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Austin Cole, is a 22 year old self taught artist living in Saint Augustine FL. Born in Colorado Springs CO, with a heart defect called aortic stenosis. he underwent many minor heart procedures throughout his childhood. At the age of 12, he received open heart surgery.  The last heart procedure he went through was at 15.

As a child it was hard to keep up with other kids in physical group activities. This drove Austin towards hobbies that were more independent and often involved creating things. He loved legos, drawing and painting. The margins of his school books were filled with cartoons and drawings on every page.

When I painted I could be myself, and at the end of the process, something beautiful was coming out of my sadness, something that made people happy, something that made me happy.

At age 15-16, painting took on a new meaning to Austin. He was different from so many of the kids his age.  Art in that time began to develop like a relationship rather than a hobby. Painting was what Austin wanted when he was lonely, or afraid. When Austin talked to friends about the things that were on his mind, (worries for his own health, worries for the health of the people he'd shared hospital rooms with) they often didn’t know what to say. Austin not only felt lonely but also bad for making somebody else feel sad like he felt.

This world is hard, art is a gift.

Austin Cole was always drawn to abstract art and felt that it had the ability to speak messages so unique and specific to each different person viewing it; there is nothing like it. Art continues to this day to be like a relationship to him. It grows, evolves, and there is always more to learn and discover. His arts goal is very simply to put joy in the people that see it. This world is hard, art is a gift. Austin feels honored to be able to create and share it with others.

Austin will showcase original acrylic on canvas paintings at Sarasota's Fine Art Festival, November 18 & 19, 2017. This family-friendly, free event takes place 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., downtown, Sarasota.

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