Local Artist's Work Featured on Mardi Gras Scratch-Off
One glimpse at the vibrant colors and movement depicted in New Orleans artist Darrin Butler's work, Let the Good Times Roll, and you are reminded of the essence of the Big Easy. That's why the Louisiana Lottery will ring in the carnival season by featuring Butler's stain painting on a $2 Mardi Gras scratch-off game with the same name.
Depicting a New Orleans second-line celebration, Butler's work was selected as the winner of the "Louisiana Joys, Arts, Zest and Zeal (LA JAZZ)" Visual Arts Competition sponsored by the Office of the Louisiana Lieutenant Governor (OLG) and the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism (DCRT) in cooperation with the Louisiana Lottery and the Greater Baton Rouge Area Arts Council. As the contest winner, Butler earned an artist fee for his work to be used in conjunction with a Lottery scratch-off game.
A self-taught artist with no formal training, Butler says he was humbled when he found out he won the state's art contest. "I used to paint automobiles and make coffee tables to sell at furniture stores or at different events like Jazz Fest and art shows. Eventually, I started combining the painting skills I learned onto canvas," he explained.
Butler has always been an artist, but never made his living as an artist until the age of 35. At that time, he quit his job, began painting and participating in art shows across the country full time. Since then, his craft has expanded. He no longer paints on canvas or uses paintbrushes. He now makes different color wood stains to stain wood, with each work taking about three to four months to create. Let The Good Times Roll along with other more recent works are all stain paintings on one solid piece of wood. "If you look very closely at the work on the scratch-off ticket, you will see where the paint flows along the wood grain pattern," he said.
"Let The Good Times Roll is a piece that symbolizes perserverance," explained Butler. "My wife and I were displaced after Katrina. Fortunately, we didn't lose my art tools and wood. But we did end up without a place to live."
Coincidentally, this experience inspired him to create his winning work. He added, "I could not let my situation dictate my life and livelihood. My art makes me a very happy person and I connect to the memories of my childhood in New Orleans. For me, being an artist is the true definition of freedom."
"We are honored for the opportunity to use Mr. Butler's Let the Good Times Roll artwork on a Mardi Gras themed scratch-off game. His work is filled with rich vibrant colors that should resonate with Lottery players and art lovers alike," noted Lottery President Rose Hudson.
Butler has played scratch-off games with the Louisiana Lottery and won small amounts in the past. "Just imagine winning money or learning of someone winning on a Lottery ticket you designed -- that's a great feeling. I feel like I have already won. I get to creatively express my love for a city that I still call home. . . New Orleans," shared Butler.
Sales of the Lottery scratch-off game Let the Good Times Roll began Dec. 17. The game features a top prize of $12,000 and overall odds of 1: 4.25 to win any prize. In addition to this $2 Mardi Gras-themed game, the Lottery launched Carnival Win, a $1 game with a $1,000 top prize and overall odds of 1: 4.46 to win any prize. To add even more fun to the excitement of the season, the Lottery will give away a chance to ride on a superfloat in the 2008 Krewe of Thor in Metairie.