11/22/2010 09:45 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Adam Helms Opens His Studio To Beautiful/Decay | Studio Visit (PHOTOS)

Courtesy of Beautiful/Decay
Adam Helms is known for drawing radicals and constructing ominous wooden watch towers. His current project is a series of 48 charcoal portraits in response to Gerhard Richter's "48 Portraits." Richter's work used encyclopedia photos to catalog the iconic males of Western culture. Helms is also cataloging icons, but shifts focus to the dangerous fringes where civil wars and insurrections take place. Ranging over the entire political spectrum, from anti-establishment and anti-government groups to official government troops, Helms' portraits are intentionally politically ambiguous, stating "The politics are less interesting to me then this idea of a repeated identity."

When asked if all the portraits were of resistance fighters, Adam responded, "Not all of them, there's a couple of images that are not, there's one of a Mexican Federal police officer, and another of a Brazilian military police officer. It's not about right or left politics, it's about this idea of masking and militarized resistance against some other force. The majority of them are taking up arms against civil society, or fighting for a particular religious or cultural identity versus someone else, but it all comes down to masking, utilizing violence, and then appearing in this ominous way. Appearing shadow-like, or as these posturing, confrontational looking guys, either for propagandist purposes, or just to show themselves that way to the world."

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