We initially came across Austin's work when one of our graphic designers who is based in Denver and was working on our brand identity, mentioned him to us. As collaborations are a key component of our brand strategy, we began to research his work and were inspired by his story and how it perfectly aligned with our own story and brand mission. We got to meet Austin in person when we traveled to Denver to shoot the capsule with him and found a humble, dedicated, authentic and passionate young artist who captured the zeitgeist of a historical moment and made it his own by volunteering his talent and work at the service of a first-responder class as a message of gratitude and acknowledgment for a unprecedented and selfless task by true American heroes, the front-line healthcare workers and first responders. Healthcare Heros is a project that gained nation-wide attention with coverage from national media outlets such as the NY Times, The Denver Post, Italy's Grazia magazine etc. He's most definitely a GR8-1 in our books and a great ambassador for what we stand for as a brand. Here is a 1 on 1 conversation we recently had with Austin that we hope you enjoy. You can follow Austin @austinzart.


1. What the audience may not be aware of is your role as a swimming coach at the University of Denver. How do you balance the commitments of this role with the need to create and make art?

Admittedly, it is not always easy. There are definitely overlapping aspects of both professions. I like to think that my creativity from the arts carry’s over in my coaching style. However, there are times when it challenging to balance both professions. I am not ready to give either up yet.


2. How did the idea of the Healthcare Hero project come about? What were you working on at the time before pivoting?

The main inspiration of the healthcare hero came from my direct family who are healthcare professionals. While my 2 brothers and their wives were working tirelessly and selflessly through the pandemic, I was sitting comfortably quarantined at home. I simply wanted to express my gratitude to the healthcare community and my family. I had no expectations that the piece would receive the attention that it got and I was humbled with the love it received from the healthcare community.

I was dabbling in mural work prior to the healthcare piece but primarily developing my pointillism style through illustrative small-scale paintings.


3. You dabbled in the NFT space and got your feet wet sort of speak. What are the major findings and what’s to come on your end as far as this space is concerned?

I believe the NFT space has limitless potential. The process of authenticating a piece of work through block chain technology is very cool. The space is still very new but is becoming more and more mainstream by the day. As an artist I enjoy working in a number of mediums: painting, digital, and 3D. I believe the NFT space is another medium that artists can draw inspiration from. The biggest challenge I came across is the actual purchasing of an NFT. The average customer does not own crypto currency and has to go through a few steps to purchase a NFT. It is not as simple as plugging in your credit card numbers. 


4. Can you walk us through your personal journey of becoming an artist?

I have always known that I wanted to be an artist. My first clear memory of becoming an artist was in the second grade. I used to trace cartoon characters, color them, and give them to the girls in my class in an effort to make them my girlfriend. I had solid game in elementary school. Haha

My love for the arts continued through high school and I received a BFA in fine arts at the University of Denver. I have primarily focused on painting with a specific focus in street art the past 3 years.


5. GR8ness is? ………

Personal growth. How you measure success can be very personal and relative. Striving for self-improvement to better the community around you is greatness to me.


6. What are the life lessons learned from this past year of tragedy and re-birth?

Learning to adapt and make the best of challenging circumstances.  Evaluating what brings happiness to my life.


7. What is your advise to your younger self or to a young person considering a future in art making?

Never stop creating.

June 23, 2021 — Michele Colonna
Tags: Art Mural Art

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