Like actors, Allen's figures often appear in costume. Glazes overlaid with ceramic transfers hug their forms like a second skin, although faces, hands and feet are often left bare. He likens it to a disguise - a public persona - which can be adapted to be as strange, alluring or just plain daft as necessary. `The figures are always posing. I am dressing myself up in role play'. The sculptures all represent aspects of himself, and the notion of multiple roles resonates strongly with Allen's diverse professional life: he is a senior lecturer at the University of Glamorgan, as well as chairman of Fireworks, the co-operative studio he set up since graduating from his BA in Cardiff, and of course a practising artist.
Many of the figures sport extra props, such as a groucho mask or rabbit ears, to signify the humour at play and to reiterate the element of disguise. In some of the work, the boundary between suit and self is deliberately ambiguous.
Emma Maiden , Crafts, 2003