Martin Allen came to painting via a circuitous route and is largely a self-taught artist who enjoys creating something unique.
His inspiration comes from both the past and the present, the admiration for what it was achieved then and what we can achieve now via oil painting, reflecting on past things and great designs. With gratitude and admiration for stylish people, icons and great innovative minds that changed the world.
Vintage cars and planes appeal to him because of the cutting-edge design that they once represented and the subsequent outcomes that they led to. Take the Ford GT40, designed to smash the dominance of Ferrari at Le Mans during the 1960’s or the Porsche 917 that followed, again dominant at Le Mans for many years. Perhaps take the Lamborghini Countach that looked years ahead of its time that emerged from a former tractor manufacturer and is now a legend. All convey the ‘form over function’ ideal and are generally style icons in their own individual rights.
Currently in his most recent perfume series, Martin wants to consider the idea of reflection, reflection of light captured by the bottles themselves, then secondly reflection on an idea. Something that was there and then became something else. As the bottle slowly emptied also did the reflection of a moment, a memory that instantly allows the viewer to re-live places and people via the merest hint of their favourite scent.
Scents are the only sensations that travel such a direct path to the emotional and memory centres of the brain, and the artist wanted to paint ‘empty’ vintage bottles not full new ones. The emptying of the bottles over time filling the owner with a collection of memories that a new full bottle has yet to do.
It is said by some that a bottle of perfume can last a lifetime…the who…the where…the when…and now with an empty bottle all that remains are the memories and ‘reflections’.
Another of his enigmatic women on linen series, again tries to push some boundaries and media. With the ‘Mad Cat’ burlesque dancer, Martin found the darkness and moodiness of her pose appealing and subsequently wanted to create a canvas to capture her sultriness and beauty. Painted in a minimalist/Chiaroscuro style with the aim to get the viewer to imagine and render the missing parts of the canvas in their mind. The painting overlaid by application of 3 different colours of gold leaf accentuates the work thus resulting in the title ’24ct. Mad Cat’.
Martin wants to engage the viewer in things that interest and touch him personally. He likes playing with hidden messages in the images, with what you see and what you think you see….
His colour palette reflects the earthy, the material but also the intangible. He enjoys the creation process, the germination of an idea that is born most unexpectedly and then grows into much more than ‘just’ an image – it needs a twist, a second level.
He has a series of playful paintings, some sexy with high heels or infinite legs, some political …but all of them empowered.
“Imagination is King in the eye of the beholder” – Martin Allen