Austin Warren Coats is an interdisciplinary artist with a bachelor’s degree in Dance Studies from Kent State University and a master of fine arts degree From New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Originally from Reynoldsburg, Ohio, he attended Kent State University to receive formal dance training and graduated magna cum laude. He has had the honor to work with artists such as Silvana Cardell, Angela Luem, Catherine Meredith, Jess Pretty, Jamal White, and Ronald K. Brown. Through scholarships he has attended summer intensives from The Joffrey Ballet School, Ruth Page Center of the Performing Arts, and Ronald K. Brown’s EVIDENCE, A Dance Company dance intensive and workshop series. Coats also has many interests in the arts including writing, illustration, dance, film, and fashion design. In 2020, his film The Black Dancing Body: Covid-Era (Draft 1) was selected for the Dance On Camera Film Festival. Also, upon graduating from Tisch in 2020, Coats joined EVIDENCE, a Dance Company where he still performs. He is a published illustrator in college publications and illustrates for various dancers’ projects. His life goal is to become a choreographer and artistic director, in hopes to pour some soul, joy, and acceptance through art into the world and hopefully find a space where all his artistic interests can collaborate and emulsify.
Photo by Yasmeen Enahora
Austin [heavy thinker]: an interdisciplinary and conceptual artist with experience in fashion,illustration, and dance.
I draw. I be sketching. I think a lot. I question. I laugh. Not to be taken for granted, dance is like a present, experienced in the present, so I try to treat it like a gift. Many questions arise while in the creative process. What feels right? What’s personal? What’s you? It’s relative,though. What feels good to one may not feel the same to another. Digging deeper into the creative process I treat my creating like food. Every advance in the work, I’m questioning. What is the texture? How does it feel? How does it taste? What does it taste like? Then by the end I should know if I put my foot in it or not. I should leave the table with a satisfied soul. In fact, the soul fuels the work actually. The issues of the soul ignite inspiration, perplex me to ponder, and excite me to create. So I can see myself, representation of black, queer, male, and bodies of otherness is an important factor to my work. Those identities are most welcome to eat at the table but there is something for everyone to leave with. Strong satisfaction or a gut agreement. Let that visceral yes be an ignition to inquire about one’s self, then a catapult to create, and start allover again. Just, if wanted to, have it make sense to someone—performer or viewer, mover or watcher, dancer or audience. If not, that’s fine also. However, intentions are essential in finding understanding. Let art be done with a purpose, hopefully in and out of love, like food. For reference, see 1 Corinthians 13:4. (The Bible may be problematic in some areas but to blatantly have a definition for love is commendably heartwarming.) Note that is one understanding of love. I create art within and without these confines and attempt to do everything with intention.Art is love. Like food, art is universal whether it is appreciated or not. Like food, art is needed.
Photo by Yasmeen Enahora