Born and raised in Birmingham, Ahmad Austin’s interest in art began at an early age as did his reputation as a good art student in grade school. He was hired for his first commission work at age 11, which happened to be a drawing of Martin Luther King, Jr. At age 12 he was enrolled in the prestigious Alabama School of Fine Arts with a concentration in visual arts. Upon graduating in 1995, Mr. Austin continued his education at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Art Education in 2000. While at Alabama A&M, he gained skills not only in drawing, but also in photography, painting, glassblowing and ceramics.

After graduating, Mr. Austin was hired with the Birmingham Board of Education where he continues to teach art to today’s youth. He currently teaches with the Hoover City System at South Shades Crest Elementary School where he helps students achieve recognition for their creativity and talent in art education. Mr. Austin states: “I consider myself one of the fortunate ones in the teaching profession because not only am I able to teach and encourage my students, but they do the same for me. I am inspired and intrigued by their creative works of art, and it just doesn’t get any better than that!”

Mr. Austin has participated in several group shows and art competitions across Alabama. He is currently showing his work across the Southeast and abroad. His previous paintings mostly consisted of abstracts filled with pastel colors. Now, they have evolved into magical paintings that capture the essence of jazz music, which Mr. Austin is an avid admirer of. He has now committed himself to producing his new series entitled “Dance to Music,” consisting of images ranging from one person playing a saxophone to a quartet playing a bass, a horn instrument, piano and drum. This series is intended to capture the feelings of excitement, calmness and the energy that jazz music evokes. He also teaches others how to paint with a palette knife online at Painting-With-A-Palette-Knife.com

This year for ArtBLINK, Ahmad Austin’s painting will be one of his signature music paintings. This painting is dedicated to his father, Willie Austin, who is a cancer survivor.