On Empathy

When speaking, David uses his career in tattooing as a baseline for stories. All of which led him to empathy. From struggling as an artist, to mastering a craft, his journey has always included people. A "client" to one, is a "patient" to another. Learning how to gather a story and understand a context let's us see everyone as individuals: as people that matter. 

This affects our processes—our art, designs, products, writing, diagnosis, research and communication.

We've found his talks to bring humanity into the medical field, purpose into universities, and self-reflection into the arts.

To inquire about David speaking, please use this speaking form.


We've uploaded a couple of speaking snippets from his recent talk in Paris:

    Speaking / Lectures / Panels

    2018 - Keynote, “Moving the Needle on Recovery from Breast Cancer”, Paris Breast Rendezvous, Paris, France

    2018 - Lecture, “Moving the Needle on Recovery from Breast Cancer”, Allina Health, Minneapolis, MN

    2018 - Panel circuit, “Grace: a documentary”, National documentary screenings at both theaters and medical institutions.

    2017 - Event/Keynote, “Invisible Marks”, Airbnb Corporate, San Francisco, CA

    2017 - Event/Keynote, “On Permanence”, Airbnb Design Dinner, Chicago, IL

    2016 - Panel, “The Walking Art Collection: How Tattoos Tell Stories of Identity.” (with Alaka Wali and Chris Brown), DPLA Fest, Chicago, IL

    2016 - Lecture, “Expanded Practice: David Allen’s Post-Mastectomy Tattoos & Oil Painting”, Hyde Park Art Center

    2016 - Lecture, “Communicating with Empathy”, Patient-worthy Medicine: The Art and Science of Evidence Based Practice, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

    2016 - Speaker, “When Clients Bare All”, FITC - Toronto, Chicago, IL

    2015 - Speaker, “Walking the Tightrope: Between Client Needs and Artistic Integrity”, FITC - Chicago, Chicago, IL

    2015 - Lecture, “Tattoo Design with Apple Devices”, Apple Store, Chicago, IL

    2015 - Interview, “Notre Talk 02 with David Allen”, Notre, Chicago, IL

    2015 - Interview, “With David Allen”, Story Gathering, Chicago, IL

    2014 - Lecture/ Presentation, “Translating What a Client Wants Into a Final Product”, State Farm Insurance, Bloomington, IL