Austin Lee lives and works in New York, where he creates bright airbrushed paintings of figures that often carry a mask of childlike innocence while hinting at darker themes. The artist often works with digital media to sketch and plan his paintings -- recently he’s moved to using VR technology to augment his studio practice and visualize future paintings.
Lee’s studio is bombastically colourful -- it reminds me a bit of the studios of Tal R or Pip and Pop. No visible windows, and what looks like a fairly low ceiling, contribute to a slightly cramped feeling, but perhaps it’s not so bad to be stuck indoors with all these wildly colourful and energetic paintings.
The studio looks well-equipped for the type of painting that Lee specializes in. The wall on the right-hand side of the image looks like it’s covered in shelving units holding all manner of paint supplies -- small tubs of paint, tape, plastic mixing cups, and canvases or painted panels. I like being able to see all the works in-progress around the artist as well. There’s a series of similar portraits all lined up on the floor, and larger paintings toward the back of the room. The floor is absolutely covered in paint which seems to indicate that the artist spends a lot of time working on the floor.
The artist appears to be in the process of moving or hanging a massive painting. There’s a sense of carefree exuberance in the action -- the artist seems to having a great deal of fun, and even in this photograph it’s infectious. It’s always encouraging to see an artist getting so much clear enjoyment out of their own practice.