Saturday, May 25, 2013

PHOTOS: Home mural by artist Alexander Austin


Homes stand out for different reasons - whether it's the beautiful lawn, the size of the home or the color of it.

One home on 79th Street and Longwood in Kansas City, Kan., stands out in a different way.

A large mural from Kansas City-based artist Alexander Austin was completed on Friday. The mural, located on the eastern wall of the home, includes Civil Rights icons Martin Luther King Jr., and Ghandi.

"I grew up in the 1960's and experienced racism," Austin said. "Those icons have always been a part of my life."

Austin's art career began somewhat on accident. During his time in kindergarten, he developed a reputation for cutting out paper neatly and art was recommended for him.

Over the next few decades, his horizons would expand from cutting paper to painting very large murals in the Kansas City metro area. 

He's painted a number of murals across Kansas City - including the Buck O'Neil mural on 18th and Vine, the Kansas City Power & Light Mural and a Martin Luther King, Jr., one in Kansas City, Mo.

Once homeless, Austin has used his art to help raise awareness for homelessness in Kansas City. For his efforts, he was named a “2012 Hometown Heroes Artist of the Year” by Major League Baseball and was given an Urban Heroes Award by the Downtown Council in 2010.

Austin also has pieces of art in museums located throughout the United States and Europe.

Karen Hernandez, who used to serve on the Kansas City Kansas Community College's Board of Trustees, owns the home where the mural is located.

"I always wanted him to do it," she said. "I was able to work it out where he could finally do it."

For those younger people hoping to be artists, Austin has one recommendation.

"Do it a lot," he said. "I used to draw all the time and I encourage parents to let their kids be artists if they want to. Motivate them - even if they're good at it, they need to have a passion for it."

More photos of Austin's work: