Adam Helms


This photograph shows an older drawing of mine from a couple of years ago. It was derived from images of Ian Curtis, the deceased and immortalized vocalist of Joy Division. At the time I made it, I was also working on a series involving a character, whom I thought of as Mickey Mouse grown in real time into an adolescent or a young adult with grotesquely bulbous and droopy features. This unnamed character became a protagonist in vignettes and narratives I was thinking about at the time. As I kept making the drawings, though, I began to realize this character wasn't so much about reinventing a notable cartoon icon, but about representations of masculinity, vulnerability, and dread. When I look at the drawings now, I realize they were ultimately portraits of my own psyche—pictures of me. I think Jason saw this as well, and that's why he photographed me with this drawing instead of all the new work I had on the walls in my studio. I initially didn't want him to take a picture of me with older work, but when I saw the photograph I realized it's actually a rather bizarre and apt double portrait.