St. Louis native and Ohio-based artist David Butler has situated himself within the figurative painting tradition. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from Columbus College of Art & Design and a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Butler’s approach to his creative work is inspired by the figurative works of traditional narrative painters. His artworks are focused around the visual essence of Black beauty and culture, telling Black stories and showcasing Black existence as a form of power. After spending the previous three years centering Black women in his work, Butler has more recently shifted to making paintings, drawings, installations, and time-based works exploring notions around the beauty of Black men and their relationships to intimacy, their bodies, and the social construction of masculinity, works which include overlapping themes and references to popular culture, politics, and social justice.

In addition to his personal creative works in the visual arts, Butler has maintained a 20-plus-year career as an educator, illustrator, and muralist, working for such clients as Procter & Gamble, Google, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the Cincinnati Music Festival. Butler has illustrated three children’s books and completed illustrations for multiple editorial publications. Prior to joining CCAD’s faculty, Butler taught at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He lives in Columbus with his wife, Erica, and children Dea and Emory.