Gottfried Helnwein, born October 8 in 1948, is an Austrian-Irish artist who works in hyper-realistic painting, photography, sculpture, performance, and installation art. While he works in a wide variety of mediums, Helnwein consistently revisits two major themes: the child and the cartoon world. However, Helnwein’s artwork exhibits none of the naïveté to be expected from his subject matter, instead focusing on matters of cruelty, violence, and sexualization. His output is generally considered provocative, and controversies have arisen from those depicting scenes of wounded children and Nazism. Despite the disputes over such content, Helnwein’s works reflect an ardent anti-war, anti-fascist message that he has consistently expressed through his work over the course of his life. Helnwein often combines photography with his painting, altering blown-up photographs with oil paints to create a menacing, turbulent atmosphere—in his recent “Disasters of War” series of mixed-media paintings, children lie bleeding, bandaged, or uniformed as though soldiers, frequently juxtaposed with kitschy toys and erotic figurines. His work, he says, has more to do with identification with those he sees so oppressed: "When I see how kids grow up, how they are neglected and mistreated, how they get polluted with drugs, junk food, insane television and bad schools, it's terrible—and dangerous, because they are our future. Children are sacred—we need to protect, support and encourage them."