Internationally recognized artist Ahmad Austin believes that good art is like good music: it makes you feel something. Marked by bold colors, movement, and loose strokes, his paintings are sure to do just that.

Built upon years of formal training, Austin’s personal style emerged when he picked up a palette knife and discovered a new artistic freedom that captured more emotion and energy than he ever experienced while painting with a brush. You’ll often find Austin painting to the sound of jazz legends like John Coltrane, creating pieces that capture the essence of jazz. “When I’m painting, it’s as if time doesn’t exist,” he said. Unwinding as he creates, Austin’s personality and his style are both relaxed. Yet, he uses quick strokes and scratching techniques that convey a certain energy that comes off the canvas. “I’m very easy going—maybe a little too much,” Austin said. “I think some of the emotions I hold back come out in my paintings.”

Austin’s work has been showcased worldwide from Italy to Ireland, and he is well respected in his home community of Birmingham, Alabama where his pieces hang in galleries all over town. When he isn’t creating exquisite, award-winning pieces of his own, Austin stays busy teaching others to do the same. By day, he teaches elementary school students techniques to express themselves artistically, and he also teaches numerous classes live and online through his Palette Knife Academy which have been enjoyed nationally and internationally. A patient and encouraging teacher, Austin said his students inspire him with their creativity. Several of his students have developed their own style using the palette knife and have gone on to become professional artists as well. “There’s nothing more rewarding than that,” Austin said.

Whether he’s painting a series of his signature musicians or a landscape, Austin’s work is a lot like jazz music—filled with a calming sort of energy that keeps people coming back to it. He plans to keep “painting jazz” and inspiring others to do the same for years to come.


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.


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