“I AM AN ARTIST, WILD ONE, AND TEA ENTHUSIAST that loves spending time traveling through the mountains and hiking in the rain,” said 18-year-old, Kenna Allison, via email. “I currently co-own and operate Krowned Clothing Co. with my boyfriend, Kal Leamer as well as create art and take pictures full time.”
“I have been a photographer for almost 3 years since I was a sophomore in high school,” she added. “My favorite things to take pictures of is the outdoors, and people in nature and fashion photography.” Tea enthusiast, wild one, and artist, I get the sense that Kenna Allison is super chill. This girl sounds like someone who I wouldn’t mind to serendipitously get lost with.
“My favorite music is rock n’ roll/punk, but my music range is very diverse going from rock to rap, alternative and more,” she continued. Alas! someone I can relate with—-I’m packing my bags rights now! “Really, the only music I don’t listen to is pop (modern shit radio music) and country,” she concluded. Okay, and not because Kenna is 18,000 miles away and my piggy-bank is as hollow as the caves in Montana, but simply because Kenna does not like Pop music, I think just staying here and writing about her would be sufficient.
18-year-old, Kenna Allison from Butte, Montana produces such breathtaking and tour de force photography that her work has been recognized and published in the Montana Magazine; one of the oldest, privately owned Montana-based magazines in the state, which, for over 5 decades now, features beautiful landscapes, sceneries, and wildlife that are only found in the Northern Rockies. In like manner, Kenna’s stunning and photogenic images of nature, landscapes, and other sceneries can be purchased and transformed into a tote bag, a pillow, an iPhone case, and cuddly blanket at Society6; an online space where you can personify the works of your favorite artist.
If you’re looking for a cool, photogenic, and earthy skin for your laptop or for your mug, or shower curtain, I recommend you visit that site—because I know I certainly will. Lord knows my plain and boring laptop skin desperately needs an upgrade and beautification! For the both of us, I will provide the link to that website at the end of this piece. Likewise, once you see how talented this girl is, you’re going to be glad that I acquainted you with that site.
18-year-old, Kenna Allison, and according to the “about” page on her visually-refreshing website, “has produced and hosted art and fashion events throughout town,” and paradoxically, has been, sometimes, the mastermind in “bringing together a fresh and exciting next generation of artists and creators.”
In view of that, it’s often rare to find someone who is not only creating content but is also creating the spaces or opportunities for other artisans to showcase their talents as well. In that sense, and in only a short amount of time, Kenna Allison has physiognomically transcended the liminal dispositions of what an artist is supposed to be. In laymen’s terms, she’s more than just an artist. “I try to live my life like an art,” she said via email, “being that one of my favorite quotes is, ‘To make living itself an art, that is the goal;” quoted by Henry Miller.
Before we continue any further, I think it’s important to pause, here, and brief you on who was/and what Henry Miller stood for—-I believe it will become appropriately fitting when we resume on Kenna Allison.
The American writer, Henry Miller, amongst many things, was an amateur pianist, a literary genius, and someone who fancied himself with watercoloring—-at the end of this colorful life (pun intended), he managed to produce over 2,000 watercolor paintings. In addition to being married 5 times, Henry Miller dropped out of high school, later traveled to France to be a writer, but once he actually published something, which was recognized in French society, it was banned back in his home country. Both books; “The Tropic of Cancer” and the prequel, The Tropic of Capricorn,” were banned in the U.S. for over 30 years because of their sexually explicit passages.
Naturally, you would think that such anachronisms might have caused him great mental trepidations—-but, no! When Henry Miller returned to the United States, and because of the many controversies surrounding his books, he essentially became not only a cultural phenomena but also a rabble-rouser; challenging American culture, censorship, which all later inspired massive movements, like the Beat Generation and the Sexual Revolution. Henry Miller, a man with many masks, and through a kind of violinist motion, was able to evolve into something bigger than just being a writer.
Now then, as we return back to Kenna Allison; when she referenced Henry Miller, she was alluding to—and amongst many other things—-his emblematic historiography—i.e., to be more than just what you are.
In addition to Kenna Allison’s favorite quote by him, Henry Miller, in his book On Turning Eighty, also said, “If at eighty you’re not a cripple or an invalid, if you have your health, if you still enjoy a good walk, a good meal (with all the trimmings), if you can sleep without first taking a pill, if birds and flowers, mountains and sea still inspire you, you are a most fortunate individual….”
At such a young age, Kenna Allison, I feel, has a deep appreciation for the constellations of nature—like, the mountains, birds, flowers, the sea, and much more. Under those circumstances, I wonder; how proud would Henry Miller have been, if he knew that someone as young as Kenna Allison was not only echoing his many idioms, but held the constellations of nature in her heart and in her photographs?!
To give you a sense of Kenna’s deep appreciation for the constellations of nature, I am going to gayfully describe to you a couple of her photos—-that I have fallen in love with. If you could, close your eyes and imagine this; your standing on a sturdy rock, somewhere in the Northern Rockies, amidst a crisp autumn evening; the crackling sounds of tiny critters nearby catches your attention while the melancholic echoes of birds briefly penetrate your eardrums. As you peacefully scan the gigantic fir trees all around you; the rippling mint-blue waters below and in front of you gushes and twirls in excitement. That image, which I just described to you, can be found on her website, under “landscapes.”
Here is another one—this time, from her Instagram, but I must warn you, if you’re afraid of heights do not close your eyes and try to imagine this photo; you’re sitting on the floor of a helicopter as it hovers about 800 feet in the air, your sporting blue ripped jeans and brown Duck boots, there’s tiny rain droplets on the front toe-cap of your boots, it’s autumn season, yet again, so the beech-brown forest trees are liminally in full swing—-as you enjoyably snap a photo of the unmissable scenery.
“My favorite season is fall,” Kenna shared with me via email. “Because I find the most inspiration in the warm tones, and aesthetic[s] around fall. My style of art/photography is very edgy and soft at the same time. I like to create work that has emotional depth and tells a message or story.”
I couldn’t agree more; when you’re thumping through Allison’s photos you certainly get the sense that she is trying to tell you something. When I look at her photos, some of the messages that perambulate my mind runs something like this; daringly-sublime, emotionally-provocative, and aesthetically-true. But, by the same token, Kenna’s work can also be described as something lyrically-inspired—with its many harmonic tones and its sharp intertextualities. Having said that, I wasn’t surprised when she revealed the motivations behind her photos, “My art is heavily influenced by the music I listen to, and I often create an image with specific lyrics in mind.”
When asked; “If you had three words to describe yourself what would those three words be?” Kenna replied, “Artistic, adventurous, and driven.” Coincidentally, those were the same words often prescribed to the eccentric, multi-talented, writer, Henry Miller. Although Kenna Allison is great a what she does, I’m sure her artistic journey hasn’t been all rosy and picturesque. Like Henry Miller, who faced some difficult and challenging situations, yet persevered, so too I imagined that Kenna has done the same. Becoming great at something often requires a delicate balance of chaos and triumph, in my humble opinion.
Whereas other people may sometimes view the art of photography as something simple and visually-monotonous, to 18-year-old, Kenna Allison, the art of photography is more than that; it’s personal and can be a powerful tool for social change. “I feel that [the photography of ] ‘art’ has gotten me through the hardest times in life, and creating beautiful things and indulging yourself in beautiful works of art is one of the greatest joys in life, and forms of therapy.” Then she added, “I truly feel art brings out the most beauty in the world, and it has the biggest potential to change the world.”
When I visualize 18-year-old Kenna Allison; artist, wanderer, and wild one, hiking in the rain, somewhere in the Northern Rockies without a whole heck of a lot, except for her deep love of nature and her sophisticated camera, I think of one final quote from Henry Miller; “I have no money, no resources, ” but, yet “I am the happiest man alive.” It wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagine, I think, to say that Kenna Allison would also feel that same way while traversing the mountains of the Northern Rockies.
In the end, I asked her; “Where and what do you see yourself doing in 5, 10 years?” and she answered, “It is so hard to say what I think I will be doing in the future, especially a mass amount of years. I struggle with this because I am aware of how quickly things change, and truly whatever greatness is to come I think it is far beyond what I will ever expect, or can imagine. But, if I had to say, I think in 5-10 years I will continue to be working on my clothing company (Krowned Clothing) and pursuing my photography/art more, with possibly publishing a few photo books within that time. I really want to get more into cinema-photography as well, so I hope by the next 10 years I am progressively making videos.”
To see some of Kenna Allison’s wonderful photography, click the following link to her Instagram; @kennaallison
To purchase her artwork for your laptop, iPhone case, shower curtain, or otherwise, click the following link to Society6; www.society6.com/kennaallison
To visit her clothing company, click the following link to her clothing Instagram page; @krownedkrew
To see one of the photos that I referenced in this piece and much more, click the following link to her website; www.kennaallison.com
Be sure to click the following link to read about our last week’s inspiring person; Bhavisha Badiani; 15-year-old landscape photographer