Meet Taran Allen, visual design artist and creative director, and recently named one of Live Design's 2015 Young Designers To Watch.
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Current project(s): Designing the lighting for a new underground dance club opening in Detroit, MI; preparing the record release show for Oneohtrix Point Never; serving as creative director for a number of musicians and projects that can’t be discussed yet.
Most notable achievements: Co-founding Thunder Horse Video (THV); stage and lighting design for Future’s Honest Tour 2014; concept, production, and event design for the fashion brand Hood By Air, with notable events including HBA’s Pitti Uomo 2015 runway show in Florence, Italy and HBA’s art/music/fashion presentation at The Museum of Modern Art NYC.
When I started in this industry: Hell, in 1999, I was making video loops on VHS tapes for my high school band, but 2006 is really when I decided to professionally focus on the world of visual art and entertainment.
How I got into this industry: I was raised as part of very classic hippie/artist community, which gave me exposure to a really broad world of art and music from the day I was born. As much as I loved music, I gravitated more toward visual arts, eventually enrolling into the cinematography program at Columbia College Chicago. Completing film school not only gave me a greater understanding and appreciation for visual design, but also the profound realization that I had no desire to pursue a career in the film industry. So with not wanting to end my creative pursuit and still holding a huge love for music, a close friend from school and I founded the visual art collective Thunder Horse Video in the winter of 2006 during our last semester. Through THV, we applied the techniques we had been taught as cinematographers in collaboration with the huge network of artists and musicians we were already friends with to create live visuals and music videos. Over time, the scale of my productions and concepts grew into full immersive environments and continues to expand to this day.
Influences: This could go on forever. I find influence for my designs in everything from classical paintings to roadside construction sites, but as much as I pull from a broad world of classical and modern architecture, art, and technology, everything comes back to a lifelong love of cinema.
Worst advice I’ve ever heard: “Get a real job.”
Best advice I’ve ever heard: “Don’t cook bacon in the nude.”
My favorite thing about the production industry: Holding a genuine love for entertainment and finally finding a medium where I can fully express myself, wielding the power to open portals to an endless variety of realities and dimensions.
Favorite design/programming/technical trick: Without a doubt, Home Depot. I built my first stages and lighting fixtures from scratch, and to this day, I still fall back on Home Depot whenever I’m in a bind.
Plans for the future: Hustle hard, make “badder” shows, and continue growing and expanding as an artist.
Other interests/side gigs: Art and entertainment is my passion, and everything in my life ties into that some way or another.
Awards, honors: Besides some magazine features, not many shiny awards are handed out in the underground circuit I normally work in, but I’ve earned enough respect and have enough fans of my work to inspire me to keep up the grind.