with a special performance by DJ Unkle Thirsty!!



Originally from the Midwest, David Allyn graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh,

before earning an MFA in ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2003. Over the
course of his RISD education, Allyn noticed and became interested in the complex layers of
overlap in the creative culture of Providence, starting with the dynamic printmaking scene and
its relation to local musicians. This helped crystallize his decision to stay in the city after
graduating, which led him to found the ceramics department at the non-profit arts center The
Steel Yard during its infancy. From there, Allyn began to cherish the energy of a strong creative
community, concurrently co-founding the Providence Initiative for Psychogeographic Studies,
and contributing to the developing gravity of The Steel Yard and the greater arts community in
the Woonasquatucket River Valley. As the recipient of a RISCA Fellowship and a McKnight
Fellowship, Allyn was able to expand his studio practice as an individual artist, combining his
interest in ceramics with his performance art alter-ego Unkle Thirsty, while also further
developing and strengthening the network of artists that were drawn into the fold.

Still interested in printmaking, Allyn has been continually refining multiple image transfer
techniques in his ceramic work. Using photo decal transfers, stencils, and silkscreening, he
creates one-of-a-kind porcelain objects that vacillate between an optimistic and futuristic vision
of our contemporary culture, and an investigation of the “tired Americana” of our recent past.
Adding photography to the mix, Allyn has developed a series of porcelain objects that preserve
abandoned, neglected, or repurposed buildings around Providence and highlight our cultural
choices when it comes to destroying or recycling resources. With intricately detailed four-color
silkscreened images that are printed directly onto the clay, he has transformed digital
photographs taken around the city and the state into permanent evidence of these decisions.
Alongside his endlessly evolving series of utilitarian, wheel-thrown cups, his work highlights his
hopes for our social and environmental future as well as his critique of current affairs, ranging
from consumerism and politics to violence and religion.

Allyn currently maintains a full-time studio practice in the Nicholson File Building, a studio art
space which he also manages. Located just down the road from The Steel Yard, Nicholson File
brings together 25 artists dedicated to multiple disciplines, and is part of the thriving network of makers in the recently-coined Valley Arts District of Providence. David Allyn has had his work
featured at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and has multiple works that have been added to
the permanent collections of the Newport Art Museum and the RISD Museum. He lives in
Providence in the Monohassett Mill Building with his partner, artist Amanda Soule.


Thirsty at The RISD Museum, photo credit David O'Connor

Thirsty at The RISD Museum, photo credit David O'Connor

"Lemme tell you something about David Allyn. Back when he was just using me to push aside
the curtains of culture, he never thought I’d make it as a professional. But here I am, almost 15
years later, the man behind the curtain, behind the music, the lights, the mustache. And yeah,
anyone who remembers me from my movie nights at The Steel Yard might be surprised, too.
But you keep bringing the bass to public space, in just the right visor and with just the right
amount of chest hair [if you see Sharpies at the Job Lot, grab a bunch for me], and soon people
will start paying you to hang out with them. I’ve been hustling for my D-list Providence celebrity
status, and as soon as Dave got hired to coordinate events back at the Steel Yard, I saw the
perfect opportunity to put that status to use. I’ve gotten to know a whole bunch of A-listers, and
some of them are still alive! You can throw a wicked nice party with the right people and a whole
lot of colored lights. So not for nothing but make sure you give Unkle Thirsty a call next time you
want to get something together, you know what I mean?"