On the occasion of Helnwein's Solo Show "I Was a Child" at Friedman Benda NY
I didn’t become an artist because I thought I knew the answers. But I had questions. When I started painting I was like an autistic child. I had no contact with the so-called “Higher Arts.” My aesthetics were inspired by poorly painted saints from the late 19th century, Donald Duck comics, Jimi Hendrix, Captain Beefheart, and the Rolling Stones. Originally I didn’t even want to become an artist. As a kid I thought painters were boring old guys with beards and berets standing in front of easels and painting abstract canvases all day long. Being a member of the Rolling Stones seemed to me more like the ideal form of existence as an artist.