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Allen Christian

(1957– )

Allen Christian

Allen Christian, a.k.a. "Mr. Lucky" or "The House of Balls Guy," was born on September 16, 1957, in Minneapolis, the sixth of nine children. His father, Vernon Robert Christian, worked for the U.S. Postal Service and held additional part-time jobs, while his mother, Dorothy Agnes Christian, worked for "Ma Bell" (American Telephone & Telegraph). Christian's first artistic 'aha' moment came as a Catholic school first grader when he made a crucifixion scene. Later his fifth grade art teacher arranged Saturday drawing classes for him at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, but the young artist quit after several sessions.

As a teen, Christian tinkered for many long and happy hours in his father's basement workshop making things. During four years of military service based mostly in Europe, Christian was inspired by cultures possessed of "a vast history, where art was valued as a social treasure." Upon returning to the U.S., he attended art school for one semester and again quit, put off by its focus on concept.

Christian ultimately chose a practical livelihood as an electrician, but for more than two decades he has enchanted visitors to his Minneapolis-based "House of Balls"—an old warehouse and studio jam-packed with singular works of art fashioned out of everyday objects, from bowling balls to badminton birdies. Of his recycled art, Christian says he "discovered the essence of humanity through found objects, through inanimate objects that are cast-offs. I try and give these inanimate objects a new lease on life, to imbue them with emotion."

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