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Jeff Austin

Personal History

Born in Bolton, Lancashire, my spare time as a child was generally taken up by painting and making models of one sort or another. I enjoyed reading the Eagle, Marvel and DC comics and learned so much by copying Dan Dare and Commando comic strips, later making up my own. I learned very early on in life how, with a little imagination, two dimensional media could create a world of adventure and enjoyment.

At school I learned lino-cut printing and later, as a student of Graphic Design at Bolton College of Art and Design, I recall being taught to woodcut by the great northern artist Roger Hampson. These skills and an appreciation and love of print shaped much of my working life.

During my time as an art student, Tony Forster's gentle humour and love of letter forms and typography made the graphic design world every bit as interesting and creative as the work of the great masters. With this strong foundation I went on to spend thirteen years as a graphic designer before working for Apple Computers in the electronic design and print industry for many more years. During this time I also gained my teaching qualification and taught art and design for a short while.

Over the years I have worked with pen and ink, water colours, oils and, more recently, acrylics. My work has included two and three-dimensional pieces, animations, film props and special effects. Model making and music are hobbies that have followed me all throughout my life. Music, in particular, still inspires my art.

Inspiration

Inspiration comes in many forms and for me it has included many places and people, especially those who shaped my childhood. I recall tales of my grandfather walking ten miles from Darwen to Bolton to work a 7am 'til 6pm shift as an engineer, and then "professional" boxing at night in Yorkshire or the Midlands to make ends meet. This powerful image of tough men from harder times has informed some of my more traditional paintings.

Experiences gained during my travels have been particularly pivotal. The history and art of Oceania inspired the "Australia" collection, whilst walks through the British countryside, the works of Tolkien, and a love of history informed my "Relic" collection. The architecture, art and colours of Vienna, Singapore, Hong Kong, Africa and India provide so many opportunities to be overwhelmed by wonderful colour combinations and diverse art forms.

In my spare time I love to play the guitar and, having grown up in the late 60's and 70's, I am primarily a Blues man. With a palette broadened by age and experience, my musical appreciation now includes classical, jazz, rock and metal. My ipod is jammed with Django Reinhardt, BB King, Joe Bonamassa and all points in between.

More recently, my inspiration comes from the work of my three sons at Austin Brothers Films, who are wonderfully creative in the literary field. Their abilty to transform the written word into moving pictures is truly astounding.

One of my sons has a love of and an immense talent for photography, and his pictures of the natural world are stunning. My wife and family are my rock and best supporters. Their patience and encouragement have contributed so much to my development as a professional artist.

It is surprising how all facets of your life come together to make you the person you are and are revealed in the creations you ultimately produce. Creative work is rather like a mirror of the self, which is why most artists, tend to be rather reluctant to show their work. I hope you learn a little more about me through my work, get to know me better and that you like what you see.