmaker. Her father is Austro-Irish artist Gottfried Helnwein. She and her brothers, Cyril, Ali, and Wolfgang Amadeus, often modeled for their father's work as children.[2] She grew up in Austria, Germany and the United States and lives now in Ireland and Los Angeles.


Fine art[edit]

Mercedes Helnwein's large-scale drawings, most of which are done with black pencil, colored pencils, or pastels, suggest storyboard or graphic novel frames, although their contents refuse to cohere one picture to another. Helnwein does not so much tell stories or even capture moments in her drawings as she triggers possibilities. Her technical style underscores a sense of displacement.[3]

In an interview with the LA Times Helnwein is quoted as saying: “To be powerful, art should be honest, direct and thought-provoking, It should shake you up, take you out of your element. Making people uneasy is one way to do that.” [4]

Helnwein's art debuted in 2003, with her first group exhibition hosted in Downtown Los Angeles by art collector and actor Jason Lee.[5] This exhibition was followed by regular self-instigated one-night-shows at spaces throughout L.A., often with photographer Alex Prager with whom she founded Devil's Porchlight Press in 2004.[6] Thereafter, Helnwein began to exhibit in New York, Berlin, Dublin and London.

Mercedes Helnwein contributed art to the Beck album, The Information (2006),[7] and appeared in his music video for "Gamma Ray," filmed by photographer and filmmaker Autumn de Wilde.[8] She has worked with the following galleries: Blackston Gallery (New York), Merry Karnowsky Gallery (Los Angeles), The Shooting Gallery (San Francisco), Pool Gallery, Dittrich & Schlechtriem (Berlin), and Bespoke Gallery (Dublin).

In 2010 Damien Hirst acquired the entire work of Helnwein's "Whistling Past the Graveyard" show in London.[9]


In 2004, her travelogue, "Devil Got Religion," covered the 15-day road trip with Alex Prager and Beth Riesgraf for their "America Motel" installation.[10] In 2006, she signed with the literary agency, Ed Victor Ltd.,[11] based in London. Other representation includes the New York agencies, Fletcher & Company[12] and William Clark Associates.[13] Her debut novel, The Potential Hazards of Hester Day, was released in February 2008 by Simon & Schuster.[14]


In 2008, Mercedes Helnwein included video as a medium in her work. Her brother, Ali Helnwein, composed the scores. They continue collaborating as filmmaker and composer. Her short films, "Faking it," “Whistling Past the Graveyard," and "East of Eden," are reminiscent of the strange and mysterious scenes depicted in her drawings.

In 2011 Mercedes Helnwein directed an art/fashion film for the AW 2011 collection of UK based fashion label Orla Kiely. She worked again with Orla Kiely for their SS 2012 collection film.[15]


  • The Helnwein Siblings' Artful Life in LA, by Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, Oct 16, 2011 [12]
  • Maybellene Kennedy Isn't Telling You Anything, by Lyle Zimskind, Los Angeles Magazine, Oct 10, 2013 [13]
  • Strange Girls, Sinister Fruit, by Anne B. Kelly, Huffington Post, Nov 11, 2010 " [14]
  • Surprise Issue: Mercedes Helnwein, LADYGUNN Magazine, June 21, 2011 “ [15]
  • Mercedes Helnwein: East of Eden at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery, by Peter Frank, Art Ltd, Jan 2010 [16]
  • Making Cindy Sherman Proud, by Rachel Wolff, New York Magazine, July 3, 2007 [17]
  • Something Artful This Way Comes, by David Cotner, LA Weekly, November 11, 2010 [18]
  • The Potential Hazards of Hester Day, Mercedes Helnwein, Publishers Weekly, Nov 5, 2007 [19]


  1. ^ Mercedes Helnwein: Temptation to be Good, Juxtapoz magazine, December 30, 2013 [1]
  2. ^ The Divided Self – Gottfried Helnwein in his self-portraits, essay by Peter Gorsen, from Der Untermensch, Edition Braus, Heidelberg, 1988 [2]
  3. ^ Mercedes Helnwein: "East of Eden’’, by Peter Frank, art ltd, Jan 2010 [3]
  4. ^ The Helnwein siblings' artful life in L.A. by Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, October 16, 2011 [4]
  5. ^ People are Strange: Mercedes Helnwein’s ‘Make it Dark’ at Merry Karnowsky Gallery, by Keith Dugas, cartwheel, November 20, 2012 [5]
  6. ^ The Book of Disquiet: An Immoral Drama, Alex Prager
  7. ^ Beck, The Information, Art Direction and Design, [6]
  8. ^ Beck – Gamma Ray, You Tube
  9. ^ Ladygunn Surprise Issue: Mercedes Helnwein, by Heather Seidler, June 21, 2011 [7]
  10. ^ Rooms with a view of America's heartland, Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, April 8, 2004 [8]
  11. ^ Artist/Author Mercedes Helnwein Interview in Lula Magazine, W M Clark Associates, New York [9]
  12. ^ Mercedes Helnwein The Potential Hazards of Hester Day (S&S US), Fletcher & Company [10]
  13. ^ Current Book List, W M Clark & Associates
  14. ^ The Potential Hazards of Hester Day, Mercedes Helnwein Author, Publishers Weekly, November 5, 2007 [11]
  15. ^ Orla Kiely, UK, Films,

External links[edit]