“I saw a sock on the ground next to some pegs and realized it looked like a horse’s head,” she told Creative Boom. “It took me a while to develop the idea and figure out how to make the body of the horse. I ended up swapping the sock for pants because it was too small and not detailed enough for the horse.”
Since then, Helga has grown her Clothing Line Animals series, sharing her designs with popular success on social media and selling prints through her. online shop. Described as domestic surrealism, the amusing images playfully upset everyday objects. We see a polar bear clinging to a snowy background, a “Laundrosaurus”, “in fact a manual for becoming a paleontologist”, and a brown dairy cow. More recently, Helga created a suspension white dove to represent peace among nations. It is sold as a print and all proceeds are donated to charities working in Ukraine.
Working in a wide range of media, including illustration, photography, video and stop motion animation, Helga won Food Artist of the Year in 2020 and has since collaborated with the BBC, Honda and O2. A graduate of Central Saint Martins, she worked in the advertising industry and ran a children’s clothing business before becoming a full-time artist.
The Clothing Line Animals follows other popular works, such as Food For Thought, where Helga takes a type of edible treat and merges it with another object to have us take a double shot in each art photograph. Like the head of a LEGO Minifigure becomes a piece of sweet corn, or a dozen eggs suddenly have stalks like you find on tomatoes.
“I started doing creative photography on Instagram about six years ago. At first it was quick little projects to do with kids, but it turned into something a little more thoughtful and adult-oriented,” she says. “I like to look at everyday things like bread, cheese or the folds of the tablecloth. The fact that these objects are so recognizable and common makes me study them even more carefully. It’s like a visual meditation for me.”
In other artworks, Helga placed clothes lines under the windows of the property to create a sleepy smiling brick-walled figure and a laundry basket with two socks hanging in front of two washing machines to create a goofy happy face. In Edible Creatures, we see a gorgeous little pup made out of lettuce and the “ultimate comfort dog” made out of sliced bread, inspired by The Great British Bake-off and called Brad Pet, just that. “For me, family surrealism is about finding magic in the mundane, seeing beauty in imperfections, and connecting to our reality in a new way,” she explains.
“I love noticing playful similarities – whether it’s a sweater on a clothes line resembling a horse or a slice of bread resembling a dog’s head. That’s just the point though. From that point on, the stories and visuals start buzzing in my head: What will this horse look like? What is her name and character? Does she like to race with other horses? The list is endless !”
When it comes to process, Helga likes to keep her modifications to a minimum and invest more time in creating quality accessories. “I once glued 52 gummy bears onto a vine for one of my artworks,” she explains. “About a year ago, I also painted and hand-embroidered a hat for a polar bear in another room. The bear itself was photographed in Russia at -32°C, and it was a unforgettable experience that tested my stamina and photographic equipment.”