Austen is a self-taught ceramic sculptor. His interesting pieces has captured attention, both local and statewide. Austen has completed over 500 sculptures and has hosted 13 solo exhibits since beginning his career in 2011. Chicago Natives and those interested can see Austen's work up close & personal at the Black Creativity Exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.
Tell us about yourself
I am a self-taught American ceramic sculptor. I began my journey after being inspired by my Berkley High School ceramics teacher who saw my potential to succeed in things I thought weren't possible. As a result, in 2013 after a mere two years of sculpting, I began receiving local and statewide recognition for my creations. This has led to over 13 solo exhibits and completing over 500 sculptures. My art has been displayed at Grand Rapids City Hall, the Charles H Wright Museum, the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, and has been displayed at Detroit Institute Of Arts in conjunction with the 30 Americans Exhibition. I've been interviewed for PBS and local news channels.
How did you get started as a sculptor?
I taught myself to sculpt in a ceramics class in high school through scrutiny from my peers. I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to prove them wrong as well as the self-doubt in myself at that time.
What or who inspired you?
My high school Ceramics teacher was the first person to treat me like an artist.
How has your practice changed over time?
I’ve become more dynamic in the choices I make as an artist and more serious about my craft and how it’s presented.
What material(s) are your sculptures made with?
Ceramic clay and other found objects.
How do you work?
I work in my studio at night until 5am almost everyday.
What’s your favorite piece from your collection?
I always say I haven’t made it yet.
What has been the most pivotal experience in your career?
Being in museums has been a huge stepping stone in my career. It’s given me a lot of feedback on my work.
Where does your inspiration come from when you are working?
It comes from my personal experiences, my own obstacles in life. Also, I’m inspired by many historically known sculptors.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
That, when someone sees your artwork they see you, the real you.
Professionally; what is your goal?
To make emotionally impacting work and to make art that will change someone’s life.
What obstacles have you faced as an artist?
Each piece that is in my head as idea and isn’t created is a problem that I have to solve by making it real.