Art adds up to new venture for MHS grad

Artist Sean Allen works on the mural that he created at Moorestown High School last summer. Allen’s piece comes to life using an augmented reality app.

Sean Allen has always been the type of person who’s creating something.

At 5 years old, his parents let him paint whatever he wanted on his bedroom walls, and throughout his high school years, those walls were ever-changing. At one point, he was heavily influenced by graffiti culture and began spray painting graffiti letters around the room. 

“It was a little like not allowed,” Allen said of graffiti culture at the time. “It was a little bit more rough around the edges and enticing from that perspective.” 

These days, Allen still is enticed by art that’s a bit rough around the edges. The 27-year-old Moorestown native works in the financial sector by day and spends free time unleashing his creativity on walls and canvases. He’s currently building his art brand, and over the summer, he returned to his alma mater to create a mural at Moorestown High School.

For as long as Allen can remember, art was just something that came naturally. He took advanced art classes in school, but something really clicked when he started learning about graffiti culture. The form taught him that art didn’t have to be so traditional and a spray can could just as easily be your brush.

Upon graduating, Allen took a break from art and attended Carnegie Mellon University,  where he studied finance and entrepreneurship.  Art took a back seat until his senior year — when he decided he wanted to avoid the corporate culture — then gained his interest again.

The entrepreneurship side of his degree equipped him to launch his own business venture. He wanted to have a source of income in case he didn’t have a job upon graduating, so he started creating and selling his art. 

Allen nabbed a job in data analytics working for Citizens Bank, but he doesn’t anticipate quitting his side business anytime soon. Social media has been a tremendous help throughout his adventures in business. Allen said building an online presence has helped get the word out about his artistic endeavors. 

He’s moved on from graffitti, and these days his work is a combination of fine art, optical art, realism, portraits, geometry and collaged work. He uses mostly oils, acrylic and spray paint to bring his creations to life.

Allen’s work varies in size and mediums, but some consistent themes are geometry, straight lines and gradient colors. While his subject could be anything from pop culture to nature, geometry also is woven in. 

Toni Paparone, art teacher at Moorestown High School, said when Allen was in her class, he was an engaged and hands-on student. The two lost touch after Allen graduated. But one day, Paparone ran into Allen, and she learned he was still creating art. 

The two kept in touch, and one day Allen approached her about creating a mural at MHS. Paparone was immediately on board, and Principal Andrew Seibel asked for a mock-up.

It took nearly half a year to create the mockup and digital sketch of the mural. Then, last summer, he got to work. Forty hours later, Allen’s mural was complete.

Given Allen’s recent interest in augmented reality, he incorporated his newfound interest into the piece. Allen created the piece physically and digitally, and then passed it off to two collaborators to animate. When you download the Zappar app and scan the mural’s code, the piece comes to life. 

“The response has been phenomenal,” Paparone said. 

Looking ahead, Allen said he’s not giving up his day job anytime soon, but he’d love his business, ayecrtv, to grow to a point where it becomes his full-time job.

To learn more about Allen, visit his website at ayecrtv.com or on Instagram @ayecrtv.