Artist Tony Allen at the E5 Bakehouse

A look at Headway's own Tony Allen, and his latest display at the E5 Bakehouse  

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For the past month Submit to Love Studios artist Tony Allen has had his work displayed in the E5 Bakehouse; a local artisanal bakery and café in London Fields. During the final month of its display, we take a look at the artist and his most interesting work.  

Tony is one of our most prolific artists at Submit To Love, with his distinguishable work being the inspiration for Headway East London merchandise such as cards, notebooks and tote bags. Perhaps his proudest work, however, is his contribution to the studio itself, with his design for the Submit To Love logo.  

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Tony's most frequent refrain at the art studio is 'just think about it' - a phrase which acts as a statement of intent for his artwork, as well as a philosophy for life.

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Tony's highest ambition as an artist is for people to see his artwork and in doing so, be provoked into this state of consideration. When he writes "SUBMIT TO LOVE" in huge, densely patterned letters, he means it, and wants you to take those words to heart. The original design is hung in pride of place in the middle of the art studio and due to his severe memory impairment, Tony is freshly excited each time he sees them; "submit to love – I did that."  

The importance of originality to Tony is clearly demonstrated in his figurative artworks. These pieces often begin with a piece from a book or a magazine, but they soon transform into something else entirely once they have passed through the prism of Tony's artistic vision. Colours are carefully chosen to avoid repetition and details that may seem inconsequential are painstakingly worked and reworked. His piece entitled 'Three chicks going to a do', currently on display at the E5 Bakehouse, is a perfect example of this. The colour variation is assorted but not random: tied together in the piece as a whole, such as the orange legs, road stripes and hair, creating a sense of unity and deliberateness.  

There is always an invented story behind these figurative artworks, often bizarre but holding it's own internal logic, such as the piece of the three breasted woman, which, Tony explains with the tone of someone stating the obvious, grew an extra breast because she has three children and needs to feed them. He fails to mention why she is missing a head, or why her children loom threateningly over her prostrated body. 

Tony is always encouraging others to pick up a pen or paintbrush and get on with the business of creating, stating that anyone can do art and anyone can be an artist. 

 Be sure to check out Tony’s work in the E5 Bakehouse over the next month, prints of displayed work are available by contacting Headway East London. And don’t forget, merchandise designed by Tony is available on our Submit To Love Etsy shop!

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