Born and raised in Birmingham, Ahmad Austin’s interest in art began at an early age. He was hired for his first commission work—a drawing of Martin Luther King, Jr.–at just 11 years old. At age 12 Mr. Austin 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, Mr. Austin enhanced his drawing skills and developed an expertise in photography, painting, glassblowing and ceramics.

After graduating, Mr. Austin was hired by the Birmingham Board of Education. He currently teaches within the Hoover City System at South Shades Crest Elementary School, where he encourages students to 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—not only am I able to teach and encourage my students, but they also 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!” In addition to teaching art to young students, Mr. Austin also teaches an online class on how to paint with a palette knife (Painting-With-A-Palette-Knife.com).

Mr. Austin has participated in several group shows and art competitions across Alabama. He is currently showcasing his work across the Southeast as well as abroad. His earlier paintings consisted of abstracts filled with pastel colors; now, his paintings are an outlet through which he channels his passion for jazz music. Mr. Austin is currently producing his new series entitled “Dance to Music,” consisting of images ranging from a musician 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 energy that jazz music evokes in its listeners.


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.