About Matt Brown

2023: Best in Show award at Bruce Museum 42nd Annual Outdoor Art Festival (OCt. 7 & 8, 2023).
2020: In collaboration with Taryn Fisher began The New Leaf Gallery, originally based in Keene, NH.  A gallery specializing in contemporary hand-made prints and a DBA of the MBFA, LLC, The New Leaf Gallery is now based in Lyme, NH.

2017: Established Matt Brown Fine Art, LLC,  a gallery in downtown Lyme

1997: Birth of son Asher.

1993: Began making color prints using Japanese methods.

1995: Became state-juried member of the League of NH Craftsmen, established the printmaking business "Ooloo Press".

1992: Birth of son Nathaniel.

1990: Married Elizabeth Page.1981-1995: Worked as carpenter, cabinet-maker, and builder. 
1981: Graduated magna cum laude, Harvard College.
1958: Born in Boston, Mass.

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 carpentry. 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; my pursuit is with line, shape and color, but it feels I am still building things, following a process of visualizing, analyzing the thing into parts, and putting hand to tool to build, step-by-step.

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 tradition of 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 began around 1770.  It is likely the largest art production of a human society employing thousands of printers and carvers, hundreds of artists and designers, and the production of millions of prints.  It offers lots to emulate and learn from.


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 printmaking, I began my experiments working the craft of color woodblock printmaking using Japanese methods in January, 1993.  My teachers are trial and error, a study of prints and of books about prints, and fortuitous visits and conversations with other printmakers. I have learned a great deal from teaching.
I feel grateful to the work 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 hanga printmakers whose published books on the subject 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 hanga printmaking worldwide, and the friendship and guidance of Bill Paden, who learned from Cliff Karhu and lived and taught for years in NYC.

Matt Brown . . . . . . . 23 Washburn Hill Rd. Lyme, NH 03768 . . . . . . 603-306-6547. . . . . . matt@mbrownfa.com