FOX 2 - When Austin Fabinski from White Lake got his teaching degree, he landed a job as an art instructor in the same school district he attended as a student.
"Art was always my thing growing up," he said. "Even when I was young, my parents put me in private lessons."
But after four years and working two other jobs to make ends meet, Austin decided to take a chance.
"I was like, I need a change," he said. "I wasn’t creating my art and as a creative person, I needed to create for myself, too."
Austin found a mentor who taught him the business side of creating art and the importance of social media.
"She was the one that told me (to) get on TikTok. I was like OK, I really don’t know what this is," he said.
Austin began posting videos of himself painting. The timing couldn't be better - this was in December of 2019, right before the pandemic and the eventual lockdown, when everyone turned to the internet, especially TikTok.
He posted videos of his watercolors and acrylics to wood burning.
"I literally have a wood burner which heats up hot metal and I can draw with it," he said.
A video of Austin wood burning an image of Pokemon went viral - soon giving him a platform, and an audience of 400,000 people.
Instead of teaching a few hundred kids a day - Austin now inspires thousands of aspiring artists around the world. Everyday he goes live on Instagram and TikTok as he creates a new piece of wood-burning art, people watch the process and learn by asking questions.
"When you get someone who is not confident about doing art and it clicks, you can see it on their face – that’s it," he said. "I am giving people something they didn’t think they could do."
Austin also wrote two novels, hosts a podcast and teaches private art lessons.
In two years, the 31-year-old now only has to work one job and is able to support himself as an international artist who teaches and sells his art online.
"People are like, 'You only make it when you are in a gallery,'" he said. "I am like no, social media is your gallery now. TikTok and Instagram are my gallery."
For more information, follow Austin on the following:
Austin Fabinski from White Lake has become a social media star with his wood burning art.