Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Andy Austin  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: in Boston, MA

-- Andy Austin on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Andy Austin was hired in 1969 by ABC News to cover the Chicago Conspiracy Trial. She has worked there ever since.

Biographical and Professional Information

Andy received her degree from Vassar College, spent many years as a scetch artist at many of the most exciting and important trials in Chicago courtrooms over the last 40 years, drawing for the public the historic scenes that Rule 53 prevents cameras from documenting.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Rule 53: Capturing Hippies, Spies, Politicians, and Murderers in an American Courtroom
ISBN: 1893121534

Lake Claremont Press. 2008

No Cameras Allowed

In the late 1960s, new to Chicago and bored with the still life subjects she painted in her home studio, artist Andy Austin began wandering the city in search of surprises from life as it is really lived. Chicago delivered--with the color and drama of volatile times and larger-than-life subjects. The streets were alive with noisy demonstrations, against the war in Vietnam, and in support of issues ranging from civil rights to raises for schoolteachers. Austin sketched picket lines and protests and sometimes joined them, soaking up every detail with crystalline clarity. When she turned her skills to court drawing, her stunning ability to capture pivotal moments and revealing human interactions gave Chicagoans an unparalleled you-are-there view of trials and personalities that made headlines.

Rule 53: Capturing Hippies, Spies, Politicians, and Murderers in an American Courtroom is a vivid memoir by one of the country's best visual chroniclers of courtroom proceedings. Austin's gift for seeing essential details offers intimate glimpses of defendants like the Chicago 7 radicals, the Black Panthers and the El Rukns, serial killer John Wayne Gacy, and a parade of mobsters. In prose as deft and insightful as her sketches, she shares her portraits of the lawyers, judges, politicians, and others involved in cases she observed, salutes friends and colleagues, and shares personal experiences that influenced her unique perspective on local history in the making.

Andy Austin does a remarkable job as a Chicago courtroom artist, and in her book, the truth comes through as vividly as in her sketches.

--Studs Terkel, author and oral historian

I like Andy Austin's quick mind and quick eye. She sees the drama, the humanity and, yes, even the humor in Chicago's greatest theater--its courtrooms. Her memoirs, beautifully illustrated, provide an amazing look at the inner workings of America's most ebullient city.

--Jon Anderson, Chicago Tribune

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)