From elementary school drawings to Tallgrass Film Festival poster contest winner

Courtesy photo by Austin Storie

Elementary teachers encouraging young Austin Storie to continue to pursue art, leads him to winning the appraisal of Tallgrass Film Festival director Mirra Bank with his contest-winning poster designed for the film. 

Storie, a WSU senior and Ulrich Museum student employee, grew up north of St. Louis, Missouri, but has now lived in Kansas for the past six years. Currently, Storie is working towards his bachelor’s of fine arts in studio arts with a concentration in applied drawings.

Before elementary school, Storie didn’t have a lot of interest in the arts. However,  Storie’s interest sparked after few of his teachers encouraged him to look into art after seeing his potential.

“That interest later grew into a true passion for all types of visual communication, and I haven’t really looked back since,” Storie said.

Since pursuing his art career, he recently won the Ulrich Museums contest in November for the college division of the Tallgrass Film Festival poster contest with a designed poster for the film No Fear No Favor by Mirra Bank. 

Austin Storie recently won the Tallgrass Film Festival poster contest for the film “No Fear No Favor” by Mirra Bank. (Illustration by Austin Storie )

When he found out that he placed in the contest, Storie said he was arrogantly confident that he could handle the challenge and was excited for the opportunity and research that came with the project.

Leading up to the contest was great. When I heard the news that it was taking place my first thought, while it knowingly seems arrogant, was, ‘I can win this if I really think smart.’,” Storie said.  “I’m very lucky that the research phase leading up to the submission of work for these types of contests is very fun for me to work through. So I was feeling pretty confident even in the early stages.”

The film No Fear No Favor depicts the choices that the African communities have to make to protect their land’s wildlife heritage against the illegal trading that happens frequently.  A large part of the documentary focuses on the illegal ivory hunting of African elephants. 

“Basing my composition around an African elephant rendered in graphite, I recreated its tusks using scans I took of my own fingers printed in ink,” Storie said. “I made this specific decision to connect viewers with the idea that humans have an active role in the degradation, but also restoration, of wildlife species. After making a few minor adjustments, I felt that what I created was conceptually and visually strong enough to put into the contest.” 

Storie was presented with a prize of $100 and two all-access passes to the film festival. Storie said the best prize he got from the competition was the positive feedback from the film director as well as approval from other designers and visual artists. 

“I had a fantastic experience with the contest. Getting the stamp of approval by designers and visual artists that I respect greatly was such a validating experience,” Storie said. “I think the most memorable portion was hearing such positive feedback from the Mirra Bank, the film’s director. Knowing that she was so receptive of the concept and how I chose to visually represent that was worth its weight in gold.”

Storie has many other illustrations and artwork online on Instagram. Posting many varieties of art such as object illustrations, album redesign artwork and portrait illustrations.