"I grew up watching these Russian Cartoons," Baldur Helgason told Juxtapoz in our Winter 2020 Quarterly. "The Soviet Union was putting a lot of money into cartoons to compete with the US, so the government-funded these incredible cartoons. There was this one of a rockabilly fox who smoked cigarettes. I would draw that all the time. A lot of my stuff is referencing mid-century European cartoons and comic books, which were influenced by those early American cartoon styles like Betty Boop. That stuff that bounces, I think, it is the loop that made them move like a rubber hose."

Nodding our heads in recognition, we agree and continue to enjoy the fine artwork of Icelandic-born, Chicago-based artist, Baldur Helgason. His characters often look familiar, like distant relations seeped into collective consciousness, sleepily eyed  Saturday morning cartoons. Yet, they are truly original, a combination of cultures and iconography that have shaped Helgason’s robust career. 

From April 4—May 9, 2020, Baldur introduces Spiritual Paintings For Emotional People in a virtual presentation with Richard Heller Gallery in Los Angeles, the artist's first solo show in LA, as he continues to demonstrate how the comic-book format can be applied to the fine art space. "I like going to museums and I surround myself with art books," Helgason told us. "Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about CoBrA, the European avant-garde of the late '40s early '50s. It was very influential in Iceland and had some Icelandic members. I’m always looking at the Expressionists, Fauvists, Symbolists, American art of the late ’60s and ’70s. And I found an old Chicago Art Institute box of Impressionist prints and I’ve scattered them all over the studio."

Richard Hellery Gallery will be hosting an Instagram Live Virtual Walkthrough Saturday, April 4 for both exhibitions on their schedule: 

Sara Birns @ 1:00 p.m.
Baldur Helgason @ 1:30 p.m.
Both times PST