David Michael Butler


St. Louis native and Ohio-based Artist David Butler has situated himself within the figurative painting tradition. He attained his BFA at the Columbus College of Art and Design, and is inspired by the figurative works of traditional painters. Butler's work engages the visual essence of pop/urban culture, placing figures in environments and narratives to provoke dialogue on identity, and his life experiences. His recent focus is interpreting Pulp Fiction novels with text that speaks to multiple identities, and sub cultures.
Along with his visual arts background, Butler has maintained ten-year career as an educator, illustrator, and mural painter doing work for clients such as Price Waterhouse Cooper, Ithaca College, Soulo Theory Creative, National Association of Black Accountants, and Miami University Oxford, Ohio. He has illustrated three children’s books, and completed illustrations for multiple editorial publications. David currently works as an educator, and recently graduated from the The University of the Arts, for a MFA in Studio Art. He lives in Columbus, OH with his wife Erica.

Artist Statement:

David Michael Butler ( Born 1983, St. Louis. MO) makes paintings, drawings, installations, and films. By demonstrating the omnipresent lingering of a ‘dominant culture’, Butler touches various overlapping themes and strategies. Several reoccurring subject matters can be recognized, such as the relation with popular culture and media, social justice, working with repetition, provocation and the investigation of the process of expectations.

His paintings often refers to social issues, pop and mass culture. Using written and drawn symbols, a world where light-heartedness rules and where rules are undermined is created. By using popular themes such as social justice, sexuality, family structure, and violence, his works references post-colonial theory, issues of privilege, as well as the avant-garde as a form of resistance against the logic of Race, Privilege, and Capitalism.

His works demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the intersections of race, identity, and equality. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, constantly striving to breathe questions through the spaces between social constructs. His hope is to hope is to create work that it is used to challenge the status quo, and provoke dialogue. With the use of appropriated materials which are borrowed from a day-to-day context, he presents everyday objects as well as references to texts, paintings, media, and hip-hop culture. These honest images are juxtaposed with trivial and evocative objects. He creates situations in which everyday objects are altered or detached from their natural function. By applying specific combinations and certain manipulations, different functions and/or contexts are created. Some have said, his art is a loud bang and shoulder shake, to wake up and question what’s fallen as ordinary. His work is his voice, and he just wants to tell the story.  David currently lives and works in Columbus, OH.



Exhibitions / Awards

  • Forceful Perceptions Elijah Pierce Gallery, Columbus,OH Dec. 2014
  • Duets, Homeport Gallery, Columbus, OH July 2014
  • Femme Noir Exhibit: King Art Complex, Jan. 2013  Columbus, OH
  • SHINE Exhibit: King Art Complex, Dec. 2012 Columbus, OH
  • Rough House Exhibition in Gallery 224 Philadelphia, PA July 2012
  • See, Me and Remember Solo Exhibit: Ithaca College, October 2011

  • MFA: Work In Progress Show: Rosen wolf Gallery Philadelphia, PA August 2011

  • Illustration Showcase at Mary Ann Davis Gallery Cincinnati, OH - September 2009-October 2009

  • Mar Vine Gallery Joint Exhibition Columbus, OH- April 2007

  • “Dare to Be” Solo Exhibition at Center for Black Culture and Learning Oxford, OH September 2008

  • Grand Prize The Arts: Linking with the Community Art Affair Columbus, OH – January 2006

  • Grange Insurance Juried Art Competition- December 2006  (First Prize Winner)

  • Student Showcase Batellle Gallery Columbus, OH- May 2004, 2005, 2006

  • Solo Exhibition, Hip Hop Don’t Stop- Snaps n Taps Lounge Columbus, OH- October 2002

  • The Overture Awards Competition Columbus, OH November 2001

  • Loveland Arts Council Award Show Loveland, OH- November 2000