Allen is an internationally known figurative painter born in Selma, Alabama, but he now lives in Oxford, Mississippi. He taught painting and drawing at the University of Mississippi, until he retired in 2000. He received the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letter’s Visual Art Award in 1993.
His work is greatly influenced by Frank Rampolla, for whom he worked for more than five years. He works primarily in oil, using dramatic colors. Typically, his works are inspired initially by myths and symbols, but they are also representations of political and social realities.
His paintings have been shown in 40 states and in Europe. He had a piece touring Southeast Asia, an exhibition in Huntsville, Alabama, and a show in New Orleans in 2000. His work is regularly displayed at the Carol Robinson Gallery in New Orleans and Southside Gallery in Oxford, Mississippi. In 2008 he also had an exhibit at Belhaven College in Jackson.