David Buttram, a Cleveland artist and high school art teacher, recounts his childhood desire to draw cartoons and how art became his strength in school. He enrolled in Cooper School of Art, then CIA, and ultimately earned a Masters at Kent. He discusses how his thirteen-month tour of duty with the Marines in Vietnam influenced his work, his subsequent employment as a machinist, and his return to painting. The interview also focuses on characteristics of his paintings, which are mostly urban scenes, and he talks about how the images he painted twenty years ago are very different from the current images seen in Cleveland. Light, shadow and color are important to his work, he uses photography to capture images and then draws working sketch from photo.
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The first generations of African American artists who were active in the Cleveland region were showcased in the 1993 exhibition Yet Still We Rise: African American Artists in Cleveland 1930-1970. In 2005, a second exhibition was organized by Cleveland Artists Foundation (ARTneo). In addition to gallery shows, this exhibit – titled Each in Their Own Voice: African American Artists in Cleveland, 1970-2005 – documented subsequent generations of African American artists through oral history…