Chris Flynn is an artist, printmaker and drummer from Chicago who earned an Interdisciplinary MFA from Columbia College Chicago in 2017. Since earning his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999, Flynn has been the Master Printer for Anchor Graphics, collaborating with an extensive range of artists and teaching printmaking to students of all ages and experience. Flynn is interested in hybrid forms of traditional and contemporary techniques. From a background in drawing and etching, he began working with digital imaging and sound art to expand the sense of time within his work. Flynn makes many of his prints utilizing the 19th century etching process of copperplate photogravure. His recent efforts in the craft of paper-making have also had a profound influence on his sense of materiality and sculptural form; Now drawing with paper, as well as on paper. Chris Flynn currently works as Instructional Staff and collaborator in the Printmaking, Papermaking and Book Arts studios in the Art & Art History department at Columbia College Chicago.
To view more of Chris’s prints, drawings and paper works, visit https;//www.cflynnprints.com
TEACHER FEATURE: a Q & A with Chris Flynn
How long have you been at CPC?
The Photopolymer Etching class will be my third time teaching with CPC. The first was Stone Lithography in the summer of 2016, and last spring we had a fast 2-day workshop on Photopolymer. I’m looking for- ward to expanding on this material for the Fall class!
Why do you make art?
My favorite answer is simply that I insist. Making images and playing music is both how I keep my bearings in the world, and how I escape it. Art is an amazing and necessary thing.
How do teaching and printmaking play a part in your studio practice?
It’s always exciting to troubleshoot ideas that you might never have thought of in the first place. When you’re working with a diverse range of artists in printmaking as a collaborator, printer or a teacher, you’re always learning. Every project, every student and every artist will have some new challenge for you to figure out. The bonus is that every bit of it stays in your tool box. I’m always noticing nuances in my own work, both technical and visual, that must have come from the varied sensibilities of the artists and students with whom I’ve worked with over the years. As well, in teaching I get to feeling like a sort of print-geek medium between all of these artists – using the creative tricks that I learned from working with one person to help another find a voice or discover a technique of their own. It all builds into an interesting, organic pile of useful information.
What other media do you enjoy working in?
Papermaking, drumming, drawing, sound and sculpture.
Cool stuff coming up?
Work in an exhibit at The St. Louis Artists Guild through September 15:
More to come. Proposals in the works… Wish me luck 😉
What has been your most embarrassing teacher moment at CPC?
Unless my conscious mind blocked it out, I think that moment has yet to happen. We shall see…
What direction are you planning to go in the coming year with your work?
I’m working on some new images that I hope will become more sculptural prints, and some new rhythms and noises for sound works. I hope to expand on a couple of prototypes I made recently, in which the sculptural paper objects are also speakers for multi-channel sound works.
What book are you reading currently?
Unnatural Creatures: Stories selected by Neil Gaiman
What is your favorite non-art distraction?
Dogs and cats
Who are three artists (dead or alive) who inspire you?
Kiki Smith, Pawel Althamer, Tomas Saraceno
Who is your favorite printmaker?
John Cage (with much admiration for all of the awesome printers who made it happen)
In your past life, you were a______.
Must have been a few in between, but I lost them.
Are you more a hunter, or a gatherer?
A gatherer, at least since the pterodactyl days.
What was the last gift you gave someone?
What color are you in the crayon box?
Always loved the gray-blue.
Describe the color violet to someone who is blind.
Tastes like a mint basil leaf, feels like cool flowing water, smells like lavender and sounds like a cello.
Favorite teaching moment?
My favorite teaching moments happen at the turning point in every class or project when I start to notice the students internalizing the material in a way that teaches them to teach themselves. They start to figure out which experiments might lead them to which outcomes. Ideas get more ambitious. Their work becomes more personal and everything gets more exciting with practice.
Check out other TEACHER FEATURE interviews with CPC faculty HERE