Meet Alie Jackson, the Creative Force Who Shaped Austin FC’s Legacy
Big Brands Love Her Artistic Alchemy
Alie Jackson is a major part of Austin FC’s legacy — and you wouldn’t even recognize her if you saw her.
But you have most likely seen her work.
From the electrifying in-stadium match experiences to the bold “Verde Is” campaigns, Jackson’s contributions are undeniable.
But there’s more to Jackson than meets the eye. Her independent artwork, like on Thirsty Planet’s Neon Rattlesnake beer you bought during the Austin Studio Tour, embodies Austin’s essence. It is cool, quirky, and full of delightful surprises.
Bridging Commercial and Fine Art
I first met Jackson at an advertising event during SXSW 2023. I was immediately intrigued — she was one of a handful of women among a sea of male senior leaders.
Young, poised and stylish, with black and white hair and a custom Adidas jacket, she was someone I needed to know.
Born and raised in Austin, Jackson is one of those rare artists that’s able to bridge the worlds of commercial and fine art.
A talented multimedia artist and creative/art director, she fuses a diverse range of media and processes in her work. For example, she utilizes painting, textiles, sculpture, augmented reality and experimental film, in both digital and physical spaces.
Her unique art-forward perspective garnered the attention of big companies. Nike, Snapchat, Sony Pictures and Paramount have hired her to tell their stories.
Most recently, she’s had great success with Austin FC. Jackson’s work won Major League Soccer’s Marketing Team of the Year 2022 award. Her designs led the team to record-breaking merchandise and ticket sales in league history.
It also drew the attention of national and international news outlets.
But I wanted to know which projects she was most proud of.
“I’ve always wanted to launch footwear for a brand,” Jackson says. “It was really cool to be able to oversee the direction of our Austin FC x Adidas Samba shoe.”
Austin FC x Adidas
Launching the first Austin FC Samba shoe in collaboration with Adidas is one of Jackson’s career highlights.
The launch campaign featured several videos and imagery released over a period of time. It included teasers and a final hero piece that dropped the day the shoes went on sale.
The content is lively, resembling a recipe featuring distinct Austin elements: Q2 grass, Barton Springs water, a guitar pick, a grackle feather and an oak leaf.
These ingredients are gathered, cooked on the barbecue by sushi chef Yoshi Okai and served to a girls’ night out attended by iconic Austin musicians.
While soccer is still a male-dominated sport, it was important to Jackson that women were represented in the campaign.
“A lot of other teams don’t highlight women in the community,” Jackson says. “We had these three badass women musicians as customers in the restaurant.”
Authentically abstract, the Austin FC x Adidas campaign creatively explored “the making of the shoe” through an Austin-centric lens. It blended the city’s passion for food, the city and, naturally, Austin FC.
The result? The campaign was a huge success and the shoe sold out within minutes of hitting the stores.
Residency at the LINE Hotel
On the personal side, Jackson’s residency at the LINE Hotel in 2020 stands out.
She’d hit a point where she doubted her work. She had success exhibiting her work locally and nationally, but she believes she was suffering from imposter syndrome.
Jackson was constantly questioning herself. “Can I even do this right? Can I do my own personal work? Can I even show my own artwork?”
Her solution was to lock herself away in the LINE Hotel for two months — without distraction — to experiment, try new things and work.
It was a turning point for Jackson. It gave her increased confidence, freedom and a brand new body of work.
While the world hunkered down at home, Jackson created a new series of work titled, “Observations in a Time of Crisis.” She explored the themes of comfort and softness in those uncertain, unprecedented times.
Just as Austin began to reopen, so did her latest exhibition.
It featured a mix of still lifes and symbols told through painting, textiles and augmented reality. It was inspired by observations of downtown Austin during the height of the pandemic.
Jackson’s Creative Family
But where did it all begin? Who or what inspired Jackson’s journey?
Jackson hails from a family of accomplished artists and craftspeople. She was exposed to art and design at an early age.
Her grandfather was an incredible technical illustrator. Her grandmother was a seamstress. Her father was a musician as well as a landscape-artist-turned-marketer.
Most notably, Jackson’s aunt was a lucrative art director.
Seeing her aunt’s success as a commercial artist ignited a spark in Jackson. She realized she could make art and make a living. She didn’t need to be the classic depiction of a starving artist.
Jackson planned to attend art school and become an art director.
Saving Austin’s Creative Community
I wanted to hear Jackson’s perspective on Austin’s creative community and how to foster its prosperity amidst the city’s evolution.
“I think the community itself is incredible,” Jackson says. “There are really incredible people living and working in all different forms, from commercial art to fine art, craftspeople and everything in between.”
“My biggest fear with a growing city like this is making sure that people don’t get left behind.”
“Affordability is a big issue for artists living and working in Austin,” Jackson explains. “It would be great if there were more resources and grants available to artists and musicians.”
Austin’s culture is one of the biggest attractions for new residents. It helped the city grow quickly.
The rising cost of living, however, means it’s becoming a struggle for many creatives to stick around — and there’s no easy solution.
Austin FC Sets the Example
Jackson suggests that newcomers, especially big businesses, have a responsibility to support the creative culture. Austin FC is a great example of a business doing its part.
From the start, it made a conscious decision to include local talent and pay a decent wage. Jackson continued to advocate on behalf of local artists during her tenure at Austin FC.
She’s also excited to see more brand and artist collaborations, especially in this social media-dominant era. She believes brands are, in many ways, the new patrons of art.
The hope is for Austin brands to follow Austin FC’s lead. Jackson suggested businesses take responsibility and support local creatives — established and new artists alike.
Jackson Post-Austin FC
Jackson recently left Austin FC to embark on an exciting new journey. In June, she’ll launch a new a freelance creative studio.
Although she’s unsure what the future holds, she will continue to experiment, play and develop new processes. She’ll continue to move between physical, augmented and virtual realities to excite and entertain new audiences.