artist in Portland, Oregon. This website is a small sample of his crafts in several disciplines including light art, led art, metal art, and sewing.">
Mark Allyn Artistic Journal
Light Artist in Portland,Oregon
Playing With Light And All Types of Materials
When I was five years old, I got a toy flashlight for Christmas. I remember that Christmas night, I lay in bed aiming the flashlight at the ceiling of the room. I quickly learned that I could draw patterns using persistence of vision.

My love for light and playing with it began.

A few years later, I got an erector set and tinker toys for Christmas.

My love for making things began.

My first light art project was at 10 years old when I made a house out of blocks and put night lights in it to simulate light in rooms.

My light artist career began when I was about eight years old.

At that time, as a child, I have never dreamed that I would have the imagination needed to create a highly spiritual sculpture like this. . . .

Mark Allyn Pole Dancing in The Last Supper
rainhat shining
When I was about 11 years old, I was at Jordan Marsh, a department store in Boston, looking for tools (yes, I had already started to make things). (Please remember that in the 1960's and 1970's, department stores like Jordan Marsh had a decent tool department with real tools). On my way upstairs, I passed the furniture department where I saw a transparent slipcover for a sofa on sale for fifty cents. I don't know, why, but I bought it.

Three weeks later, I made a clear plastic raincoat by cutting up that slipcover and melting the pieces together using a hot light bulb. My first clear plastic raincoat.

You would ask why did I do this? Well, the only answer that I could come up with is that I wanted to let my beauty shine through in the rain.

When I wore this, other kids behaved as if I am from mars. Or called me 'the clear plastic boy'. Oh, well.

Little did I (or any of my classmates at that time) realize that the little raincoat was the beginning of an exciting adventure of blossoming imagination, strong problem solving skills, and very strong will to live beyond the bounds of society's expectations of mens fashions.

The mistakes I made in that project were but stepping stones to success. It taught me that failure is the beginning to the path of achievement.

Those classmates thought that raincoat was a failure. Thier message to me, however indicated that it was a successful first step on that ladder to new heights!

One of those heights on that ladder is here:

A Lighted Jacket to Wear Out On The Town
rainhat shining
In The Beginning - Sewing From The Heart
Once you take that first step on the stairway to your own heaven, you find that you cannot stop climbing. And taking risks. And making mistakes.

A big risk I took was to buy a $2,000 sewing machine without having sewn a single stitch in my life and then learing to sew by myself without any teaching. A journey down a forested path at night with only a feeble flashlight with dying batteries.

The many mistakes that I made during that journey; along with being on my own without someone else's ideas on what should be done to make a garment; allowed me to create new ways of garment design and construction. As the years progressed, I have had much positive feedback on the techniques of design and construction.

Since I am not afraid of dressing in my own imagination and not that pre-concieved by society, I have created garments that have brought much positive feedback from others who have also made clothing.

Along with making the artistic clothing, I have also made the rainwear which allows it to be seen in the rain that we have here in the Northwest U.S. where I live. The attitude which was articulated in my response to the taunts of my classmates of yesteryear in the form of 'I want to let my beauty shine in the rain' still is as strong as ever and I continue to make and wear my clear rainwear. A few samples of my sewing career are in the following galleries.

Wool Coat
Artistic Clothing
Clear Rain Coat
Handmade Transparent Rainwear
Getting Things Hotter - Welding
Now that I am well down that dark path in the enchanted forest of my artistic journey, I have reached a crossroads. My clothing and clear raincoats have brought me here, but I see a fork in front of me. One trail leads downhill and it appears to be cleaner and easier to walk. The other trail looks more primative and heads up a steep hill.

I decided to take that more dangerous trail.

I am now really moving away from complacency and toward total freedom.

It was not far into that trail when I found steel and stainless steel.

Two very common, yet very powerful metals. Metals of which I had a fascination even when I was a child. For example, I had loved the erector set more than the tinker toys. The erector set was steel. The tinker toys were wood.

I asked the Gods of Creation to help shepherd me to that patch on which I can learn how to harness the power of steel so that it can be one of the many forms of light of which I can shine.

The Gods answered in their unique and lovely ways.

The Gods gently laid their arms around my shoulders and shepherded me through my journey (which includes mistakes and burns) of teaching myself how to do 'tig' or Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), which is one of the most difficult forms of welding that can be learned. By learing this form of welding, I have been able to perform very strong, yet delicate sculptures that form much of my jewelry.

Those same Gods gently set me down in front of a unique place called ADX Portland which is a shared workshop in Portland, Oregon. Here, I was able to further refine my abilities in metal craft. Many of the pieces which have steel free-hand cut with plasma cutting were constructed at ADX.

By no means should this suggest that my love affair with steel is an easy one. Steel (and stainless steel) do have lives of their own. They have their own spirits and energies.

Steel loves to warp in its own creative ways when I weld it. If it is in a bad mood, it can crack. Welds can break on their own. A steel sculpture I had on my desk at work suddenly collapsed one day as a weld broke.

Six years now into my marriage with steel and I am still making mistakes and creating sculptures which fail spectacularly. And I am still learing. The Gods still have their arms laid gently around my shoulders while leading me on this wonderful journey.

This gallery exhibits some of the metal jewelry and sculptures which I have constructed over the years.

Steel Water Bottle Cage
Steel Sculpture
The Inner Light From My Heart
The cloting, the transparent raincoats, the jewelry, and the stainless steel sculptures let me shine in the light.

But not of the light itself.

Image yourself at a trail in the forest. It is late afternoon and the sun is setting behind you.

You peer through the trees and you see a mountain ahead. The base of the mountain is shrouded in late afternoon twilight.

However, the top of the mountain is covered with snow and that snow is glowing softly from the dying rays of the setting sun.

Above that warm light of the snow, you see a beacon shining at you from the very top of the mountain. At first, you think that it is a reflection of the golden rays of the setting sun, but you realize that the beacon is much brighter than the surrounding snow.

You also realize that the beacon is looking at you right into the eye as it shines on a trail that leads up the mountain.

I know. I am the person who is being gently shepharded by the Gods up that trail. The journey up that mountain has been going on for the past six years.

Along that trail, I see crystals of glass. Each one is glowing radiantly of light and ideas. I lean down to touch one of them and I get a spark of crative energy and ideas and desire to take more risks.

And I am still no where near that beacon. However, with the Gods holding my hands as they lead me through the journey during that late afternoon twilight, I have been gifted with these pieces of light art. Hopefully you can see the light of that mighty beacon shine through them to you. If you are in the Portland, Oregon area, you can see me wear some of these lighted clothes and jewelry.

Shooting Start At Sunrise
Light Art Sculpture
Shooting Start At Sunrise
Lighted Clothing
Pole Dancing at the Last Supper
Among those sparkling pieces of glass alongside that trail, I see some that are hand carved and egraved into beautiful patterns by a masters' hand.

That master's hand led me into yet another exciting part of my advanture.

Glass engraving. Hand engraving of glass, which is a dying art in todays world of computerized chemical etching of glass. But it has much potential in opening windows between my imagination and the world.

One of the many fantasies that I have been able to bring to the world is myself when I was a hippie in the 1970's pole dancing inside of Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper while my mother and the Virgin Mary are watching from their thrones. . .

Jesus Blessing The Last Supper
Pole Dancing at Last Supper
A Portland, Oregon icon, Rhoda, passed away recently. She was an angel to the Radical Faerie communities everywhere. This is a tribute to her life and light!
Rhoda on Stage
Rhoda's Dancing on Stage
Light Art on a Bicycle
What can be done to create a unique bicycle light? Dreaming and creating for six months result in this bicycle. I only rode it for a year or so until I had a near accident and realized that fifty pounds of engraved glass does not handle well on a bicycle, especially if I am riding downhill in the rain and have to stop quickly. It was fun while it lasted.
Glass Engraving on Bicycle
Light Art Museum on a Bicycle
How I Made Lighted Clear Plastic Clothing
How I Use Optical Fiber
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