Charles Street South Belfast
57cm x 77cm
Courtesy of the artist.
James Allen was born in Lurgan, County Armagh. He studied at Belfast College of Art from 1961 - 1965 and at Brighton College of Art from 1965 - 1967. He held teaching positions in London, at Goldsmiths School of Art and Ravensbourne College of Art, before returning to Northern Ireland, where he helped establish the Belfast Print Workshop. Allen is the current chair of the workshop. His works are held in collections throughout the world, including many in Northern Ireland, and he has exhibited as far afield as Japan. Allen was elected Associate Academician of the Royal Ulster Academy in 1980 and elevated to Academician in 1983. Although principally a printmaker, he is also an accomplished painter.
Allen uses a wide range of printmaking techniques including mezzotints, screenprints, various types of etchings with and without aquatint, and photoetching. His choice of subject matter varies, from landscapes and the natural world to, as seen in this screenprint, cityscapes. While he was running Belfast Print Workshop in the 1980s and '90s, he was commissioned to make several screen prints and etchings commissioned by various bodies, including schools, hotels and hospitals. Allen believes that this print was commissioned by the Housing Executive, possibly to record houses scheduled for demolition in Charles Street South, located off Belfast's Sandy Row.