Allen Forrest

 
 
  thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail  
  thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail  
  thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail  
    thumbnail thumbnail    
 

This series of paintings came about when Ariff and Shairose Gulamani, the owners of Vovito Caffé & Gelato in Bellevue, Washington, asked me to create some new work that had to do with coffee.  The Gulamanis were both born in East Africa. When they opened Vovito, it was important to them to find single-origin coffees that they could purchase directly from the farms where they were grown.

 

I immediately thought of van Gogh’s peasants working in the fields, especially the color and the expression van Gogh’s works.  I found model images of people working in Africa involved in the harvest of coffee. I chose about 14 images/photographs to work from and created a stylized interpretation of the workers, many of them women in Uganda.

 

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.

 

 

 
 
   
 
    return to art
 

Graphic artist and painter Allen Forrest was born in Canada and bred in the U.S. He has created cover art and illustrations for literary publications and books. He is 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 reminiscent of van Gogh, creating emotion on canvas.