Geoff Butler

Artist Statement & Biography

My life as an artist is chock-full of perks.
One, I've been told, is that I don't work.
At least that's what my kids always say.
"Him? His head's in the clouds all day."

I must admit my mind does drift. 
If the truth be told, I rely on it
to stay in sync with the clouds floating by as ideas take shape in my dreamy mind's eye.

The grandeur of Nature. The human condition.
The corridors of power. War. Religion.
The near or far. The lowly or grand.
All are fair pickings for an artist's hand.

It is honest work, this art engagé,
though to my kids it looks like play.
Art comes to life with imagination
as one's life becomes an artistic creation.

 

I am a visual artist and writer.
I generally work in series or themes to better explore "the human condition" and often use humor, particularly satire, as part of my artistic arsenal.

My Art of War series of paintings in the 1980's dealt with war and militarism, and in the 1990s my Angel looks series was about spirituality.

 I wrote and published books on both series, Art of War: Painting it out of the picture (1990) and The Look of Angels: Angels in Art (2004),

My third series was called Canuckiana in which the surface imagery referred to things Canadian, and this naturally evolved into my next series, Global Village, in which I depict, in painterly terms, our increasing awareness of our place in the cosmos. In 2013 I published Our Own Little World in paintings and verse. This book is a compilation of both of these series, with accompanying text.

I have written and illustrated children's books: The Killick: A Newfoundland Story (1995) and The Hangashore (1998), and a book for adult children, With Every Breath We Take: a modern fable in which a snowflake helps put an end to a war (2007). I illustrated Ode to Newfoundland (lyrics by Sir Cavendish Boyle and music by Sir C. Hubert H. Parry, 2003) and Ode to Labrador (lyrics by Dr. Harry Paddon with extensive text by Robin McGrath).

My latest book is One Swallow Makes a Summer Meal: allegories in paintings and verse (2016). This features a collection of paintings done during "Paint the Town", an annual event sponsored by the Annapolis Region Community Arts Council.

I was born on Fogo island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and now live and work in Granville Ferry, Nova Scotia. I am an elected member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. My paintings are in the public collections of Acadia University, Annapolis Heritage Society, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Art Bank, Canada Council Art Bank, University College of Cape Breton, University of New Brunswick Art Centre, and the Toronto Public Library (Osborne Collection).

- Geoff Butler