CHARLOTTE STREET FOUNDATION STUDIO RESIDENCY PROGRAM

Charlotte Street Foundation identifies the needs and fuels the evolution of an ever-changing multidisciplinary arts ecosystem, acting as its primary provocateur. We cultivate the contemporary, the exceptional, and the unexpected in the practice of artists working in and engaging with the Kansas City Art Community

Rachel Helm

“Is this really messed up, or is it just me?”

“My influence, my experience, my academic background, all revolve around book reading or book learning of some form. I love novels about bad children who talk like adults, husbands and wives who despise each other, families destroyed by secrets and lies…stories that are darkly comic and abundantly tragic and grotesque. This being said, I like to work in a style that is readily narrative and often sequential, because it is the story between the lines that matters most to me. Comics and drawings, lend themselves well to this sensibility. All in all, my goal in work is to creep and to laugh.

Since I was very young I have read Archie comics, but always wished something really bad would happen in them. My aesthetic is sort of like: what if the Fifties happened in the Middle Ages? What if Archie had a club foot? What is the lamest joke in the world?

My most recent series of drawings are large scale, single page comic gags, executed in color pencil. Each drawing attempts to tell a story through image and text of worst case scenarios and not quite appropriate interactions. The subject matter I am pulling from is nostalgic…newspaper funnies, back page novelty ads, and teen magazines. While maintaining the vibrant colors and playful look of these traditions, I am trying to create a perverse alternate universe, populated by humanoid figures with disproportionate frames and ugly faces and hands, repeated patterns that clash and jar, situations that amuse and depress simultaneously, and underlying moments of depravity, shame, and off kilter sexuality. Upon first view, it is my desire that the audience be dazzled and titillated by color, shape, and the familiar format of comic style, and upon closer inspection wonder, ‘Is this really messed up, or is it just me?'”

Artist’s website

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This entry was posted on August 14, 2013 by in Rachel Helm, Visual Artists.

Charlotte Street Foundation

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