The life of a Painting: Mission Impossible

As a Painter you develop a real connection with the paintings you produce, especially a painting that is fairly old like Mission Impossible. Mission Impossible is a large scale Oil Painting I produced back in 2012, while in my final year of BA. I was recently featured in Saatchi Gallery’s ‘One to Watch’ series and as a result I was lucky enough to sell it…

Allen - Mission Impossible

With the very real prospect of me never seeing this painting again, this got me thinking. In my hands Mission Impossible has had an interesting life and covered some serious miles, and some paintings last hundreds of years, Imagine where they have been and what they have seen?

Mission Impossible was involved in one of my first shows, Invasion; the show was an invasion of artwork into an unconventional space, set in a disused factory in Birmingham. It was unlike any exhibition I had ever been to before, we had bands and booze and I met a great mix of people, a real event! I remember Driving in my old beaten up Passat with this massive thing (180cm x 240cm) strapped to the roof…

The painting then sat in storage for a while until I received an invite to exhibit in Suzhou, China. So I packaged up the work and sent it off on its way. The exhibition was a success and essentially represented the work of one of my lecturers John Atkin and a selection of students and recent graduates.

China (Made in England)

After China the painting sat in storage again, for over two years. I never unwrapped it and never looked at it. Until, I was offered a Solo Show down in London at 60 Threadneedle Street. So once again the painting found a wall, if only for a month. The show came down and Mission Impossible went back into storage.


Which brings us to its most recent adventure: The painting sold to a collector in California, so once again the painting was wrapped and boxed up ready to be shipped. Unfortunately along the way the painting was damaged pretty badly, something must have hit it during transit, the stretcher was snapped and the canvas torn… So now it sits in an art restorers workshop being fixed up before it makes its way to the collector.

I don’t know what the future holds for Mission Impossible, or for any of my works for that matter. To be fair the daydream is probably far more interesting than the reality. The nature of oil painting is that they are built to last, so in all likelihood it could well outlive me, assuming it is looked after… (Thanks allot DHL!!)