Austin Cooper was born in Souris, Manitoba, Canada, the son of an Irish farmer. In 1896 the family moved to Cardiff where Cooper later studied at the local art school. He won a scholarship to the Allan Frazier Art College in Abroath; and later moved to London where he attended evening classes at the City and Guilds School. He returned to Canada and began a career as a commercial artist in Montreal, interrupted by war service in Flanders. In 1922 Cooper returned to London working as a poster artist for London Transport and other clients. He was principal of the London branch of the German Reimann School of Commercial and Industrial Art from 1936-40; this was the first commercial art school in the UK. Cooper returned to painting in the early 1940s and had his first one man exhibition at the London Gallery in 1948, in 1959 at the Galerie Craven in Paris and was a regular exhibitor at Gimpel Fils, London..