“I know few people like him who are renowned in their field and they are genuinely humble and not driven by people’s praises. They do art for the sake of doing art. It’s a facet or a limb of their body. Chris breathes and sleeps art.”



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Five years ago, Joshua met Chris and Hillary Bilheimer at a dinner party with friends. At the time, HELM was still being made in Istanbul and was a fledgling company. Hitting it off instantly, Hillary stepped in as a brand manager, instigating the transition to US manufacturing, while Chris redesigned the logo and branding as well as doing photography and videography for the company. “If you asked me to name people that kept HELM going, they would be on the list,” Joshua says of the couple. “There was a two or three year period where, without them, I probably would have thrown in the towel. They kept me going and I think that’s a pretty good reason to name boots for them.” As such, the Pete was named for Hillary’s father and the Reid takes Chris’ middle name as it’s own.

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Chris has illustrated album covers for bands like R.E.M, Weezer, Neutral Milk Hotel, Green Day, Nirvana, Beck, and many more, as well as designing movie posters and book covers. He is a highly sought after artist, but one of the things that we love about him is that he is humble and generous and has not been affected by what others may let go to their heads. Upon meeting him, you wouldn’t know about these accomplishments because he doesn’t brag or talk about it as if it defines him. It isn’t until later that you may find out he created the art for bands that so many of us grew up listening to.

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Joshua says “I’ve watched him help so many people who are starting out in design. He creates a package or shows them how to launch it in between doing his own work, all because he wants to and he wants to see them succeed.” He is altruistic and genuine, which is why we are so honored to have him in the HELM family and to have a boot that carries his name.




featured image by klru.org

One thought

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this story with all of us. One of the things I’ve always loved so much about R.E.M. is that they stayed true to themselves and that they remained humble (unlike so many artists today) and now I can see that their generosity of spirit and humbleness carried over into all aspects of their career. If I had a genie right now that would grant me one wish it would be that I could sit and talk with Chris. He is a rare person in this day and age and it would be I believe a transforming experience to be able to chat with him. Thank you Chris and everyone else involved for being you! For being human and from one artist to another I commend you!!!


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