The HEL10S Project is the container for artist Henry Riekena’s work with what he terms “photodynamic paintings.” HEL10S is pronounced like Helios, from the Greek for ‘sun.’ The binary 1 and 0 denote the artwork’s use of control equipment to create a new digital sunlight that allows painting to expand into layered, time-based compositions impossible without modern technology.
Using various pigments which react to different wavelenghts of light in the visible and UV spectrum, Riekena creates mesmerizing, kinetic paintings unlike any others. He often works collaboratvely with musicians and sound art, which both synaesthetically inspire the paintings and accompany finished works to create truly immersive, multi-sensory art experiences.
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, beta-wave 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 growth 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 Riekena’s imposition of a singular ‘meaning,’ The HEL10S Project seeks to create spaces which help people access and embody these powerful moments of awareness
Although lighting is critical to the HEL10S Project’s work, Riekena’s visual language runs much deeper than the use of these effects. He has been developing this language since 2004, influenced by graffiti and graphic art as much as painterly traditions. With or without the addition of lighting effects, his work draws from deep wells of emotion, experienced in a state of flow, to generate kinetic, many-layered compositions. Woven together into coherent, but active and energetic wholes, Riekena’s work creates a mediatative environment by capturing 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, dynamic installations that push the boundaries of how paint and light can be experienced.
"I believe in the transformative power of art, not necessarily to change the whole world at once, but 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 really can move people; it 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."