The HEL10S Project is the container for artist Henry Riekena’s work with what he terms “photodynamic paintings,” which are specifically designed to shift under different spectrums of light. Riekena has been developing a unique personal visual language--drawing from sources as diverse as abstract expressionism, graphic arts, graffiti and visionary art--for nearly two decades. He utilizes his mastery of composition in combination with an intuitive, improvisational approach to create mesmerizing, kinetic paintings unlike any others.
HEL10S is pronounced like Helios, from the Greek for ‘sun.’ The binary 1 and 0 denote the artwork’s use of technology: Artificial intelligence that aids inspiration, videos, NFTs, and digital lighting control equipment--a digital sun--that allows painting to expand into layered, time-based compositions. The "Project" is a nod to the collaborative nature of the work. Riekena often works with musicians and sound art, which both synaesthetically inspire the paintings and accompany finished works to create truly immersive, multi-sensory art experiences. Lighting designers, artificial intelligence, and (at least in the artist's opinion) the flow of deep, universal consciousness all also play various roles in the work.
The HEL10S Project challenges the viewer to shut off their mind’s analytical narrator, and to allow the subconscious to simply follow the rhythms and patterns of the brushstrokes and feel their eyes whirring, bouncing and flowing across the surface as they play through the layers and interwoven compositions. This allows the viewer to drop into a more dream-like state, offering the opportunity to ‘reboot’ and re-calibrate, taking a sense of flow and connection away from the experience.
This dovetails with Riekena’s belief that personal and spiritual growth are keys to our collective progress and evolution. When we can quiet our conscious narrator and get into a more relaxed state—whether it’s called meditative, spiritual, or psychedelic—and focus on our senses, we become more self-aware. These moments of quiet self-awareness are increasingly rare and precious in our stimulus-soaked modern world. By creating fully immersive work that is new, beautiful, and unconstrained by either the audience’s preconceptions or the artist’s imposition of any singular ‘meaning,’ The HEL10S Project creates spaces which help people access and embody these powerful moments of awareness
Riekena's work draws from deep wells of emotion, experienced in a state of flow, to generate kinetic, expressive compositions. He then painstakingly weaves the many compositional layers together into more refined and coherent, but still active and energetic wholes. Visible and ultraviolet lighting conditions can then emphasize aspects of these compositions or reveal marks that may be otherwise invisible. Subtly--or sometimes abruptly--shifting through the spectrum creates a dynamic, engrossing environment that captures the viewer’s attention for an extended time.
Riekena began working with digitally-controlled lights in 2015, most notably with “Return to Source,” a tryptich of 6’ x 10’ paintings initially installed at that year’s Burning Man festival. As the ability of these effects to combine with music to create time-based multi-sensory experiences became clear, the HEL10S Project was born. Now Riekena’s primary body of work, the HEL10S Project continues to create beautiful, engrossing installations that push the boundaries of how paint and light can be experienced.
"I believe in the transformative power of art, that in recording those bursts of pure flow, it can act as a conduit of higher consciousness, can share that feeling, that freedom with another mind if it is willing to receive it."
"Art that comes from a place of depth and sincerity can resonate with our spirits and communicate in a way that we don't fully comprehend."
"We are ALIVE! And when we remember that, when we can really feel our own aliveness, this exact moment, in this exact body, is when we feel inspired and empowered to grow, and to dream."