Alan Austin’s life is and always has been consumed with and dominted by images- and the power that resides in them. Austin started off life in a Los Angeles home for un-wed mothers. Luckily he was adopted by a couple of world hopping parents. A brilliant, driven father who was gone traveling six months of the year and a mother who lived pretty much in own somewhat troubled world. He got to experience small town life in rural Kansas, later in Wichita and on to Dayton Ohio and several other locales in the United States – among them New York and Los Angeles. At nine years old his parents moved him to France- first to Paris and then later out to a small villege called L’Etang La Ville. Living and traveling in and around Europe proved to be quite a dramatic change and exposed him to the art, photography and cinema of another very different world. Austin made any drawings and photos of the events and places he saw in Italy, Germany, England Austria and France. The French at that time were enamored with American gangster films and dubbed them Film Noir movies. They were fascinating to Austin – especially the lighting, composition and narrative. New Wave Cinema was burgeoning at that time in Europe.
His mother was an artist and aficionado of fine art and photography and they spent many days going through the museums and galleries of Europe including, of course, The Louvre and many in Italy. Learning French and Italian,
Alan made his first European experience even richer. Being an only child stimulated Austin very early on to create his own world using art and photograhy as building blocks. Art was especially the perfect tool to create worlds from his own mind. He painted many ‘paint by numbers’ paintings, but often by putiing different colors than the ones called for thus producing some interesting abstracts at an early age. He photographed and drew everything around him including his toys from around the world as well as images from all the places his visited and lived. He was especially enamored with Italy and took to the language easily.
Coming back to the United States, Austin had been transformed by his first European experience. His inspiration for art, photography and film now came from a distinctly different perspective. In Junior High School and High School he took art classes which he found mostly boring. Austin always had part time jobs during the school year and found ways to increase his skills by working in metal, body and welding shops and also finding artists to cling to by working in their studios – mostly for free. He also worked as a photographer’s assistant to many talented and some not so talented photographers. He always loved books and amassed a fairly sizeable collection of art, film and photography books that served him well as self-teaching aids. He also had and has an abiding love for vintage toys, which appear in some of his paintings and drawings.
Art just came naturally to a somewhat lonely and only child – Austin spent many hours living in the worlds he created with his own hands and mind. He was neither particularly encouraged nor discouraged by his hyper-busy parents, but he didn’t need any outside cheerleading to sustain his anchor to art as a vital expression in his life. He was at an early age, a keen observer of life and that characteristic still serves him will today in the process of creating art. Austin studied drawing, painting and sculpture with some prominent artists at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles and later at the University of Wyoming. ( a list ofthe specific people he studied with can be seen in the resume section herein)
As might be expected Austin’s influences are quite diverse, including those in music, literature, architecture and, of course, art, photography and film. As with many artists the influence is not always evident in a particular work. Some of them, he says, are: John Singer Sargent, Andrew Wyeth, Edward Hopper, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, John Alton (Cinematographer), Matisse, Renori, Gauguin, Fernando Botero, Gil Elvgren, Frank Geary, Frank Lloyd Wright, Norman Saunders (Pulp Artist), Rico LeBrun, Federico Fellini, Alfred Hitchcock, François Trauffaut, Issac Albéniz, Ry Cooder, Rachmaninoff, Néstor Almendros (cinematographer), Erik Satie, Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, Raphael, Vermeer, Alain Robbe-Grillet…and as he says “the list goes on”.
As an adult Austin went back to Europe on several occasions, living and working in Milan Rome, Paris, Nice, Vienna and Munich. He had a very successful fashion photography business that luckily supported his art and allowed for travel and making associations which were a rich source of material as well.
Austin has had two one-man shows and published a book – Los Angeles Afternoons. His work has appeared in Joseph Mugnaini’s book -Drawing A Search For Form, Venice Magazine and many other publications. He has also created and donated several largepieces to various charity events.He had a very successful fashion photography business that luckily supported his art and allowed for travel and making associations which were a rich source of material as well.
Austin is married to Dr. Elizabeth Austin, a world renown atmospheric physicist and forensic meteorologist, who started her own company, WeatherExtreme Ltd., (http://www.weatherextreme.com) twenty plus years ago and has grown it into a world wide business. Her father is Patrick Williams, an Emmy and Grammy award winning composer of music including a tremendous catalog for movies and television. The Austins have a twelve year old son, Moody, who is already quite an accomplished artist. Austin says his main inspiration is his family. The Austin’s home is in Incline Village, Nevada. Austin says it’s like living in Mayberry, which he and Elizabeth both appreciate after having lived and travelled all over the world most of their lives.
Austin is has been for some time a full time artist and works at least four to six hours a day in his studio. He’s planning to expand the studio so as to be able to create more sculpture-primarily using sheet metal to form into highly formed and polished pieces.
Austin says that “Art definitely does make the world a little better place” and he feels privileged to be able to make it – and hopefully it speaks well enough for itself in that realm beyond words where music and art live. Austin: “I truly want my collectors to love and enjoy the pieces that they chose to grace the walls in their homes, parks, business or museums.”