CARTOONS AND PSYCHEDELICS – AUSTIN HORTON {ARTIST TO WATCH}

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Childhood cartoons, dreamy spacescapes, and psychedelic cats come to life in vivid colors in Austin Horton’s imaginative paintings. A contrast to Austin’s black and white robot series, this collection of literally mind-bending imagery is chock-ful of craziness that you’ll have to see for yourself. Read the full interview below for an exclusive look into the mind of this incredibly diverse artist.
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You’ve moved around a lot as an artist, how has each city influenced your work?
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I grew up in Florida, and that’s where I began drawing and painting in my teens. Most of my stuff at that time was real angsty, stark, industrial scenes in a sort of deco style. I really gravitated towards oppressive imagery back then. I moved to New York, and my style shifted to more abstract color fields and textures. I was selling work to a bunch of private collectors back then, mostly wall street lawyers, so I did work that appealed more to that demographic. It was a great opportunity to experiment in different styles. I would say that every place I have ever lived has greatly influenced my work.

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Are you self taught or school taught?

I work in a bunch of different mediums, some of which I picked up in college; mostly printmaking, but some, like sculpture and painting, I learned how to do on my own. (Or because I told someone I knew how to do it and then learned how to do it after I was hired.) I went to Parsons in NYC for Design Management with a fashion concentration, mainly because I wrote an essay on the history of the vibrator which got me a full scholarship.

Is painting a career or a hobby for you?

This is definitely a career, art has kept a roof over my head for the last several years and I don’t plan on stopping in my lifetime. I do however look forward to a new chapter in my career where I turn up the heat and focus on showing more frequently and producing more.

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What’s your inspiration? How do you find it? 

My inspiration comes from my experience, I try to work out complex unique ideas I have had in various states of mind, and I borrow iconography from popular common sources like cartoons, old sci-fi, film which influnce my art heavily. Inspiration is kind of like love, sometimes if you’re looking too hard it will elude you. If I get into a creative block I usually switch gears and work on something else….it really helps with burnout.

If you could collaborate with any artist who would it be? What would you create?

I have fortunately had the privilege of working for and collaborating with a lot of great artists over the years, and am always open for new projects. I would really like to work on marrying installation art with event promoters to make surreal immersive experiences.

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Do you have an overall theme to your work or is each piece a separate being? What do you hope to convey with your work?

I usually work in series. I have such vastly different styles that I really like to apply a formula to a thought process and let it play out over several canvases. It helps to convey a concept more completely than just one piece. I do produce one offs, but unless they are super compelling, I don’t show them.
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Describe your current studio setup.
My current setup is pretty close to ideal. I have a huge loft space with plenty of room to do large works. I frequently work on multiple pieces at a time and here I can have them all laid out in a row, which is awesome.  It’s also my home. I just wish I had more room to do stone work, but it’s pretty noisy and dusty for this place and my neighbors. Otherwise it’s been a great creative space and I have produced a lot of work here.
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What’s your typical work environment?

I work usually in the daytime. If I am really inspired I’ll work through the night. Sometimes I’ll have a bunch of people over and make a party of it, because why not fuck solitude.
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What’s your favorite music to play while painting?

Lately it’s been more deep house, I dig Maceo PlexArt DepartmentLee BurridgeCaribou…. I like weird hooky electronic stuff.

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Do you have a show in the works? How was your live painting experience at Woogie Weekend?

Yes I do actually, and it’s going to be a shit show (in a good way). It’s at Exact Science November 7th. It’s pretty comprehensive work-wise, and my first solo show in LA.
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I had the opportunity to do some live art at Woogie Weekend, which was my first time doing live art, thanks to the Do-Art Foundation. It started out beautifully, the location in Silverado was beautiful and inspiring. Then there was a monsoon! Even though I made sure I had all my airbrush equipment, extra needles, brushes, paint…. I neglected to check the weather, so there were a few challenges. But overall a great experience and I managed to make a really cool piece despite natures wrath!
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What is the most difficult part of being a painter?

All my clothes have paint on them and the drug-fueled orgies are also exhausting.
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How do you grow as an artist and improve?
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For me, growing as an artist has come by allowing myself the time and resources to experiment and create. I think shifting things up and working outside of your comfort zone forces you to adapt and grow. Being open to new experiences and retaining a sense of optimism are important. I hunger for knowledge and always want to be learning something.
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See Austin’s work in his upcoming show at Exact Science November 7th and follow him on Instagram.

About Dustin Hollywood

Professional Photographer & Founder/Editor-In-Chief of Nakid Magazine: Dustin Hollywood DustinHollywood.com Instagram.com/DustinHollywoodPhoto Twitter.com/DustinHollywood Facebook.com/DustinHollywood

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