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 in 1981 hoping to work with my hands.  By 1985 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 numerous 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 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 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 one of the world's great artists:  Utagawa Kunisada, aka Toyokuni III (1789 - 1865).

Matt at SunapeeSunapee Fair, August, 2013

About the Hanga Method

If you are to print with metal machinery, such as a printing press, you are best off working with oil.  If you print with water, you are better off printing by hand, using a baren.  Having used water as their medium for art and writing, 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 printing with colors, and with water.


A print by Harunobu, the first artist most fully involved in 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

Self-taught in my printmaking, I began my experiments working the craft of color woodblock printmaking in January, 1993.  My learning has been self-taught, by trial and error.  I have learned from studying prints, I have learned from books, from visits and conversations with other printmakers, I have learned 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