Alexander Austin has left his artistic mark on Kansas City’s architecture for years.
His big break came in 1982, when Austin entered his artwork in the North Florida Fair. Professional billboard artist Alan Pippenger turned a corner and stopped dead in his tracks in front of a drawing of Stevie Wonder that Austin had submitted. “I found myself rooted to the spot I was standing,” Pippenger says. “It was a simple drawing, done entirely in pencil, that grabbed me by the throat.” Pippenger mentored Austin for three years, letting him fill in lettering for billboard ads, teaching him how to use special brushes.
In 1994, Austin received national recognition when the Studio Museum in Harlem included his work in a show titled “Black Romantic: The Figurative Impulse in Contemporary African-American Art.” Listing him as one of the top 30 African American artist working in the United States of America. His work has graced the pages of Essence magazine, The New York Times, Washington Post, Time magazine and has been seen in commercials and TV shows like Malcolm and Eddie and American Idol. His art is a part of the Sprint collection and hangs in the homes of celebrities like Will Smith and Danny Glover. He has works in many private and corporate collections in and outside of the United States.
In 2007 Alexander Austin received a commission to paint the biggest canvas ever, the sweeping southern facade of the Power & Light District. The mural covering 18,000 square feet, transforming a two-block stretch of blank wall into a panorama that now stands as the gateway to the district. Austin received a certificate of appreciation from the Mayor’s office, voted 2009 one of the 100 most influential African American in Kansas city by The Kansas City Globe news paper and honored to sit in baseball’s Hall of Fame John “Buck” O’Neil’s legacy seat at Kauffman’s stadium. Currently, Austin is currently working on a tribute to the Kansas City Monarchs on the new Two Light building.
Don’t pass up a chance to see what I consider KC’s true muralist, artist, jewel of the city!