Olympic artist has ties to Wayne
By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on February 9, 2006 1:52 PM
He's not an athlete, spectator or member of the sporting press. Still, the son of a Goldsboro resident is on his way to Turin, Italy, to take part in the Olympic Games.
Dr. Rebecca Johnson said her son, Steve Allen, has always loved to create art -- paintings, drawings and murals -- even before he was old enough for school.
"Before he even started school he would get up in the night," she said. "Back then he was drawing, not painting. We'd put him back in bed, and he would wait until we were asleep and go lock himself in the bedroom and keep going."
Obviously his perseverance paid off, she said. Allen was recently named an official artist for the 2006 Games.
"We just let him do what he wanted to do," Dr. Johnson said. "Of course, I'm very proud."
She continued that although he resides in Atlanta, Allen considers Goldsboro his second home.
"Where your mother lives is home," she said.
This isn't the first time Allen has gone to the Olympics as an official artist, she said, but his fifth.
"The first big piece he did was the 1996 official mural for Atlanta," she said.
The 80-foot-by-20-foot "Uniting Colors of the World," gained Allen acclaim and a chance to create pieces for the 2000 Games in Sydney, 2002 Games in Salt Lake City and 2004 Games in Athens.
Steve Allen's "Torino Olympique," will be the official poster for the 2006 Winter Games. This year marks the fifth time Allen has created art for the Olympics.
He has been recognized by world leaders, local politicians and the state of Georgia for his roles as an outstanding artist and citizen and has met everyone from former President Clinton to Prince Albert of Monaco.
His work hangs in town halls and city buildings all across the world. He even has his name displayed in a palace. His 2000 creation "Spirit of the Games," currently hangs on a wall within the Presidential Palace in Micronesia.
Allen said he has always been inspired by athletes and their ability to bring nations together. Aside from his Olympic art, he has also crafted paintings of baseball great Hank Aaron and football legend Walter Payton.
"Athletics awaken and invite us to examine our own exceptional possibilities," he said in a news release.
Dr. Johnson said she will be overwhelmed with feelings of pride and joy as the Olympics kick off this weekend.
"I really can't grasp it right now," she said. "It's like something floating in the air that I can't get a hold of."
She added that while her son is recognized for his art, it's the person on the inside who gives her the most pride.
"What he really likes to do is show young people that they should do what they want to do," she said. "Follow what they love and they can make it."
Dr. Johnson added Allen has already been commissioned to create pieces for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She couldn't be more pleased with where his life is headed, she said.
"He's been working as an artist for about 15 years and now he is really on to something."
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