A Brooklyn based illustrator, Austin Pillar finds himself as an artist through multiple illustrative disciples; co-creating a series of children’s books, developing a clothing line focused on treating mental illness, and working as a freelancer and studio artist.
Austin has been working digitally for the past three years, however will cross over to graphite and ink to sketch and practice with abstract compositions. He has filled up several mini sketchbooks where he focused on illustrating with no compositional foundation; following his instinct. The idea of spontaneous work influenced the development of his own “language” inspired by crop circles, hieroglyphics, and the cuneiform language.
“It was something I never did before. I’m very interested in symbolism and how we’ve communicated words and direction with line and shape through our entire history. I wanted to create something like this, but instead of demonstrating words or commands, I envisioned personalities or auras as each symbol. I sent out to create a feeling of awareness with groupings of uncommon symbols, as if each were an identity in a crowd of many. I’ve gotten comments saying they also mimic moments in time or the idea of a calendar. It was the only art that I made for months.”
Austin’s figurative work tackles mental illness. Figures are often secluded in a space tending to their own thoughts, while showing symptoms of out of body experiences or parting from their reality. His illustrations leave a somber and vague emotionality within a still scene that contrasts his working process; one that is frequently all over the place. Figures often merge into foreground and background through colour value.
“I think a persons most intimate and vulnerable moments are with themselves. You can create anything in your mind with no restrictions. It’s a disastrous form of freedom that we have. I love capturing people in thought and wondering what they’re thinking of, and I love that I’ll usually never find out. Or maybe there just zoning out like I always do.”