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ARTE: Mercedes Helnwein

ELEKTRA II, 2011 Oil pastel on paper 71 x 47inMercedes Helnwein


Mercedes is a writer and a visual artist. She has gallery exhibitions all over the world and is a published author.  The following excerpts are things we found intriguing from her website.

In response to the question, whether she considers herself to be fragile:
No. I’m not sure how I’d survive as an artist if I were fragile.

On why she moved to Los Angeles:
I have no obvious answer for that. LA is a town that should naturally repel me. For some reason it did the opposite. I didn’t know anything about LA at the time, and had no interests in the movie industry, no interest in the California weather, no dreams of becoming a movie star or surfing. But for reasons I don’t really know how to formulate, I was drawn to that town, and I just knew I wanted to go there. Then, of course, I hated it when I got there. Nothing made sense to me, and I couldn’t relate to all the partying and desperate attention to bodies and clothes and fame and money. There is so much substitution of culture with the worst kind of entertainment.

But the idea of moving away was never an option. And about two years into my existence in LA, I suddenly felt at home there. After scraping through layers of “LAness” you come to a creative core of sorts, with a whole universe of strange, like-minded people. And surprisingly enough I found a possibility there to create art with more dignity and honesty than would have been possible in any of the official art centers of the world.

I owe a lot to LA. It’s the fakest place in the world, no doubt about it; but I found some kind of very genuine quality there that was completely unexpected.








Gallery Director Michelle Joan Papillion visited Mercedes at her DTLA studio a few years ago when she was getting ready for a show at the Grammy Museum. 


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