Christie Helm was born in Dallas in 1967, and grew up loving art, design, and gardens, encouraged by her mother and grandmother, both of whom were artists. Helm went on to study art at the University of Colorado, receiving her BFA in 1990. After college, she moved to New York, where she made accessories working for Victor Costa, and paintings in a loft in Soho. After a year Helm moved back to Dallas, established a studio in Oak Cliff, where she both painted and made hats which were sold nationally. She started showing paintings with imagery of faces, doors, and windows. These works were dark in both mood and tonality, and highly textural.
During the 1990s, Helm married, had three children, and moved a number of times including to Lubbock, TX, Memphis, and back to Dallas. In that period, she started an interior design business. In 2006, Helm moved with her family to Chicago and there worked on a number of series of paintings. She created a group of works based on The Book of Revelations, featuring both figures and symbols. Helm's paintings included landscape-inspired paintings with thick pigment. These paintings were precursors to the series Trees. These paintings feature vertical lines of color with bulging nodes containing centers in contrasting colors. The paintings have multiple layers and passed through many stages of development.
Helm has noted that her series Trees was a response to the work of the painter Mark Grotjahn, a friend and former classmate. Other of her acknowledged influences are Barnett Newman, Joseph Albers, and Andre Cadere. Helms interest in structured color continued to manifest itself after she moved with her family to Brazil in 2012. She began a series of straight-line paintings, beginning with a group of vertical striped works, with one or two colors and white. In Helm's painting Ode to Cadere she creates a large work by combining eight panel into a frieze 29 feet long. This painting was inspired by the French artist's signature banded wooden poles that he carried with him while also responding to the Niemeyer Pavilion in Sao Paulo.
Helm went on to produce an ongoing series of Pop Rainbow paintings with a wide range of saturated hues, in both vertical and horizontal stripes, that seem to reflect the visual intensity of Brazil. Her most recent paintings are based on a grid of lines partially covered by a washy field of a single color, with contrasting horizontal stripes, suggesting an abstract sea. Helm is currently working on sculptures that begin with a vessel-like form made of woven strips of corrugated cardboard. The forms have been cast in aluminum and then painted.
Helm has shown her work extensively, including solo exhibitions at Escola Graduada, San Paulo; Barrett Debusk Gallery and D'ART Visual Art Center, both in Dallas. Her group exhibitions include those at ArtPrize Cathedral Square, FM Gallery and NEXT-Art, both in Chicago; Magnolia Gallery, Dallas; and Upstream People Gallery, Omaha.