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Art & Life with Austin Jones

Today we’d like to introduce you to Austin Jones.

Austin, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Ever since I was five years old, I was actively drawing. It got to the point that my teachers and my parents noticed that I had talent, and they encouraged me to pursue art classes. I worked with Sophie Plassard, a French painter. She taught me about sketching, drawing and oil painting. I studied with her until I graduated from high school and then I sought art mentorship from others: Pia Stern, a painter who taught me about abstraction and expression. She taught me to be more open in my art, I also was mentored by Arland Barron who taught me a lot about character development, telling stories, and animation based on his work at Warner Brothers. My real journey began when I went to college at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. I learned about storytelling, character design, background painting, digital artwork and other forms of art. I met a lot of other artists and was taught by amazing people like Will Weston and Mike Humphries. When I graduated with a degree in Illustration and Entertainment Design, I felt empty, and I didn’t know what to do. I started applying for jobs and was slowly still creating art. I was inspired by some of the video games I played, the people I worked with at Carlsbad Art Farm, and the people I work with at Arts for Learning which allows me to share my knowledge with grammar school children. I am inspired by teaching children to create art.

The most important thing I’ve learned being an artist is, to be honest. I also think it’s important to use my art to make others happy. I also used art to capture the changes I’ve gone through in my life. For example, I am on the autism spectrum. I didn’t realize this until I was in my early 20s. I started to notice that I was different and I’ve used my art to help convey my perspective on the world. Being on the autism spectrum has definitely affected my art and what I choose to create. I feel that what I create through art shows my perspective on life and my ideas. I feel that living with autism allows me to be very observant of how people are and it helps me to understand them better which is then reflected in my art.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My favorite thing about creating art is that it has no limits. When I am alone and have the materials, I can create whatever I want. My art is a series of narratives. Whenever I have an idea, it’s like a roll of film playing in my brain, on a screen only I can see.

I have always had a unique vision, and my art allows me to tell my stories. I view the process of making a painting or drawing similar to telling a story. I start with a beginning, gathering materials, introducing characters, and setting the scene so I can create a wonderful piece of art. But then, something happens: I arrive at the blank canvas or paper, and then stop to think, “What do I do with this?” “How do I save the princess?” “How do I stop the world from ending?” It isn’t until I let the pencil, pen, or brush start progressing through the story that I discover the real journey I have started… but the journey needs to have an end. I need to save the world after all. It’s not until I discover how to overcome my inner struggle that I find I had the solution to the problem inside me.

I want to help create stories that can be understood in a visual way. An artist who creates stories with visual images interacts with the audience so that the story is seen both the way the artist presents it as well as in the way the audience perceives and interprets it. Visual storytelling allows me to express my thoughts and ideas to others. I am always interested in what an audience thinks of my work, so I try to provoke a reaction by painting or drawing something that will pull people into my piece.

I draw and paint. I create digital drawings and painting. I always start from drawing by hand and often scan those drawings onto the computer where I can add color and finish the pieces.

What would you recommend to an artist new to the city, or to art, in terms of meeting and connecting with other artists and creatives?
I share my art via Instagram and often meet artists that way. I have also tried a few artist meetups. Often when I have a piece in a show at La Bodega, I meet other artists. La Bodega is a fantastic gallery that does group shows and often will have 50 or 60 different pieces of art in one show. The gallery is very unique in how they bring a large field of artists together.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I have a website. The URL is austinjohnjones.com. I often display my work at La Bodega in Logan Heights, and I have a solo show at Sophie’s Gallery which is at 109 Rea Avenue, El Cajon, CA 92020. The opening is on April 6 from 5 – 8 pm and the show will be at the gallery from April 6 to April 26th.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
I took the photos myself.

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