You can tell that Alex Ann Allen loves what she does. The joy she feels from painting is evident in each stroke of her art. With her bright colors and bold designs, she ensures her murals can be seen far and wide — brightening up her city and spreading joy one wall at a time.
“Every once in a while, I see a painting and it lights me up. And I hope I can have the same effect on people, too.”
Meet Alex: painter & muralist
Alex Ann Allen: Okay, well, can’t go wrong with Otis. (“Direct Me” by Otis Redding starts playing on her phone) Yep, that’ll do.
South Bend, Indiana
(Alex works in her studio, dancing while painting)
When I paint, I paint with a lot of emotion. And when I dance, I can get those emotions out. I can’t sit down when I paint, I want to move and groove. Yeah, I have happy feet when I paint.
Actually, when I was looking at a painting yesterday, one of my favorite artists, I was just scrolling and it stopped me in my tracks. Every once in a while, I see a painting and it lights me up. In a strange way, it means a lot to me, just seeing that. And I hope I can have the same effect on people, too. I think I’m going to do this forever.
Alex quit her job as a window installer to work as a full-time artist. Many of her portraits and murals are displayed around the city of South Bend.
I’ve done about four murals in town, and I have one right outside my studio here. (Footage of Alex’s mural, “A Musician’s DNA” in downtown South Bend.) This is a mural I did this past summer. It’s called, “A Musician’s DNA.” To me, it represents huge DNA strands. And I used the black and white stripes to represent piano keys. There’s a lot of really awesome musicians in this building. So, I wanted to celebrate that art form, too.
(Footage of Alex’s mural, “The Coffee King” in North East South Bend.) This represents his long mullet, a seven-foot mullet. The owner of Zen is an awesome guy, kind of like Rapunzel. It brings me joy, it makes me happy. It’s cool to see it from downtown, just like a peek of color, but from far away. There’s so many older buildings in this town. I’d love to see more.
(More shots of Alex’s murals and artwork throughout the city)
I have to like pinch myself sometimes, you know? I try to think about that often. At least a couple of times a week. And just, to myself, appreciate that I’m able to do this. I never, ever want to take it for granted.
Gratitude is the attitude. Right? Yeah. I’m really looking forward to when the weather warms up again, and just to jump back in and bring more color to this town.
(Alex works on a portrait in her studio)