We had the good fortune of connecting with Austin Uzor and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Austin, why did you pursue a creative career?
I stumbled upon making art at a time when I was not fully equipped with the sophisticated social skills to cope with the world around me. This discovery felt like the greatest escape from my realities at that time. I felt a natural and effortless inclination towards the exploration of this strange and yet exciting mode of communication. This language once mastered became very personal and pivotal. I also found out I could acquire the tools needed to create my own little world and exist solely within it. I invested heavily in the process of making art as it progressively became a huge part of my life. My interest in the arts grew stronger when I got exposed to the literature and history of art that once I could reference some historical and contemporary key players in the artworld I knew that was what I wanted to get into for the rest of my life. I just had to go out of my way to make my dreams become a reality, I had to get the necessary education and equip myself with the required vehicular tools in order to get to my desired destination. In other words I pursued a career in art because of my love for creating and how that became my purpose on earth.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art has evolved into different dimensions over the course of the last 10 years. Apart from developing the skills and talent early on as a kid I had to get a degree in art. I majored in painting and drawing during my time at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. That academic experience set me in motion in preparation for the complexity of the creative world I now live in. Also the experience laid a foundation for managing the skills and knowledge acquired during my time in that institution. As to what sets me apart from the rest, I feel it comes down to how I use my art as a tool and not singularly as a product. I am most proud of how far I have come in my practice, although I am nowhere near where I want to be but nonetheless I am super grateful. I am also proud that in the coming months I will be wrapping up my MFA program from the University of North Texas and I am excited to see what the world has in stall for me. Getting to where I am today has not been an easy task, I always feel like every experience is likened to a class in session and I have no option but to sit through it in order to acquire knowledge in the process, whether good or bad. Being an artist has been a rollercoaster ride with no much time to reflect. As a graduate student who has school responsibilities and a half time Teaching Fellow job in in the University, I also have to run a professional studio practice at the same time while jumping on countless opportunities out there in other to expand my reach and get more involved in the discussion of contemporary art practices. To be where I am today I have always worked to develop my own language and tell my stories, that has been something that has been very constant in my practice for the past 10 years. I keep getting better professionally year after year and that is because of how strategic I have been when trying to make moves that will end up being solely beneficial to my practice. One of those countless move invold me getting into graduate school as soon as I could after I moved to the United States from Nigeria. I wanted to understand the structure of the American contemporary art scene that I had to enroll in an academic institution where I could have a first hand learning experience while being part of a sustainable community for life. It was the hardest decision I had to make but so far it has been challenging and I am grateful for the experiences and opportunities as a result of that decision. I would not trade it for anything in the world. I have learned a lot of lessons along the way but one that keeps resurfacing is the knowledge acquired as a result of taking risks. Taking risks and moving out of your comfort zone is a very difficult idea to handle but I always have this conviction that if you need to grow you should be willing to break out of your fragile skin to grow in size and acquire a new and much tougher skin in the process. There is no bad experience. If you never try you will never know. I always want the world to know that I am visual storyteller who is dedicating his studio practice to telling stories and starting conversations about the human condition while in constant search for existential truths.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First I love the Fort Worth Cultural District because it is my hangout spot, especially with the museums, parks and good food in the area. I always feel like a tourist every time I am in the area. From the Fort Worth Modern Museum to the Community Art Center there are massive and multiple engaging Art hang out spots. The Fort Worth Zoo is a chill place to hang out too and the Stock Show and Rodeo is another fun thing to do in the area. The Food Hall at Crockett Row is where I love to eat because of the variety of options to choose from under one roof.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to give a shoutout to my Mom. She has always wanted the best for me. Also she has stood by me through it all especially during the times when everyone around me thought I was losing my mind by choosing a career path that historically and economically was regarded as one that came with less measure of success. She has always been a fan of my creativity.
Facebook: austin uzor