I’m a MOTHA+FUCK+EN ART-ist: Art Talk with Arnold Butler
For many years we have admired the vibrant colors and unique representations of the feminine form that is the art of Arnold Butler. Arnold, a painter and photographer hailing from Atlanta, Georgia is a self-proclaimed MOTHA+FUCK+EN ART-ist. Poletry in Motion got the chance to catch up with the busy artist and new father. In this interview, Arnold talks the feminine form, creative expression, healing, and the spiritual value of art.
My name is Arnold Butler and I’m a MOTHA+FUCK+EN ART-ist.
You’re known as an autodidactic artist. When did you first discover that you wanted to create art?
I’ve always had a creative medium to release my emotions since I was a child. I always felt something deeper than what my language abilities at the time could articulate. I always felt that I could show one how I feel better than telling them so ART became a constant companion for me at a very early age.
Who or what were some of your early influences?
Honestly, I have many influences, but the root of my creative expression belongs to my father. He never taught me the mechanics of painting, however, he provided me the framework and disposition I possess currently as an ARTist. He never painted for societal or monetary approval. He painted to give his personal demons room to relieve themselves through artistic expression; and through that expression he was able to heal.
How do you describe your work to someone who hasn’t come across it before?
I simply state, “Instead of my ART wondering what the viewer thinks of them, I try to make the type of ART that makes the viewer wonder what my ART thinks of them.” I want my ART to inspire a conversation within your inner self.
What do you want the world to know about your art?
My ART is my spiritual livelihood and I value it more than money.
Lots of your work involves a female figure. What was your inspiration behind this?
I use the female form to describe difficult emotions. Whatever I feel inside, no matter how difficult, I use a feminine figure to convey that emotion. The ability to beautify difficult emotions helps me confront them, move past them, and heal.
You have a very distinct color palette, what goes into choosing these colors?
My color palette is pretty random and I simply use the colors that I have available. I never know what colors I’m going to use, I simply paint and keep painting until the colors start speaking to me in a organized manner. I get a particular feeling when I apply certain colors so I let that feeling guide my brush strokes until the painting is complete.
What are your favorite pieces you’ve created to date?
That’s too difficult to answer responsibly. Each painting has an individualized emotional connection to me that’s very specific in nature, thus meaning each painting occupies its own emotional space and it’s extremely hard to compare them.
What has been your biggest challenge as an artist? What have you done to overcome these challenges?
The main challenge I have is sharing my work because I create from a very private vantage point and I find it difficult to share my ART publicly. I have a very possessive nature when it comes to my ART and it hinders me from certain opportunities that could allow my ART to flourish globally.
From an artist’s perspective what are your thoughts on pole dance as an art form?
Anything that takes hard work, dedication, and elevates the spirit to a higher form of existence is the truest form of ART.
Complete the statement. I create because….
ART SAVED MY LIFE.