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.
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.
1997: Birth of son Asher.

I graduated from college hoping to work with my hands. In 1987 I established my own business doing work with wood: post and beam barns, new house construction, renovations, additions, lots of kitchen cabinetry. Cabinet work led to the construction of a shop which is where I now make my woodblock prints.

My print-making career owes much to my carpentry 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 in many ways my printmaking apprenticeship. My materials are now pigments, wooden blocks and paper and 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 and getting down to work making something.

Matt at Sunapeeat the Sunapee 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.The use of water as a medium in art and writing, and a tradition of the disciplined use of the human body in the production of craft, may have a lot to do with why Japan hosts a strong tradition of printing with water.

A print by Harunobu, the first artist to introduce the multiple color block technique
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 print-making since January, 1993. Years spent working in the building trades after college (particularly cabinet-making) contributed a lot to the development of my printmaking. Self-taught in my printmaking, my pursuit in the first few years was mostly in isolation. Being able to spend time with Japanese prints, at home, with friends and neighbors who own prints, at museums, through books, was how I learned in those formative years. The development of the internet towards the end of the 1990's later helped immensely in opening for me opportunities to expand my knowledge and contacts, both technical and aesthetic (as well as in fostering a wider adoption of this esoteric printing method worldwide).  In my craft I feel grateful to the work and discoveries of generations of artists and craftsmen, many Japanese but not all. Finding Walter Phillips' book Technique of the Colour Woodcut was particularly helpful.



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