Jeff “Jeffro” Helm was born in 1964 in Fort McClellan, Alabama. Being born into a military family allowed him to live in and visit some beautiful, extraordinary places: Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland, Texas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Virginia, Germany, France, Holland, Switzerland, and Italy. Virginia is his favorite place; it’s what he calls home.
Jeffro and his wife built a studio onto the side of their house, which is where most of his paintings live unless they are visiting a gallery, restaurant, or coffeehouse. He graduated from Christopher Newport College (now Christopher Newport University) in January 1987 with an art teacher degree and started teaching art at Gloucester County Public Schools in the fall of 1987, while always creating art on the side. He dabbled in batik, cartooning, colored pencils, oil pastels, and acrylic paint. Murals have been ongoing projects for years. He has several in private homes and public buildings. He began experimental dribble paintings in 1997. In 1999, he discovered the amazing world of Shockoe Bottom Art Center, was accepted into his first juried show, sold two paintings, and, a month later, rented studio space.
Once again, Richmond is a new and vibrant inspiration for his paintings. Jeffro can be seen with his easel somewhere on a city sidewalk on a Saturday morning. His style of painting is first about color and second about texture. Lately, he has focused on forms, striving to make surfaces appear sculptural by using Cubist techniques or adding layers of color or materials. He works in constructed layers, and his themes have a humorous tone.
Acknowledging that we are always changing and evolving, his painting style is not a constant. It morphs from cartoon-like impressionism to cubism, and, on occasion, he will be found dribbling colors on his works. He believes his art is a celebration of life, love, movement, energy, and humor.