By Jamie Lindsey
“Joplin is starting to become an art scene and I just want to be a part of it,” Zoey Butler, owner of Butler & Co. stated in an interview with Julie Joplin Media. She is a local female artist that is working hard to make her stamp on the growing arts district in Joplin, adding, “I want to be able say, ‘I was there when the Joplin art district took off.’”
Zoey started her business, Butler & Co. a little over a year ago, doing artwork and community pieces before, but without the name. “I was pushed into finally opening myself up into a business venture,” she said, describing how before the opening of her business she was doing more commissioned pieces like dog and family portraits. Butler & Co. wasn’t created as a way to make money but once the Covid pandemic turned into a lockdown, Zoey and her husband had a job change, and she leaned into murals. She redirected her company towards doing larger mural artwork for businesses and has been doing murals in the four-state area for about 7 months.
Where can you find some of Zoey’s artwork? “I’ve done one for the Joplin Football Youth Association and it is at the Joplin Middle School by Mercy Hospital. That was really fun and different.” (Pictured above)
Zoey has also done more personal pieces such as nurseries and bedrooms. “I’ve done a personal Lord of the Rings mural in somebody’s bedroom. It was the best time,” she said, laughing.
The City of Granby is updating the city, wanting to make it a bit more modern and hired her to work on a modern historic mural on one of the sides of their buildings.
“Right now Joplin Intermediate School is looking to revamp their building,” Zoey passionately mentioned. “They’ve moved recently and they reached out to me wanting artists around the area to do pro bono work to make the school a fun place for the kids who are kind of struggling. I have volunteered my time to do some mural work in their buildings so we can bring some colors to them.” Zoey said they are still looking for artists to do some cool graffiti work on their stairs.
Zoey further discusses, “I’ve put my feelers out for designers, anybody that knows how to use paint and a brush to come out and try to brighten up the school. They wanted the LGBTQ colors and the statue of liberty with her quote. They want the kids to know they are included and will have help getting through high school. They wanted it to be really inclusive.” If you are interested in doing work for the school, to contact Joplin Intermediate School.
Teachers are putting forth their own money for supplies and they would love anyone to volunteer their time.
Working with other artists on the school’s murals will be one of the first times Zoey has collaborated with other artists on large mural pieces. Before she started Butler & Co., she worked with her friends who were photographers and videographers while she was doing calligraphy work. Right now with her own company, she usually works by herself but is excited to work and collaborate with artists in the future.
Talking about the struggles she’s gone through with her business and art, her biggest, she said, was self-doubt. “During the pandemic, people really found themselves in art and got into their hobbies and crafts and everything looks so amazing,” she shares. “I would tend to compare myself, especially as a woman artist. I would feel like I’m not getting the amount of work done or getting the amount of recognition or that my stuft doesn’t look as cool as theirs.”
However, in the past year, Zoey has gotten a lot of support from her friends, family and her community. People were telling her how fantastic her work was or that she encouraged them to start new stuff. “Somebody has to start from somewhere,” she said.
Zoey’s message to new artists?
“You just have to do it. I have been doing art since I was three years old. It’s not just about making it a career,” she said. “You can have it as a hobby or a stress relief or use it therapeutically. It’s such a multifaceted environment for creativity and you just keep doing it. Do it every single day. Every single other day. Do it when it makes you happy and fulfilling. Don’t let people stop you just because you feel like it’s not going to amount to anything.”
If you want to get ahold of Zoey for any mural ideas, you can find her on Facebook at Butler & Co. or on Instagram @butler_and_co
Photos provided by Zoey Butler