Painter | Illustrator | Musician
My name is Julian Allen, I am 21 years old. I'm an illustrator, painter, and musician based in Lake Carmel, New York.
My oil paintings have been focused around my family; family found and family found and family lost over the years. (You can find them here, on my main page) Lately, I've been extremely interested in this topic especially after my recent trip to London, United Kingdom where I got to finally meet up with lost family members that I've never met before. They are the most loving and amazing group of people and I'm proud to call my family. My paintings are depictions of various peoples/family members that I find old family photo albums. I paint both people that I recognize and people that are total strangers to me. Painting these figures send me to this dreamscape of joy and togetherness as well as shooting me down to a low place where I can mourn. I don't have much family in the United States, mainly in Jamaica, Sierra Leone, and the United Kingdom. It has always been difficult to arrange meet-ups with them some painting these photographs help bring me closer to them.
As I'm sifting through photographs of my family's past, I try to pick pictures that have my family members posing in some way, whether it be someone holding an object or making a basic pose for the camera. When I create these paintings, I want to incorporate elements of flash photography - focusing on the composition, space, and of course, the figures of the photograph of my choosing. With these photographs, I start with a thin light wash quickly painting in my figures in bright colors. I also take the basic compositional elements from the background and paint them in with unorthodox colors. I choose these colors based on the conversation I have with the photo as I begin to study it. I then start to build up my canvas and get the sense of my photograph’s language as I translate it onto my canvas. As I get to the point where there is a pictorial structure in my work, I will discard the photo and will not use it for reference for the rest of my time spent on the painting. I don't ever want to get married to the photograph that I’m using. I find that the expressive nature of the photo that I'm painting will gets lost if I copy the photo straight on. I often ask myself, if there are certain techniques that I can incorporate in these paintings give it more of a dreamy emotional heaviness to it. I find that if I render my painting too much I tend to lose that quality, even if my finish painting doesn't even look like the photograph that I using.
I want my viewers to connect emotionally with these paintings.
The goal is to create unidentifiable figures that people can look at and visually remember events shared by their family or loved ones. As human beings, we all experience different things and events that happen in our lives which could cause us to be happy, depressed, angry, etc.. It’s good when we can all relate to our emotions and certain events once in a while.
Born 1998 New Rochelle, New York
Currently based and working in Lake Carmel, New York
2020: BFA in Fine Arts (Illustration and Painting), Hartford Art School, University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT (September 26, 2020)
2019: Study Abroad: Integrated Program studying Honors Illustration (one semester). University of the Arts London, London, UK at Camberwell College of Arts (September - December 2019)
2016: Carmel High School, Carmel, NY (May, 2016)
2019 Artistic Talent Return Level 1 Grant, University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT (Fall 2016 - Spring 2020)
2016 Artistic Merit Scholarship, Carmel High School, Carmel, NY
2020: "Neologism" Senior Thesis Show, Joseloffgallery, Hartford, CT
2020: "Deco 2020" Senior Thesis Show, Joseloffgallery, Hartford, CT
2016: Freshmen Foundations Show, Silpe Gallery, Hartford, CT
2015: KMA Young Artists 2015, High School Art Exhibition, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY
2019: University of Hartford's Literary Magazine, “Aerie Literary Journal 2019”, West Hartford