Meet the Others: Joshua Butler
The Game Changers. The Rule Breakers. The Innovators. Discover some of the fantastic emerging talent showcasing their work at The Other Art Fair.
Introducing Sydney-based artist Joshua Bollback Butler. His early years were spent on the family dairy farm in McDonald Valley, playing amongst the colour and noise of his natural surroundings. Now, from his Enmore loft studio, Joshua is a storyteller, creating rich tapestries of flora and fauna, woven together to give viewers a window into his soul.
“Nature was everything to me. She was my ultimate plaything and who I spent most of my childhood with.”
Tell us about who you are and what you do. What’s your background?
I’m a new medium artist with an Art Novae and medieval stain-glass style who’s now based in Sydney. My art colours stories on the wood’s tangled face with Luminance wax pencils creating flora and fauna filled tapestries. Combining both Nature’s and my own story into one. Growing up in a pioneering missionary family of seven on an outback dairy farm, Nature was everything to me. She was my ultimate plaything and who I spent most of my childhood with.
Where do you draw inspiration from and what does your work aim to say?
I draw inspiration from Ngurambang (‘my homeland’ — Australia) with its myriads of flora and fauna. These delights of Nature, along with the First Nation peoples’ wisdom, mixed with my own heart-sight of country and childhood memories share the story. Through my work I aim to share Ngurambang story and engage people to see her with fresh insight.
Can you walk us through your process for creating a work?
Sure. First off an idea or story grabs my heart as I’m musing in Nature, times of past reflections or present-day walks. Then it begins. I’ll sketch a few rough drafts in my art journal and write the key elements of the story that Nature is speaking to me. Then with this idea drawing, I head to the timber yard and spend time choosing the wood that goes with my drawing. Once chosen I’ll sketch, in pencil, the design and move with the wood’s tangled grain to create a crafted story of us both. After this, I’ll finish writing the story shared. Then the following days I’ll pen the pencil lines in and then fill the spaces with the colour of the luminant wax pencils. Highlighting the key elements of the story using dark and light colours.
Who are your biggest influences and why?
Dr. Seuss, whose unique style of composing imagination and reality together, shares stories that touch both children and adults alike.
Hieronymus Bosch in the way he shared the ideas that were spoken and written in evocative artworks that played with mystic ideas and distortion of reality.
Tim Burton with his masterful storytelling and enchanting imagery.
Lilias Trotter an artist and missionary to Algeria who saw Nature with ‘heart-sight’ and gleaned deep stories that she painted and shared.
What can people expect from you next? Do you have any exciting projects/opportunities coming up?
Oh yes! I’ll be showing my work at The Other Art Fair at The Cutaway at Barangaroo, Sydney later this year.
Can you tell us something about yourself people might be surprised to hear?
I also play the panflutes and rollerblade too.
Shop artwork by Joshua and other trailblazing artists at The Other Art Fair’s Online Studios.
Introducing The Other Art Fair Online Studios, a new online platform offering art lovers around the world access to over 800 Fair artists. The Online Studios will keep our community feeling inspired, engaged, and continue to spread joy through art.