His subjects are drawn from the elite and the ordinary, the urban and rural vendors, fortune tellers, sari sari stores, jeepneys, fiestas and even folk games, such as this 1966 work, “Sakla.”
The components of the table game are arranged on the same plane almost like decorative patterns or motifs.
His almost decorative sense of visual composition betrays Austria’s various disciplines before becoming an artist. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1956, Austria’s first job was in the Universal Textile Mills, as a textile designer for 10 years, before teaching art at the University of Santo Tomas in 1969 , before deciding to become an artist. In 1976 Leonidas Benesa noted that Austria’s “childlikeness is only a front for the silent workings of an architectonic mind.”
“I struggle through every composition” he told the critic Cid Reyes in 1997.