Whether she’s standing at an easel, designing at her computer, or drawing with chalk on the street, it seems as if Chelsey Austin is always in the middle of something creative. Austin lives with her husband and pets in Buckhead Village and commutes to Cumming for her full-time job as graphic designer at Fan Creations, a company that specializes in NCAA and NFL decor and gifts. On weekends and in her free time she participates in outdoor chalk festivals and collaborations with other artists and art organizations.
Growing up as a creative kid with a free-spirited artist for a mother and a supportive father, Austin was free to make art from an early age. Upon graduation from high school her grandmother encouraged her to apply for a position as a designer at The Highland Mint. Though inexperienced, her directness and tenacity landed her the job and for 11 years she worked her way up in the company from graphic designer to Junior Art Director, learning along the way.
“Most people recognize the company from the Super Bowl, they make the coin that is flipped before the game each year,” explained Austin. During her time at The Highland Mint she worked with clients such as Disney and Boeing, and after moving from central Florida last year she found very similar work at Fan Creations here in Georgia.
While Austin supports herself with graphic design, she also thrives when covered in chalk or paint. In the past year she has created a piece for the Atlanta Braves during Chopfest, a self-love mural collaboration with artist Jessi Queen on Path 400, participated in Art Gone Wild at the Atlanta Zoo, Albany’s inaugural Chalk Festival, and the Pianos for Peace Project.
“My love for chalk art started in High School as my art teacher put on a festival each year in the lunch area. It started as a way to get out of class, and now I am taking off work to travel to different states to play on the ground,” she said with a laugh.
As is often the case when an artist is multidisciplinary, Austin’s work is done in a variety of settings and environments. “I really enjoy public art because it is bringing things out into the community that they might not normally get to see. I am really fortunate that Atlanta has the Georgia Chalk Artist Guild, it is a fantastic artist hub and resource for public events and artist support,” said Austin.
The transient quality of chalk art, a medium so delicate that wind, rain, and other environmental factors can destroy the art and will eventually erase it entirely, is of particular appeal to Austin. “That is the real beauty of chalk art, which is temporary, getting to see it be created out on the street and not just hanging in a gallery or on the internet.”
Learn more about Chelsey Austin and see her work on her website, or follow her on social media via her handle @artofchelsey.