"As a retired architect, much of my subject matter comes from the built environment – buildings, signs, architectural details."


Mike Flynn is  the artist behind the prints at wood.paper.cloth.clay. He started making wood block prints four years ago, finally trying his hand at an art form that has interested him since college.  Upon moving to Austin last year and retiring after 35 plus years in architecture Mike has been able to dedicate himself to expanding and developing his skills.

"As a retired architect, much of my subject matter comes from the built environment – buildings, signs, architectural details.  I especially like older buildings, often abandoned, that retain character and detail in
their facades.", says the artist.  Mike has been finding Austin and the immediate environs to be a rich hunting ground for subject matter. 

Some of the artist's favorite printmakers are Francis Gearhart, William S. Rice, Gustave Baumann, J.J. Lankes and Willard Clark.  He also  likes the bold woodcuts in the graphic novels of Lynd Ward and Frans Masereel.


Wood block printing is very low tech - actually, almost no tech.  The images developed at wood.paper.clay.cloth. are hand drawn, and are transferred to the wood block using red carbon paper by tracing over the back of the image.  The blocks are carved using small hand carving tools.  The carving doesn’t need to be deep, just enough that the carved surface doesn’t touch the paper.  Ink is applied to the blocks with a roller or a brush.  The image is imprinted by placing the paper face down on the block and pressing the paper against the inked block using a flat disc shaped tool called a baren.  

However, this doesn't mean the process is simple.  Mike particularly enjoys the mental exercise that is required in the wood block print process.  The images developed for printing must be broken apart into color layers or components and then have to be carved on separate blocks.   To get a print to come out correctly, the alignment/registration of the blocks has to be perfect, and each of the blocks is carved in reverse of the intended final print.  As the blocks are carved, the process is actually carving away everything that is not going to be printed.  And when printing, if an image needs to be moved up on the paper, the paper needs to be moved down in relation to the block. The same opposite movement applies to moving the image left and right. 

Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.