Allen Forrest is a writer who has created cover art and illustrations for literary publications and books, the winner of the Leslie Jacoby Honor for Art at San Jose State University’s Reed Magazine and his Bel Red painting series is part of the Bellevue College Foundation’s permanent art collection. Forrest’s expressive drawing and painting style is a mix of avant-garde expressionism and post-Impressionist elements, creating emotion on canvas.
If the characters in this story were of a color other than white they may have been treated in a far different manner when the law came upon them. Still, I have often wondered why my friends and I, since this is autobiographical, were not apprehended. Regardless of our being white, it is the early nineteen seventies when long haired types like we were (hippies), as well as people of color, were both targets of law enforcement. The reason for the police officer’s decision remains a mystery. Nevertheless, I submit this story to you as it actually happened.
On Painting—Painting is a cross between a crap shoot, finding your way out of the woods, and performing a magic act. Each time I begin to paint I feel like I am walking a tightrope sometimes scary, sometimes exciting, sometimes very quiet, and always, always surprising; leading me where I never expected to go. Doing art makes me lose all sense of time and place and go inside one long moment of creating. Whenever I feel a painting in my gut, I know this is why I paint. The colors are the message, I feel them before my mind has a chance to get involved. Color is the most agile and dynamic medium to create joy. And if you can find joy in your art, then you’ve found something worth holding on to.
On Drawing—Drawing is like the foundation and framing of a house. The ability to draw goes hand in hand with the ability to visualize. What you want to draw and how you want to draw can change with time. You must push yourself, but you must also let go and let things happen. Allow what you consider mistakes to be an opportunity to create something different than you intended, this may lead you to an exciting new direction in your work.