Fantasy artist Helen Rich has long been fascinated with the mystery and illusion of the masquerade. Based in Newport, South Wales, her work has been published in hobby and art magazines in America. As “Xothique(pronounced "Zothique")” – a name inspired by the exotic worlds of author Clark Ashton Smith – she has built up an online following who eagerly anticipate her latest projects.
In 2003, a commission from a theatre group for a set of masks based on eastern European mythology led to extensive research into the techniques of the mask makers of Venice, which Helen then adapted to her own unique designs. Later that year, she held her first exhibition of fantasy art and masks, and has never looked back.
Helen has become a keen supporter of the growing artistic community in her traditionally industrial hometown. Working with Newport and Gwent Enterprise, the NewpArt arts forum, 'Art in the Market' and other artists and traders, she has helped to raise the cultural profile of Wales' newest city. In November 2006, she was chosen to meet Prince Charles during his visit to the area, as one of the representatives of the "Enterprising Arts" project.
Today, Helen divides her time between mask making and painting. Working primarily in watercolours and acrylics, she continues to explore the exotic gothic and fantasy imagery that she adores.