It was the largemouth bass staring up at him from his sink that first sparked Flynn’s creativity.
“I poured the espresso sediment from my French press into the kitchen area sink and two droplets landed earlier mentioned the drain. It seemed like a largemouth bass obtaining prepared to strike at its following food and designed me chuckle, so I took a photograph of it,” he recollects.
A month afterwards, Flynn deliberately drew a experience in his kitchen area sink sediment. It was the starting of what he would build into an original, proprietary artwork variety he phone calls SinkCoffiti. He’d later on trademark the name — the next time in his lifetime he legally claimed a new title.
“I was named immediately after my father, Robert James Flynn. My final identify was my nickname, which turned into my stage identify. I lawfully turned Flynn about six many years back,” he claims about his mononym.
Flynn, 60, is a Seattle musician who plays guitar, sings and writes and information new music when he’s not earning artwork in his sink.
Flynn may well be playful with his artwork, but he’s all enterprise when it will come to earning the best cup of espresso. He beverages what he brews, conserving only the dregs for his artwork. He commences by grinding beans with a burr grinder, which aficionados choose to a blade grinder for its regularity and precision. “I also look at the temperature of the drinking water and use preheated carafes and utensils to make the most secure cup of coffee I can,” he claims.
Just after brewing the coffee in a French push, Flynn decants it into a measuring cup and lets it rest for five minutes, making it possible for the sediment to slide to the base. At last, he very carefully pours the espresso into a mug until eventually he’s left with about a teaspoon of sediment — what he refers to as “coffee mud.” This mud is what he pours into his sink.
Flynn spreads the spoonful of sediment with a brush or spatula to sort rivulets and streaks that adhere to the stainless-metal surface area as the dampness evaporates. After it dries, he’s still left with a approximately 8-by-10-inch location he manipulates with toothpicks and other resources into patterns. He transforms these employing light, photography and filters into exceptional performs of art, from kaleidoscopic designs reminiscent of stained glass, to boldly textured abstracts — a Rorschach exam of mountain ranges, forests and crashing ocean waves.
It’s been five a long time due to the fact a random splotch of coffee sediment in his sink established Flynn on a path to develop art. Since then, he’s approached SinkCoffiti with a stability of deliberation and experimentation, welcoming the happy mishaps even though setting up on the knowledge he’s mastered by means of demo and mistake. Like the nuances of how moisture levels influence texture and designs. How enjoying with hue, distinction and cropping alterations the glimpse of a piece. And how various the way he pours mud into the sink sets the phase for a distinct graphic to arise — as essential to what follows as the first break in billiards.
In typical, he attempts to continue to be open and permit the medium to condition the end result.
“I normally say I thrust it along like a procuring cart with a broken front wheel. I can force it, but it is nevertheless gonna go where by it wants to go anyway,” he says.
Flynn uses a experienced camera and LED lights rigged around his sink to choose images of his SinkCoffiti, which he then uploads to his laptop. He introduced an Instagram account for his art in 2020 and sells prints by his web site, SinkCoffiti.com. Costs fluctuate by dimension and complexity of the artwork, ranging from $250 for an unframed, 16-by-24 print on acid-free of charge, good-artwork paper to above $1,000 for prints matted in a custom made body.
Valerie Perreault is an award-winning painter and printmaker whose do the job resides in non-public collections about the entire world. Dependent in Crucial Largo, Florida, she achieved Flynn numerous several years in the past when his spouse took him to just one of Perreault’s artwork exhibits. It’s not unusual for strangers to explain to Perreault about their personal artwork at her demonstrates. What’s rare, she suggests, is encountering a man or woman applying a medium in a exclusive way.
“Someone like Flynn, who has the coronary heart of an artist, is heading to pour his espresso grinds in the sink and see art in that. A whole lot of folks will just see that and believe, ‘Oh, that is fascinating,’ and permit it rinse down [the drain]. He’s found this seriously great, imaginative way of viewing anything that most people glance at in a standard working day and he’s taken it to the next amount,” she suggests. “I believe which is the indication of a accurate artist — that art is everywhere you go.”
Of his abstract parts, Perreault provides, “Something that I appreciate about the artwork, also, is you know the previous indicating that artwork is a mirror and you see in it what you are? His artwork is like that. Each man or woman can glance at it and see one thing distinct.”
A lens of possibility
“From my youngest recollections, I’ve been musical,” Flynn states. “I by no means thought of myself as a visual artist until just lately, although I’ve always observed artwork wherever I seem, in character and day to day objects.”
For the past two several years, Flynn’s been part of a private Facebook team for a global creating job introduced in reaction to the pandemic. His creating veers from whimsical to dim with an agility born of his songwriting techniques. It was there he initially shared a person of his SinkCoffiti models, a photo of Dave Grohl. At the time, his superstar portraits had been just for entertaining, with no conclusion target other than pleasure.
Flynn suggests he sights the earth by way of a lens of probability, embracing serendipity the similar way he leans into the rivulets and patterns that sort by probability in his artwork. His sense of adventure and willingness to seize possibilities have guided him from a young age, he states, landing him on Wall Avenue in the early 1980s, only a several several years out of significant school and dwelling in his house condition of New Jersey.
“I recognized early on I couldn’t depend solely on audio to assist myself. Then I saw a assistance required advertisement in the newspaper for high college grads who desired to operate on Wall Road. I didn’t know you could get a task there without a faculty diploma,” he says.
That ad considerably modified his lifetime. Within just times, Flynn was operating on Wall Avenue, in which he was ultimately presented a situation as a front-line professional clerk on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, a career he liked for nine years. Flynn followed his 16 rapidly-paced yrs in finance with five many years in authentic estate, prior to shifting gears and moving to Southeast Florida in 2004. He lived there in semiretirement — actively playing gigs in bars, recording tunes and teaching guitar — till yet another large transfer modified his everyday living when far more.
“Last 12 months, my spouse requested if I’d contemplate shifting to the Pacific Northwest. I’d under no circumstances believed about dwelling on the West Coast just before, but I was open up to the concept. In 6 months, I went from traveling to Washington for the first time, to falling in really like with it, to driving a pickup truck loaded with guitars across the region to dwell here,” he suggests.
“My spouse and I remaining Florida to escape the warmth, then we received to Seattle and it was 106 degrees,” he laughs.
Flynn has given that taken comprehensive edge of his surroundings, savoring the multitude of climbing trails, splendor of Puget Audio, and grandeur of mountains and open spaces he’d only previously encountered in his SinkCoffiti prints.
As for his art, he proceeds to experiment. From his vibrant parts to the unfiltered works he calls Uncooked SinkCoffiti, Flynn is never ever brief on tactics he desires to try.
At a time when so quite a few of us are emotion at the mercy of lousy news and uncertainty, there is a simple optimism to the act of subsequent one’s curiosity and reworking life’s dregs into artwork. It’s that approach of generation Flynn finds most worthwhile as an artist.
“My brain is going all the time, and it’s problematic,” he suggests. “But when I’m making art or new music, I can gradual down and take pleasure in myself. Those are the most tranquil times in my existence. And if what I’m earning delivers pleasure to persons, my function is carried out.”