We recently caught up with Shal, a Yugambeh/Bundjalung artist currently residing and working on Gadigal land lends his voice and art for the first of our collaborative collections.


Shaun Daniel Allen, otherwise Shal.

Currently living/painting in?

Currently living, painting, walking and enjoying Gadigal land. 

Favourite spot to park up between studio sessions and what’s your order?

Very lucky to have Sandoitchi, on Oxford st between the studio I paint in, and the studio I tattoo from. I’m ordering a batch, and a No.2 Smoothie (Banana, date, cinnamon on soy), because you can’t just get one beverage. And if I’m eating properly, Mushroom Katsu bowl, extra mushroom; but I’m usually in between jobs, so it’s just a Choc chip cookie. 

Aside from what we’ve seen in your work through painting, you’re a musician and tattoo artist. What came first? And do you apply any influence from these in your painting?

Music definitely came first. Was my introduction into a creative space where I learnt the whole DIY ethic, and met groups of inspiring, creative people who were continually putting out work and encouraged me to do so too. Hardcore/Punk has some of the hardest working artists I’ve ever met, who are making purely for themselves first and foremost. I got to learn first hand that monetary value isn’t the be all and end all when it comes to making. I still apply those influences to my everyday life, not just painting. 

The pieces in the collection and the works in your recent show Balun are emblematic of water and its movements. To you, what does this connection represent?

That series of paintings came from me trying to find some calm. Water was where I was most at ease during the time I started painting those. Always has been. Either surfing/swimming, or just being close to the water, there’s a lot of lessons to be learned if you can just take the time to really slow down, look and listen. That connection represents so many things. Happiness, healing, understanding. Something that is much bigger than myself.

And lastly, what’s next for you. Where can we see/hear your work?

Next up I have a solo show in November at China Heights. You can find me tattooing as much as I can, at Thanks Tattoo, Oxford st. A few of my bands (Nerve Damage, Primitive Blast) have some shows coming up all over the place. A quick US tour too in December. 

But otherwise, hopefully just see everyone out in the water somewhere.