Collin Allen is versatile. The Witchitan artist’s work spans the mediums of painting, sculpture, jewelry, photography, and work somewhere in between. Allen selects his medium depending on what he is trying to say.
“I don’t think there is one medium that can always carry my message or what I am wanting to get through to people. I think that’s why I’ve spent so much time learning and building the skills to use so many different materials.”
No matter the medium, Allen’s work is enhanced by the use of found objects. “Found objects are parts and pieces, and things from everyday life. A lot of times they’re cast off when they become unuseful, but they often have a lot of connections to people,” Allen says, “everything I do has some facet of reuse, upcycling.”
These finds are more than just shiny objects. They are integral to his work. “[They] create connections between our daily life and the feeling I’m trying to convey to my audience.”
Allen collects these items and incorporates them into his process in a variety of ways.
“A lot of times I find materials, and then wait years to find the parts that work well with them. Other days it’s an instant, I see those materials and I immediately know how to use them and what they could become.”
The final product is a blend of old and new. Work that utilizes the connotation of material from our everyday life. Art made out with what we throw away.
The artist explains, “This is something I started working on during the covid lockdown. It’s a combination of multiple pieces of my art. The base of the image is a 70x70 handmade canvas that I made out of upholstery samples, with graffiti sprayed and layered on the surface. Then I took a 15th-century image of Caesar, edited and mashed it with photographs of other pieces of art I’ve made over the years. Then I used a digital projector to project the image onto the canvas, creating yet another layer, and then I photographed it.
The idea came from trying to figure out ways to have art shows that other people could come and enjoy in a socially distanced public way. So it really started out as an experiment to see how digital images could be displayed in very urban environments.
I envisioned it as one person’s art being projected onto buildings and architecture, mixing with local street art (the graffiti that’s inherent in urban environments.) For this series of pieces, I’m working on building a mobile platform that we’re able to move around, move locations, and create very open and public exhibitions of art where it generally isn’t found.”
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