Out of Simple Things - Q&A with Rodney Butler
Recycle. Reclaim. Upcycle. Repurpose. There are several words to describe the practice of reusing an object for another purpose and Houston artist, Rodney Butler, has become somewhat of an expert in “Green Art” as he calls it. In his artist’s statement, Rodney shares his philosophy on reclaiming the old for something new. "I take scraps of metal and/or mechanical parts deemed unusable by most standards and weld them into various artistic shapes, forms, figures, and concepts. I believe in whenever possible take materials that may have been otherwise discarded and transfer them into beautiful art. It's my way of recycling trash into artistic treasures". A sculptor, a painter, a mixed media artist, this Renaissance man received a BA in architecture from Tuskegee Institute in 1996 and continued his education through programs in welding, blacksmithing, oil painting, and computer animation.
Despite a very challenging year, Rodney has continued to create and explore his different media. He recently took a moment to sit down and answer some questions for us.
Q&A with Rodney Butler
How long have you participated as a Bayou City Art Festival? 4 years
How has the current global health threat impacted you and your art? My family and I
have been able to remain healthy. I have been able to use the time to work on more of my Series Work
How have you changed your creative process and sales process? My creative process production has increase but my sales process is kind of on hold.
Who is your favorite artist? God. I mean have you seen his work... It is beautiful...
Who and/or what inspires you? Life. It is full of things to create.
Describe your creative process in three words: Fun, Adventurous, and Cool
What are you currently working on? Two series - #Merica Series and The Real Women Exhibit
Are you the most creative in the morning or at night? At Night
Do you have any hobbies? Other Art forms like cooking, music, and comedy
What does the Bayou City Art Festival mean to you? It is not just a place to sell; it is like an Art family reunion where you get to see old family and meet to from all over the country.
What is your dream project? A large art installation in a public place or an exhibit that travels the world or at least the country.
What is the best piece of advice you have given or received? No artist is better than another we are all just different.
What is the hardest part of being an artist? Getting support from fair-weather friends and family.
What is the best thing about being an artist? Creating things that even amaze yourself.
What is the best part of the process when working on a new piece or project? Completing it.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be? Bored and probably unhappy...
What do you do when you are seeking inspiration? I do not really seek inspiration; it just kind of finds me.
What are you most proud of? My ability to make art that people like out of simple things.
Rodney's participation in the Bayou City Art Festival over the last four years has allowed me to get to know him and his unique personality. Typically donning his bibbed overalls, Rodney creates a welcoming booth for you to look at art and engage in happy, uplifting conversation with the man himself. I don't think I can count on one hand how many times I have seen Rodney grimace or frown. In fact, during the final day of the Memorial Park 2019 festival, the weather took and turn, and unfortunately, we got a bit of rain and wind. As I made my rounds to check on artists after the rain cleared, I noticed several puddles in or around artists' booths. When I got to Rodney's, however, he pointed at the pooling water and said he put his rubber duckies there to bring attention to it so that nobody stepped in it, potentially falling and hurting themselves. Simple enough, right? But, I don't think anyone else out there but Rodney Butler would think like to do this; to make the best out of an unfavorable situation with a smile and some colorful rubber duckies.