Ken Auster

A native Californian, Ken Auster grew up with his feet planted in the surfing culture. While working his way towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Long Beach State University, he built one of the world’s most prominent silkscreen and t-shirt companies, creating now legendary surfing art. His surfing images became the “fine art” of this beach culture.

In the mid 1990s Ken moved to a more serious art level, involving him with the immediacy of oil paints, as opposed to the process-burdened medium of printmaking. Throwing himself into the splendor of “plein air” (on location) painting. Ken discovered the richness and broad colors of the city life he had long avoided. He rejoiced in this new found ability to paint anything and everything- cafes, bars, train stations, airports, street scenes, and of course, never far away, was the beach, his first love.

The transition from surf art to serious impressionism was natural for Ken. His passion and obsession to reach a new understanding between him and the oil painting medium took on a new intensity of discovery. “I simply want to achieve the ultimate communication on the canvas--to say more with less.” Ken says.

This comes through with his deft use of color, his economies of brush strokes, and his simple, yet beautifully structured compositions. As one famous critic described “each painting captures a moment in time charged with a hint ..." Continued @

"...His style evolved into broad-brush, sketchy, impressionist (but not of the broken-color variety) painting featuring strong use of color to help create atmosphere. He did a good deal of plein air work, much of it in cities. In recent years he painted many bar and restaurant scenes.

An interesting practice was the titles her assigned to his works. Often they are ironic takes on what he was depicting... (
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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