Growing up as a bit of a nomad and as one of five girls, Austen constantly felt the pressure to define and redefine her personal style. On placemats, napkins, homework margins, and any white space she could find, Austen would create characters– women she illustrated as alternates of herself. In her portraits, Austen uses color, patterns, garments, expressions, belongings, and space to explore the complexity of beauty and identity. The women Austen illustrates are sometimes real and sometimes fictional but they all contribute to who she is. Austen is 27 years old and is based in New York City.