Tattoo artist showcases photo-like portraits at Kaneko


Artist Bia Allen arranges some of the pieces that will go up on display in the Shadow Box Gallery at American River College (Photos by Luis Gael Jimenez)

Luis Gael

American River College student Bia Allen will have his work featured at the Shadow Box Gallery from Oct.1-16.

For his current showcase, Allen focused heavily on portraits with exaggerated features.

“I just really like the detail [of the face],” Allen said. “I have a little bit of OCD and I’m very particular so I want to get things exact.”

"I Passed" by American River College student Bia Allen.
“I Passed” by American River College student Bia Allen.

Allen points to this obsession with the minute details of human facial anatomy as his reason for featuring celebrities like Kristen Wiig and Don Knotts.

“It’s their expressions,” Allen said. “I really like the expression they show in their faces. But it also gets people to notice my art.”

On top of the display in the Shadow Box, Allen is a walking showcase of his own art.

Allen, who is covered in tattoos that he designed himself, says that his main reason for attending classes at ARC is to help him grow as a tattoo artist.

Artist Bia Allen shows off one of the tattoos that he designed himself.
Artist Bia Allen shows off one of the tattoos that he designed himself.“

“I want to specialize in portraits and cover-ups,” said Allen.”That’s why I took the facial expressions class.”

“There’s a lot of ugliness in the world,” Allen said of his motivation in drawing. “What better way to make the world brighter than by filling it with art.”

The Shadow Box Gallery is located across the hall from the Kaneko Gallery in between the ARC Main Stage Theatre and the Culinary Arts Building.

More of Allen’s artwork can be found on his Facebook profile under Bea Bia.