About Matt Brown

About Matt Brown

1958: Born in Boston, Mass.
1981: Graduated magna cum laude, Harvard College.
1981-1995: Worked as carpenter, cabinet-maker, and builder, establishing the building company "Washburn Hill Woodworking".
1990: Married Elizabeth Page.
1992: Birth of son Nathaniel.
1993: Began making color prints using Japanese methods.
1995: Became state-juried member of the League of NH Craftsmen, set-up the printmaking business "Ooloo Press".
1997: Birth of son Asher.
2017: Established Matt Brown Fine Art, a gallery in downtown Lyme specializing in work made by residents of Lyme, NH & Thetford, VT.

I graduated from college hoping to work with my hands.  In 1987 I started a building contracting business specializing in new house construction, renovations and additions, post and beam barns and cabinetry. Work making kitchen cabinetry led to the construction of a shop which is where I now make my woodblock prints.

My printmaking career owes much to those years. Learning to work with wood, to line things up and judge by eye, to draw up plans and implement them into 3 dimensions: this was my printmaking apprenticeship. My materials are now pigments, carved woodblocks, and paper, my pursuit is with line, shape and color; but it still feels like the same process of visualizing something, analyzing it into parts and then putting hand to tool to make a thing.

My workspace for framing, shipping, and teaching classes has expanded into a space in downtown Lyme, an art gallery I own and operate called  Matt Brown Fine Art, 1 Main St. Lyme, NH.  This gallery, the former space of the Long River Studios, specializes in fine art, craft and books by residents of Lyme, NH and Thetford, VT, past and present.  The gallery also displays and sells kabuki actor prints (yakusha-e) by one of the world's great artists:  Utagawa Kunisada (1789 - 1865) that I collect and love to learn from and share. 

Matt at SunapeeSunapee Fair, August, 2013

About the Hanga Method

Oil goes well with metal machinery, such as a printing press. Water goes well with living things that depend on water, like wood, and our own bodies. So printing with water works best done by hand, using a baren.  Using water as a medium for their art and writing, and their strong tradition of a disciplined use of the human body in the production of craft, these may be reasons why Japan hosts the world's strongest tradition of printing with water.

A print by Harunobu, the artist who likely first fully developed work using the multiple color block technique in the 1760's
Print by Kuniyoshi, showing a carver at work
Print by Emil Orlik, of Czechoslavakia, showing a printer at work

I have been working the craft of color woodblock printmaking since January, 1993.  Self-taught in my printmaking, I have learned from trial and error, and a great deal from studying prints.  I have learned from books, from visits and conversations with other printmakers and from teaching.
I feel grateful to the work and discovery of generations of artists and craftsmen in the pursuit of this craft that I love, many Japanese but not all. Walter Phillips, Arthur Dow, Frank Morley Fletcher, Hiroshi Yoshida, these are some of the hanga printmakers whose published work I have found especially helpful.  I feel indebted to the work of David Bull, who has in the last 20 years done wonderful work sharing aspects of the technique worldwide. 

Matt Brown . . . . . . . 23 Washburn Hill Rd. Lyme, NH 03768 . . . . . . 603-795-4619. . . . . . ooloo@valley.net