Darrin Butler

Image courtesy of the artist.

Artist Statement

I was born in New Orleans, and was raised by my mom across the street from the St. Thomas Housing Projects. Growing up, I struggled in school with academics, but found that I excelled in music and the arts. In New Orleans, it’s easy to surround yourself with music and art of all kinds – whether it’s things that I learned in school, saw in museums and galleries, or would notice in the people and the space around me. It wasn’t until I was in my late thirties that I was diagnosed with dyslexia. Being dyslexic accounts for the way I look at things and am able to interpret things – words, shapes, and meaning. While dyslexia is considered a disability, I consider it a boost to my abilities, and feel blessed that I am able to see the world the way that I do.

I went to LSU and majored in Fine Art, and also went to Delgado and Louisiana Technical College, where I graduated in Auto Body Collision Repair. For many years, I worked on painting cars, but was continually thinking about ways to pursue a career as an artist. The natural first step for me was to combine my skills as an automobile painter and my love for art, which was integral in developing my skills and my style. In fact, this exploration led me to my signature technique of spraying automobile clear coat over my finished pieces: this helps to protect them from the elements and ensure that they last a lifetime. I have been working on my “Colors in Wood”, which involves a self-taught technique of painting involving the use of rags – not paintbrushes – to stain colors into the wood. This time-consuming process allows the wood grain to be the center of attraction because there are no brush strokes. I most recently mastered the skills of designing and creating artwork from metal using a plasma cutter. I weld and grind 2 layers of cut steel mounted on birch wood to give a 3 dimensional effect. I use automobile paint with my signature of spraying clear coat on the metal to protect it from ever rusting.

Each one of my pieces tells a story, and all of my stories are influenced by my New Orleans heritage. When you say that you are from New Orleans, it means many different things to different people. For me, New Orleans starts with growing up in the ‘hood and being in the marching band; it’s the Indians coming out on St. Joseph’s Day to battle; it’s the actual battles that happen around us every day; it’s the internal battles I’ve struggled with in order to be an artist. New Orleans is my home – from the brass bands and music that fills our streets, to the smiles of people in the street. There is diversity that lives here that doesn’t live in many other places. I strive for all of these things to be reflected in my work, and to continually bring my art to higher levels.

Commissions

Shell Oil Company
January 20,2015
Commissioned me to make 42 wooden puzzles set for executives

Local Attorney Steven Willard
March 16, 2014
Commissioned me to make 3D metal wall sculpture (48” x 48”) of a sea turtle swimming in oil from the BP oil spill

Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation
August 25, 2010
Commissioned by Foundation to design the official 2010 poster for the 5th annual La Fete Cultural celebration

Norfolk Festevents, Ltd.
June 20-22, 2008

Norfolk, VA
Commissioned by Norfolk Festevents Ltd. to design the official 2008 poster for the 19th Bayou Boogaloo Cajun Food Festival

Louisiana Department of Tourism Jazz Art Contest
December 17, 2007
Commissioned by the Louisiana Lottery Corp
Painting titled “Let The Good Times Roll”
Featured on a $2 Lottery Scratch Off Ticket

Judge Laurie White
November 12,2006
Commissioned me to design two end tables

Vespa of New Orleans Commission

October 7,2006
Custom painted Vespa for New Orleans Arts Council
Raised $25,0000 for the Louisiana Artworks Project

Super Bowl XXXVl Commission
January 15,2002
Commissioned by Super Bowl host committee to design forty tables for the NFL team owners as thank you gifts

Judge Edward Lombard
July 5,2001
Commissioned to do a custom painting for his office
Mignon Faget Ltd.
July 20, 2001
Commissioned by acclaimed artist/jewelry designer Mignon Faget to custom design a dining room table

Galleries

Rhino Gallery
Contemporary Crafts Co.
333 Canal Street, 3rd floor
New Orleans, La 70130
July 5, 2010 – Present

Jane & Friends Gallery
720 Julia Street
New Orleans, La 70130
August 6, 2005
White Linen Night

Maggie May’s Gallery
126 Main Street
Bay St Louis, Ms 39520
April 2004 – July 2005

Ariodante Contemporary Gallery
535 Julia Street
New Orleans, La 70130
May 2002 – August 2003

Awards

2013 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
Congo Square
Most Unique Work

2012/2013 and 2015
New Orleans Art Association
Pirates Alley Art Show
1st Place

2008 Fest For All Baton Rouge, LA
Individual award of distinction

2005 Smoky Hill River Festival Salina, KS
Individual award of merit

2004 Gasparilla Arts Festival Tampa,FL
Individual award of merit

2004 Three Rivers Art Festival Covington, LA
Individual award of merit

2001 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Most Unique Work Congo Square

Qualifications

Experienced full time artist for over fifteen years working in wood, glass bead making, metal, and canvas. I have extensive experience using tools such as saws, drill presses, and lathes. Experienced professional automotive painter and welder. Operating and programming of a CNC machine. Experience using BobCad-Cam Software, DXF files, Vector images, Photoshop, Corel Draw.

Extensive design knowledge, skills, and abilities

Design v-carving in wood
Water resistant design
Light gauge steel design
3D Metal wall sculpture
2D metal wall sculpture
Concrete design
Structural steel design
Custom coffee table design
3D milling design in wood

Educational knowledge, skills, and abilities

Program development for CNC
Development Of g-code
Using DXF files to emboss models
Computer knowledge, skills, and abilities
Windows, Microsoft
Visual  Art software
Bob Cad-Cam v23
Bob Cad-Cam v23 Art

Work History

Sewell Cadillac
701 Baronne Street
New Orleans, La 70113
1998-2000
Automobile Painter

Vespa New Orleans
901 Julia Street
New Orleans, La 70113
2003-2010
Paint and Body Work

Young Audiences of Louisiana
615 Baronne Street
Suite 201
New Orleans, La 70113
2010-2012
Art Teacher, after school program
Grades 3rd-8th

Education

John McDonogh Senior High
Class of 1985

Alcee Fortier Senior High
1982-1983

Louisiana State University Baton Rouge Campus
1985-1987
Graphic Design

Delgado Community College
1988-1990
Commercial Art

Louisiana Technical College
1996-1997
Automobile Collision Repair
Fabricate and Painting

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