Central Michigan artist turns memories into handmade portraits

Allen: ‘I've only gotten good feedback’

REED CITY — Creating personalized art inspired by memories is the focus of one entrepreneur who hand makes one-of-a-kind pieces for clients.

Mallorie Allen, of Reed City, has been making art since childhood and later began selling her work.

On top of making custom art, she works two jobs, one of which is as a dental hygienist at Reed City Dental Health Care.

“I got interested in art when I was really young,” Allen said. “I had this teacher and she helped me a lot with tests, and she would do some portraits, and there was one which was a baby portrait, it was this angel holding a baby. I remember in the classroom I thought it was really awesome, but she always said babies are really hard to do. That's the earliest I can remember wanting to do portraits.”

After over eight years of selling custom art, Allen has worked with many clients on a variety of projects.

Early on she recognized that other artists were overpricing their custom artwork options, and wanted to offer her work at an affordable price.

Allen said she enjoys getting creative with her work.

“I really like it when people send me a picture of a dog and a person together,” Allen said. “I really like to do any animals. I just recently did one with a little girl and her favorite donkey. I like to do that mix of animals and people together. It's just a little bit more challenging, which I enjoy.”

Allen said she additionally did a piece for a woman with six different people in it, to commemorate the life of someone who passed away young.

She has also gotten some emotional reactions from clients.

“So far, I've only gotten good feedback,” Allen said. “The best reaction that I got was from my coworker, Amy. She wanted a picture painted of her dad who had passed away, and she cried. That was very nice, she was like ‘it was just amazing’.”

Moving forward, she hopes to continue expanding her client base and making new pieces that help commemorate memories for people.

A goal she has is to maintain is affordable prices for clients, and to explore with mediums like charcoal.

“I thought it just be a cute idea to do around Christmas time but if people want to do anniversaries and want it for birthdays and stuff I'd be really happy to do it all year round,” she said. “I've seen a lot of cool charcoal pieces, then I want to start doing maybe some paintings and getting into craft fairs.”

For more information on Allen’s work and to inquire about commissioning a painting, visit: www.facebook.com/mallorie.allen.9.