BA St. Olaf College
MA University of Iowa
MFA University of Iowa
David Van Allen earned his Bachelor's degree in English and Master's degrees in Photography from the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History. For several years, beginning in 1983, he taught as a part-time adjunct at Mount Mercy, Kirkwood Community College and Coe College. In 1991 he became a full-time employee at Mount Mercy where his duties also included college photographer and gallery director. He is currently Senior Lecturer and Gallery Director. In 1997 he built a studio in the Cherry building on 10th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, where he also does some professional photography and conducts occasional classes with his Mount Mercy students.
Portraiture pervades Van Allen's work in almost all aspects of his photographic milieu. His personal work currently involves a series of life-size portrait assemblages made from many individual negatives of close-up segments of his subjects. The reconstruction process resembles the assembly of a jig-saw puzzle with multiple solutions.
Set design and collaborations for theatrical productions have been another aspect of Van Allen's work, incorporating photographic imagery into productions of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, The Last Concert Tour of Micky Collossus and the Merchants of Death, three short operas produced by the Cedar Rapids Opera Company and several collaborations with Mel Andringa and the Drawing Legion at CSPS/Legion Arts, including The Fall of Babylon.
Van Allen travels whenever possible, and collects many of his subjects while abroad. He regularly co-teaches the Mexican travel-study course offered by the Department of Communications, Literature and Art. In 2006 and 2008, he had solo exhibitions of his photographs at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa and CSPS/Legion Arts in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors at the Paul Engle Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.