A typical night for Ahmad Austin can be summarized in one word: relaxation. In fact, most of his paintings are created during the night, drawing inspiration from the sultry sounds of jazz legend John Coltrane. After concluding his role as an art teacher, Austin embarks on a journey of exquisite artistry that radiates excitement and energy. He expresses, "It's almost indescribable how I feel when I'm painting; it's as if time ceases to exist. After a rigorous day working with high school students, Austin demonstrates how seamlessly he transitions from teaching art to painting to the rhythm of jazz.

Austin was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, where his passion for art ignited at an early age, earning him a reputation as an exceptional art student. At the age of 11, he received his first commission, a portrait of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. At 12, he joined the prestigious Alabama School of Fine Arts with a focus on visual arts. During his junior year at Huffman High School, he secured second place in a statewide high school art competition. Following his graduation in 1995, Austin continued his education at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, Alabama, ultimately obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education in 2000. During his time at Alabama A&M, he honed his skills in drawing, photography, painting, glassblowing, and ceramics.

Austin has dedicated twenty years to teaching and currently imparts his knowledge at Hoover High School, instructing Art 1 and Art 2. He reflects, "I consider myself fortunate in the teaching profession because I not only teach and encourage my students, but they, in turn, inspire and intrigue me with their creative artworks. It couldn't get any better than that!"

Following a day of teaching high school students, Austin turns to painting at night and during weekends. Much of his work revolves around enchanting paintings that capture the essence of jazz music. This affinity for jazz can be attributed to his father, who played jazz in their household during his childhood. Austin has now dedicated himself to his latest series, titled "Jazz it Up," with his artwork showcased throughout the Birmingham area, collected by enthusiasts far and wide.

During the pandemic, Austin expanded his repertoire from jazz paintings to captivating portraits of African American children. His new portraits intricately capture the innocence and humanity of each child within his paintings. Just like his jazz-inspired works, these portraits are characterized by vibrant textures and bold brushstrokes. Gazing into the eyes of any of Austin's portraits elicits a profound sense of a child's innocence with a touch of underlying melancholy.