Helnwein is known for his courageous work depicting wounded children, as well as performances in public spaces. Helnwein is a conceptual artist, concerned primarily with psychological and sociological anxiety, historical issues and political topics. As a result of this, his work is often considered provocative and controversial. He has worked as a painter, draftsman, photographer, muralist, sculptor and performance artist, using a wide variety of techniques and media. Helnwein is also known for his stage and costume designs of theater, ballet and opera productions. amongst them Staatsoper Hamburg, Volksbühne Berlin and Los Angeles Opera.