Street art

Guido van Helten

Australia 1986


Guido van Helten
Guido van Helten
September 19, 2016
Music, Gestalt, .

Best known for his large-scale, site-specific murals, Guido van Helten is an Australian artist whose breathtaking monochromatic portraits adorn the walls around the world. Working in a photorealistic style, the highly talented artist creates delicate and elegant pieces that have an overall atmosphere of melancholy and a deeply sentimental quality. His work is often informed by photographic reference material that is culturally important to the area he is working in. The artist always pays special attention to details and tries to incorporate specific local elements into his pieces.

Guido van Helten instagram contact
Guido van Helten – mural for The Unexpected, Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA, 2016

Early Career

Born in 1986, Guido van Helten spent his formative years in Melbourne, one of the world’s great street art capitals, where he used to tag trains in the traditional graffiti-style. However, after he got in many troubles with police – and was even arrested for graffiti a couple of times – he realized that something has to be changed because the time and money involved seemed like a waste. While this could have put him off of graffiti for good, it instead influenced his decision to create more professional and developed work. He moved to Brisbane to study art at the Southern Cross University. In 2008, Guido van Helten obtained his Bachelor’s degree of Visual Arts, Printmaking Major.

Guido van Helten – Portrait of an Artist, a new video directed by Selina Miles

Photo-Realistic Murals

Over the years, van Helten has developed an inimitable style inspired by the look of old black and white photographs. The artist invests a lot of time and effort when developing a concept for a location – he visits site or place, learns about its history, tradition and culture before chose a photo that he will use as a source of inspiration. He often uses images of friends, famous and locals to highlight the soul and spirit of the municipality, city, street and its inhabitants. The vintage style gigantic wall portraits are made by a range of tools including rollers, paintbrushes and fatcaps. Although his earlier pieces were characterized by bold, contrasting blocks of colors, today he mostly uses a monochromatic palette which allows him to create intricate shading and details that make his work utterly wonderful.

Guido van Helten mostly uses a monochromatic palette

Guido van Helten copyright new gallery festival
Guido van Helten – mural in Estado de Mexico (State of Mexico), 2016

Brim Silos Mural Project

The artist who is constantly striving to perfect his skills as a painter created one of his most gigantic pieces to date in late 2015. Depicting portraits of four local figures on six 30-metre-high decommissioned grain silos, the colossal piece is located in the tiny drought-stricken town of Brim in the Wimmera region of Victoria, Australia. A month-long project reflects in broader context issues locals deal with in this town. Brim Silos mural project was amongst finalists of Sir John Sulman Prize 2016.

In late 2015, he began his one-month-long Brim Silos Mural Project

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Guido van Helten – Brim Silos Mural Project, Australia, 2016

From Australia to Iceland to Mexico

Today, Van Helten’s works can be found everywhere from Australia to the United Kingdom, from Eastern Europe to Iceland to Mexico. His portraits of un-idealized faces of the ordinary man, woman and children in a stunning, realistic manner are striking in their ability to capture all the emotions of their subjects. Amongst his large-scale pieces, the artist also creates studio works. He had his debut one-man show in 2012. Entitled Veneer, the exhibition was on display at Jugglers Artspace, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

Guido van Helten lives and works in Brisbane, Australia.

Featured image: portrait of the artist
All images courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Urban Myths, supported by British Embassy in BelarusMinsk, BelarusGroup
2015City Art ProjectKiev, UkraineGroup
2015Wonderwalls, Urban art festivalWollongong, AustraliaGroup
2015JJ street Baltic Session 2015Supported Australian Embassy of the Baltic, Tallinn, EstoniaGroup
2015Mary-Anns PolariggenLongyearbyen, SvalbardGroup
2015Big City LifeRome, ItalyGroup
2015City Art ProjectKiev UkraineGroup
2015Skugga Hotel (KEA Hotels) collaboration with Ragnar AxelssonIcelandGroup
2015Sirkus FOFaroe IslandsGroup
2015Eternitten ArbejdermuseumAalborg, DenmarkGroup
2015Collingwood Power StationMelbourne, AustraliaGroup
2015Wall to Wall, street art projectBenalla VIC, AustraliaGroup
2015Cargill project, with Selina MilesCrawford, Texas USAGroup
2015The WorkshopRedfern, Sydney, AustraliaGroup
2015Wonderwalls, Street arts FestivalPort Adelaide SAGroup
2014Sia, commissioned for AkureyrarvakaAkureyri, IcelandSolo
2014Jon ur Vor, for Kópavogsbær (commissioned)Kópavogur, IcelandSolo
2014Drawout 2014, Urban Arts FestivalLimerick, IrelandGroup
2014Commissioned WorkHeimaey Harbour, Vestmannaeyjar, IcelandSolo
2014World Firsts Mural (commissioned)Orkney, ScotlandSolo
2014RVKRVX Mural ProjectReykjavik, IcelandGroup
2013Leith Late, Mural ProjectEdinburgh, UKGroup
2013Commonwealth Games Mural ProjectGlasgow, ScotlandGroup
2013Faces of the East End, Collaborative mural project with Phil MaxwellLondon, UKGroup
2013Skagaströnd Mural ProjectSkagaströnd, IcelandGroup
2013One Way Street Festival, Featured ArtistSurfers Paradise, AustraliaGroup
2012Harvest Arts and music festivalBrisbane, AustraliaGroup
2012Island Vibe Arts and music festivalStradbroke Island, AustraliaGroup
2012Back Alley Gallery project stage 2Lismore, AustraliaGroup
2012Splendour in the Grass, Arts and music festivalByron Bay, AustraliaGroup
2012Market Lane ProjectWollongong Central Shopping centre, Wollongong, AustraliaGroup
2011Back Alley Gallery project stage 1Lismore, AustraliaGroup
2011Southbank enhancement projectBrisbane, AustraliaGroup
2011Coopers Plains Railway StationBrisbane, AustraliaGroup
2010Robina stabling yard mural (commissioned)Gold Coast, AustraliaGroup
2012Inala Kids in Mind Clinic workshop program (commissioned)Mater Hospital, AustraliaSolo
2012VeneerJugglers Artspace, Fortitude Valley, BrisbaneSolo
2013Open Studio, Guido van Helten & Fintan MageeOpen Studio, Coffs Harbour, AustraliaGroup
2013Northern ExposureAmbush Gallery, Waterloo, SydneyGroup
2013Bris Best FestWest End, BrisbaneGroup
2012Rinse and RepeatAmbush Gallery, Waterloo, SydneyGroup
20124 Letter WordLo-Fi collective, Darlinghurst, SydneyGroup
2012Deck the wallsBleeding Heart Gallery, BrisbaneGroup
2012Road to RuinThe Tate Gallery, Glebe, SydneyGroup
2012Road to Ruin5 Crown Lane Gallery , WollongongGroup
2012Group ShowStairway Gallery, Adelaide St, BrisbaneGroup
2012States of MindLOFI collective, SydneyGroup
2012GOMA & GOPABleeding Heart Gallery, Brisbane, AustraliaGroup
201250/50Jugglers Art space, Brisbane, AustraliaGroup
2011Art DoWhite Canvas Gallery, BrisbaneGroup
2011ContrabandWhite Canvas Gallery, BrisbaneGroup