Thomas Allen is an artist who makes dream-like, surrealist paintings, using sociological theories and the input of perfect strangers.
This year, he won the Cass Art Prize at The National Open Art Competition, which earned him a year's supply of Cass Art materials. We met up with him at our Islington Flagship to ask him about his upcoming project at the Reebecca Hossack Gallery, and find out what he intends to do with his well-earned materials.
Hello again, Thomas! Congratulations on winning The Cass Art Prize at The National Open Art Competition. Last year you won the Seaward Prize - you must feel like you're on a roll?
Thank you. It's a great compliment to have had my work singled out by Cass Art and I'm honoured to have been given this award. Prizes like this one and the Seaward Prize certainly offer a boost to the old confidence - as well as a welcome financial boost!
How does it feel to win a year's supply of art materials?
It's exciting - and, indeed, liberating - to think you can get hold of just about any art materials without having to worry about the cost!
What art materials will you be using?
I have a Contemporary Cave Painting project coming up in January, so I'll be stocking up for that. The Cass Art Prize will afford me a lot of charcoal! (And, with what's left over, perhaps a few oil paints too!)
Your Contemporary Cave Painting project is fast approaching - what are you doing to prepare for it?
I've been busy making all sorts of preparations, from staining huge sheets of paper, with which I'll be lining the walls of my 'contemporary cave', to organising academic-led talks that will be accompanying my show (I'm very proud to have Jill Cook, a specialist on prehistoric art at the British Museum, giving a talk in my 'cave' on 22nd January). There's still plenty more to prepare though: among other things, I need to prepare black-out fabric that will be used to block out the light and darken the space, and I'm also busy creating artwork for the exhibition that will be running alongside my cave.
We wish Thomas the best of luck for his Contemporary Cave Painting and the year ahead.
Allen's Contemporary Cave Painting project will be running in January 2015 in the Rebecca Hossack Gallery on Charlotte Street, London. Interpreting the gallery as a 'contemporary cave' by darkening it with black-out fabric, he will then solicit 'scribbles' from members of the public, before reading these scribbles to gain insight into their unconscious minds. He will then work on the walls of the gallery to create an unusual and unique record of the area.
Read our in-depth interview with Thomas Allen, on his cave paintings, here.