Colors In wood and metal.com
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.
Artist Darrin Butler
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