Ready, set, Van-Gogh: talented British artist can speed paint portraits of celeb icons in under 180 seconds
We all know creating a masterpiece can take time, but one artist is putting the rush in brush – by painting portraits of celebrity icons in under three minutes.
Talented artist Jen Allen, 36, is a dab hand when it comes to finishing her portraits quickly, as she travels the world painting quick-fire masterpieces set to music in front of hundreds of people.
With the clock ticking, the speedy artist, from Devon, paints familiar faces such as The Queen, Winston Churchhill and Marilyn Monroe using as little as her fingers, a brush and a pot of paint.
From composing the music to selecting the famous figure, each performance piece is choreographed meticulously by Jen and her team to last no more than four minutes.
But Jen, who claims she can paints them in less than three minutes, prides herself on her speed and mastery with the brush against the clock.
Jen said: “My speed-painting is a performance piece, with icons painted in around three minutes, but often quicker.
“Speed-painting works best if it’s of an iconic person.
“For example, I paint her Majesty The Queen using brushes and my fingers, and Winston Churchill, who I paint upside down, only revealing him at the finish by turning the canvas over.
“Due to the limited time you have to capture the essence and image, the person has to be instantly recognisable to the audience.
“I’ve been flown half-way around the world only to spend less than five minutes on stage creating a piece.
“It’s a real thrill to do though and raises the profile of my longer portraits, which can be seen in galleries UK wide.
Jen, who sells her speed paintings to art collectors around the world, often for more than £3,000, graduated with a degree in art and design from Bournemouth University in 2000.
Working as a commission artist, she has created everything from sculptures to concept design, until she joined a touring circus in 2008 called ‘The International World of Circus’, allowing her to hone her speed painting skills on a bigger stage.
Since then, she was signed to DeMontfort Fine Art, one of the UK’s most prestigious fine art publishers, giving her the opportunity to exhibit her art internationally and take her speed painting performances worldwide.
In collaboration with her director, Richard Leigh and music composer, Kev Orkian, Jens speed art performances have been capturing the imagination of art lovers the world over.
She said: “Clients often ask fora commission to be speed-painted, and depending on the event we do sometimes do bespoke productions.
“Once the angle and icon are decided, I play with the image to get it down to the key lines needed.
“Then Richard and Kev become involved to direct and compose the music.
“Then we’re into rehearsals. The whole process is quite long, often for a one-off performance lasting no more than 4 minutes, but it’s taken me all over the world.”
However, while she’ll charge you £250-£650 for one of her limited edition speed painting prints, Jen says she’s not in it for the MONET.
She said: “I’ve been drawing from as young as I can remember and always said I wanted to be an artist when I grew up.
“My granddad was really creative and so is my Mum, so I guess it passed down to me.
“However, as an artist though, I don’t, and never will, do it for the money.
“It’s about creating pieces that my collectors cherish. That’s the reason I do it.”