Allen KnowsHisGun is a Crow Indian fine artist who works with oils, acrylics and other mediums to express his vision of American Indian culture. He grew up on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana. His Crow Indian name is “Baawachesh Xuuchesh”, which means “Helps the Needy”.
Allen, the second eldest of four brothers and a sister, he began his early curriculum at the Crow Agency Elementary School, where he found great interest in the projects conducted in art classes. His older brother Lyndon would bring home art projects where they would study works ranging from paintings to sculptures. Allen would sometimes watch his father, also an artist, work on impressionistic paintings and he had the opportunity to accompany him to art shows. “Introduced to the art word at such a young age it seemed inevitable that I would be a part of it in some way.”
Allen attended junior high at Pretty Eagle Catholic School and then attended Hardin Senior High School where he graduated in May of 1997. He was very active in sports while in Hardin and he competed in basketball, football, and cross country. During that time period, his brother Joe introduced him to the high school art instructor Hector Alvarado. After that time, Allen studied independently under Alvarado for about a year. “Before I met Hector, I was more of a free lancing artist.” My study under Hector gave me a more scientific, disciplined and philosophical approach to the arts. Meeting Hector was a pivotal for me in my pursuit of excellence in the fine arts.”
After high school, Allen attended Haskell Indian Nations University. He began displaying his art in shows between classes and sports. He competed in basketball as part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for four years. In 2003, Allen graduated with a B.A. in American Indian Studies. Afterward he attended the University of Kansas and earned his M.A. in Indigenous Nation studies in 2005.
After graduate school, Allen returned home to teach American Indian Studies for a year at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana. Following his teaching experience, Allen continued his career as a prolific artist. His paintings depict American Indian people and traditional life from historical time to present. Much of his work reflects his Crow heritage along with other Plains Indian cultures. Careful research is evident in his work, with the authentic portrayal of regalia and scenery. His work reflects genre of romantic realism/impressionism, while brilliant colors with bold light and shadow have become signatures of his elegant style.