Foreword 001: Austin Rossborough
"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." — T. E. Lawrence
I'm excited to begin this series with Austin Rossborough, an illustrator/designer/retail associate from Columbus, Ohio. I owe Austin a huge amount of thanks, and some money, for putting together Little City Love's new logo. The design process was a journey of sketches and discussions and more sketches, and the whole of the Little City Love team is grateful for his dedication and patience with this project.
I read a caption you wrote for a picture on Instagram. You mentioned that you and your brother "have never really fit in with today's culture" -- can you unpack and explain this more?
Myself and my brother have always been close, and we both share similar interests and passions. We grew up home schooled, and spent a lot of time being read to (and occasionally reading) classic literature and adventure stories. Books like Hergé’s The Adventures of Tintin, The Hardy Boys, Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and of course historical accounts of George Washington, Davy Crockett and the like were all a part of our youth. Our parents did an excellent job of helping us see and understand the beauty of older culture. Being a young kid who enjoyed history and loved older things was not a normal thing growing up. Most of the kids at church or in our neighborhood were more interested in Harry Potter and sports teams, and that meant we stuck out like a sore thumb despite our attempts to fit in. I tried pretty hard to do so during the high school years, but as anyone knows it’s impossible, especially when you go home and watch Andy Griffith and everyone else is talking about the latest episode of Jersey Shore (one thing I am glad is no longer around). Over time me and my brother both settled into a love and an appreciation of the older times and enjoy them now unashamedly. I’m grateful for my brother's friendship and all he’s done to stand by me through the years. Before I met all of the kindred spirits here in Columbus, he was and has been my most faithful friend. He’s taught me a lot about staying true to who you are and not being afraid of what others think.
If you had to whittle your non-tech possessions down to three, what are they?
That’s a tough one, but it would have be film photography, listening to records, and drawing with a pencil and paper. I have a deep appreciation and love of things that take time and require a process. There is just something so magical about taking a photo with an old camera and knowing that the gears and pieces your holding will produce a beautiful image. Records hold a similar joy for me, the experience of sliding one out of its sleeve, the crackle of the needle as it scratches the wax and the fact that you have to slow down and listen to the album all the way through make for something truly rare. Drawing with a pencil and paper have a more direct and tactile result, but all of these things have such an inherent mystery and wonder that it’s hard to express in words. They are deep experiences that require effort and time, but bring a thorough and complete reward. I don't think you can get that from something digital.
What have you learned about yourself in the last year?
I am a perfectionist. It’s something that was always in the back of my head, but I never really came to terms with it until I realized that I was holding myself (and those around me) up to such a high standard that I would never measure up to it. As someone who believes in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the grace found in the resurrection of the cross, I have been learning what it means to receive love when I don’t deserve it. I want to be someone who loves others without expecting them to change, or act in the way that I find best. The bible has a passage in 1st Samuel, 16:7 that reads, "But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” KJV. I viewed myself based on my work as an artist and the way I carried myself around others, while God was looking at my heart. It’s changing the way I live and I’m truly grateful for a God who looks past my weakness with eyes of burning love.
Can you share with me 3 Instagram accounts you admire?
I know a lot of truly talented photographers who I am honored to call friends; so in the name of limiting it to three, I’ll go with people I don’t personally know. @parkerfitzhenry, @forrestmankins, and @hamadahideaki are all incredibly talented artists and people.