About Matt Brown

1958: Born in Boston, Mass.
1981: Graduated magna cum laude, Harvard College.
1981-1995: Worked as carpenter, cabinet-maker, and builder. Ran my own 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, LLC,  a gallery in downtown Lyme specializing in work made by residents of Lyme, NH & Thetford, VT.
2020: In collaboration with Taryn Fisher began The New Leaf Gallery,  a gallery specializing in contemporary hand-made prints and a DBA of the MBFA, LLC, based in Keene, NHj.

I graduated from college in 1981 hoping to work with my hands.  By 1986 I was in full gear, running my own building contracting business doing new house construction, renovations and additions, post and beam barns.  In 1987 I built a three-story shop where I completed kitchens and other cabinetry.  This is the building where I now make my woodblock prints.

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

My workspace for framing, shipping prints, and teaching classes is now in a space in downtown Lyme, an art gallery I own and operate called Matt Brown Fine Art, (1 Main St. Lyme, NH).  This gallery is in the former space of the Long River Studios, a local arts and crafts co-operative that had featured locally hand-made work since the early 1990's. Specializing in fine art, craft and books made by residents of Lyme, NH and Thetford, VT, past and present, in this gallery we also show and sell kabuki actor prints (yakusha-e) by Japan's most successful (in his lifetime) and prolific artist:  Utagawa Kunisada, aka Toyokuni III (1789 - 1865).

Matt at SunapeeSunapee Fair, August, 2013

About the Hanga Method

If you print with metal machinery, such as a printing press, you'll likely find it best to work with oil.  If you print with water, you are best off printing by hand, using a baren.  Having used water as a medium for art and writing for over 1000 years, and building on a strong tradition of a disciplined use of the human body in the production of craft, Japan hosts the world's strongest tradition of printmaking with colors, and with water.  The 100-year heyday of this ukiyo-e print industry which begins around 1770 is likely the largest art production of a human society: it employed thousands of printers and carvers, hundreds of artists and designers, and the production of millions of prints.

 

harunobu
kuniyoshi
orlik
A print by Harunobu, the  artist often credited with initiating the multiple color block technique in the 1760's.
Print by Kuniyoshi, friend and contemporary of Kunisada, showing a carver at work.
Print by Emil Orlik, of Czechoslavakia, showing a printer at work.

Self-taught in my own printmaking, I began my experiments working the craft of color woodblock printmaking using Japanese methods in January, 1993.  I have learned by trial and error, from studying prints, from books, from visits and conversations with other printmakers. I have learned a great deal 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 am deeply indebted to the work of David Bull, who over the last 40 years has worked wonders sharing aspects of this technique worldwide. 

Matt Brown . . . . . . . 23 Washburn Hill Rd. Lyme, NH 03768 . . . . . . 603-795-4619. . . . . . matt@mbrownfa.com