Mercedes Helwein….

A question which frequently crosses my mind and I apologize in advance as it’s completely and utterly superficial, but hey here we go anyway…why are redheads always so cool?

It would seem that maybe I’m making a massive statement with this question when in actual fact how can one really assume that all red heads are cool? Well, I’m glad you you asked….I would begin with a few names (both fictional and non-fictional) and I guess these names should trigger the “Oh yes I see your point” voice in your head.

So here we go-

Kate Bush- one music video is all it took for me to realize that this was one amazing lady- the visual treasure that is Withering heights and I’m pretty sure you’ll agree?

Karen Elson (Super model, former wife of Jack White and owner of what is probably the greatest vintage store in the world ( Venus and Mars) based in Nashville.

Ariel- from the little mermaid. (Obviously)

Susan Sarandon- Rocky horror picture show, Witches of Eastwick, the list could on…

Grace Coddington- Stylist extraordinaire and creative director for American Vogue, a lot of you will remember her from the fashion documentary “The September Issue”.

Strawberry Shortcake, the name alone speaks volumes of her brilliance.

Lucille Ball – American comedienne and actress most famous for the historic early sitcom she created with real-life husband Desi Arnaz called I Love Lucy (1951-1957). I Love Lucy was memorable for being the first American TV show to star a female.

To add to my list of flame haired “extraordinaire’s”, is the incredible visual artist and writer, Mercedes Helwein.


Image source-Lula magazine.


Mercedes Helnwein was born in Vienna, Austria, daughter to renowned painter and art provocateur Gottfried Helnwein. With a deep fascination developing early on in her childhood for both the visual arts as well as literature, she began to dedicate her time equally among the two.

She moved to Ireland with her family, where she spent her teens drawing, writing and listening to the blues in a castle. Her influences, which range from Southern Gothic traditions to the cartoons of Robert Crumb, to nineteenth Century Russian literature, American motel culture and the Delta blues, eventually landed her in a style distinctly her own – unsettling, direct and quietly humorous.

In 2003 she added Los Angeles as a second home. Teaming up with friend and photographer Alex Prager, Mercedes Helnwein began exhibiting her art regularly around L.A. in unorthodox one-night shows. Initially a lot of people came to these shows for the free beer, but her intricate pencil drawings of weird goings-on soon began to attract a strong following, making her a vital representative of the L.A. art scene.

In 2008 Simon and Schuster published her first novel “The Potential Hazards of Hester Day”.

Film became an important element in her work in 2008, when she made a three-minute film to accompany her exhibition “Whistling Past the Graveyard” at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery in Los Angeles. Since then she has accompanied all her exhibitions with a short-film, for which her brother Ali Helnwein composes the music.

Mercedes Helnwein currently lives and works in downtown Los Angeles and Ireland.


Above words from Mercedes Helwein’s bio do check out her website at to see more of her amazing works, writing and current exhibitions.




Coloured pencil on paper works in her LA studio.


Above and below are a some of my favorite pieces from her earlier works.






 Suffice to say, Red heads rock!



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