(American, b. 1950)
Born dyslexic, with difficulty reading, Allen turned to pictures as his language of choice. It was his way of communicating with the rest of the world and he wound up as a Vice President and global Creative Director with one of the largest advertising agencies.
With a background in graphic arts and communications, Allen created campaigns for an international market. He worked with some of the top photographers in fashion and photo journalism from National Geographic. He covered photo shoots around the world, from the jungles of the Panama Canal, to the North Sea, Paris, Barcelona, Ireland, Italy and Asia. He’s produced film and worked with some of the great cinematographers like Caleb Deschanel “The Natural” and “The Right Stuff” and Jeffrey Kimball “Top Gun.”
Allen’s life has also been a global experience living and working in Venezuela, Switzerland, Germany, Moscow, Kiev, London, Kuala Lumpur, India, Tokyo, Korea, Chicago, Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
Even though he had immense difficulty reading, Allen realized he could write and has written screenplays for most of the major studios in Hollywood- from Pixar, Warner Bros., Universal, Columbia, Twentieth Century Fox and Fox Television.
Allen’s creative talents have not just been limited to Hollywood and the commercial world. His years of experience as a graphic designer and Creative Director, his sense of color, the impact of his imagery, his photography background, even his talent for writing and storytelling all surface in what appears to be an amazing collection of provocative, intellectual and original images. Allen has put his vivid imagination to work, creating one of the most compelling collections of contemporary art.
Before there was plastic, toys were made from tin. That transition explores the loss of childhood innocence and opens a dialogue on a more intellectual level. With an inherent sense of whimsy, thought and provocation, Tin Nation asks questions of which there are no answers.
Things got interesting when I recently came across a toy robot that had been kept in an old shoe box. I remembered the pleasure it brought me as a boy…but now the rules had changed, I had grown up. So I went back and visited my childhood, not where I was born, this place, was in my head. That innocent imagination I possessed as a boy. What I found was, the imagination was still there, but my perspective had changed. I had acquired the unavoidable traits of adulthood. Pessimistic, optimistic, skepticism, cynicism, anger, injustice, love, compassion, all of that was now spinning around in my brain where it didn’t exist then. I wanted…I needed to…I had to explore this and find a way to express it.
Working only with tin toys made in China between the 50’s and 60’s, I create images that provoked thought, passion, consequence and emotion and wound up embracing the gratification that came years later from a child’s toy.