September 27, 2023


Arts Eternal

Where coffee is king, meet the man transforming coffee dregs into art |

It was the largemouth bass staring up at him from his sink that initially sparked Flynn’s imagination.

“I poured the coffee sediment from my French press into the kitchen area sink and two droplets landed over the drain. It seemed like a largemouth bass having completely ready to strike at its subsequent food and made me chuckle, so I took a image of it,” he recalls.

A thirty day period afterwards, Flynn deliberately drew a experience in his kitchen sink sediment. It was the starting of what he would develop into an primary, proprietary artwork variety he phone calls SinkCoffiti. He’d afterwards trademark the identify — the next time in his life he legally claimed a new title.

“I was named soon after my dad, Robert James Flynn. My last name was my nickname, which turned into my stage identify. I lawfully turned Flynn about 6 several years back,” he claims about his mononym.

Flynn, 60, is a Seattle musician who plays guitar, sings and writes and data songs when he’s not producing artwork in his sink.

Espresso mud

Flynn may perhaps be playful with his artwork, but he’s all company when it arrives to generating the perfect cup of espresso. He drinks what he brews, preserving only the dregs for his artwork. He starts off by grinding beans with a burr grinder, which aficionados want to a blade grinder for its regularity and precision. “I also check the temperature of the water and use preheated carafes and utensils to make the most steady cup of coffee I can,” he says.

After brewing the coffee in a French press, Flynn decants it into a measuring cup and lets it rest for five minutes, allowing for the sediment to slide to the bottom. Lastly, he meticulously pours the coffee into a mug until eventually he’s remaining 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 variety rivulets and streaks that stick to the stainless-steel surface as the humidity evaporates. Just after it dries, he’s still left with a about 8-by-10-inch spot he manipulates with toothpicks and other equipment into patterns. He transforms these applying light-weight, pictures and filters into special operates of art, from kaleidoscopic styles reminiscent of stained glass, to boldly textured abstracts — a Rorschach check of mountain ranges, forests and crashing ocean waves.

Satisfied mishaps

It is been five a long time given that a random splotch of espresso sediment in his sink established Flynn on a path to develop artwork. Due to the fact then, he’s approached SinkCoffiti with a harmony of deliberation and experimentation, welcoming the delighted accidents while developing on the know-how he’s mastered by way of trial and error. Like the nuances of how moisture amounts affect texture and styles. How taking part in with hue, contrast and cropping improvements the appear of a piece. And how varying the way he pours mud into the sink sets the stage for a diverse image to emerge — as important to what follows as the initial split in billiards.

In common, he attempts to continue to be open up and permit the medium to form the final result.

“I often say I drive it alongside like a purchasing cart with a damaged front wheel. I can drive it, but it’s nevertheless gonna go exactly where it wishes to go in any case,” he says.

Flynn utilizes a qualified digital camera and LED lights rigged above his sink to choose images of his SinkCoffiti, which he then uploads to his computer system. He released an Instagram account for his art in 2020 and sells prints via his web-site, Prices range by sizing and complexity of the artwork, ranging from $250 for an unframed, 16-by-24 print on acid-no cost, fine-art paper to about $1,000 for prints matted in a personalized frame.

Valerie Perreault is an award-profitable painter and printmaker whose do the job resides in private collections about the earth. Based mostly in Crucial Largo, Fla., she fulfilled Flynn several years back when his spouse took him to just one of Perreault’s art demonstrates. It’s not uncommon for strangers to notify Perreault about their own artwork at her demonstrates. What is unusual, she states, is encountering a human being working with a medium in a one of a kind way.

“Someone like Flynn, who has the coronary heart of an artist, is going to pour his espresso grinds in the sink and see art in that. A great deal of folks will just see that and believe, ‘Oh, that’s fascinating,’ and allow it rinse down (the drain). He’s identified this actually awesome, imaginative way of viewing some thing that most individuals appear at in a normal day and he’s taken it to the next stage,” she suggests. “I think that’s the sign of a true artist — that art is almost everywhere.”

Of his abstract pieces, Perreault provides, “Something that I really like about the artwork, also, is you know the aged indicating that art is a mirror and you see in it what you are? His artwork is like that. Every single particular person can look at it and see something diverse.”

A lens of chance

“From my youngest memories, I have been musical,” Flynn says. “I by no means assumed of myself as a visual artist until a short while ago, although I’ve normally noticed art anywhere I appear, in character and daily objects.”

For the earlier two years, Flynn’s been element of a private Fb team for a worldwide composing challenge released in response to the pandemic. His producing veers from whimsical to dim with an agility born of his songwriting abilities. It was there he 1st shared just one of his SinkCoffiti layouts, a photograph of the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl. At the time, his superstar portraits were being just for pleasurable, with no stop intention other than pleasure.

Flynn suggests he views the planet as a result of a lens of possibility, embracing serendipity the same way he leans into the rivulets and designs that kind by probability in his art. His perception of adventure and willingness to seize options have guided him from a youthful age, he claims, landing him on Wall Road in the early 1980s, only a couple years out of superior school and dwelling in his residence state of New Jersey.

“I understood early on I couldn’t rely exclusively on new music to aid myself. Then I observed a support preferred advertisement in the newspaper for higher university grads who wanted to function on Wall Street. I didn’t know you could get a work there with out a college or university diploma,” he suggests.

That advert significantly improved his everyday living. Within times, Flynn was working on Wall Road, the place he was ultimately offered a position as a entrance-line professional clerk on the trading floor of the New York Inventory Trade, a occupation he cherished for 9 yrs. Flynn adopted his 16 quick-paced yrs in finance with 5 years in true estate, right before shifting gears and moving to Southeast Florida in 2004. He lived there in semiretirement — actively playing gigs in bars, recording new music and instructing guitar — right until another big shift modified his daily life at the time a lot more.


“Last calendar year, my wife asked if I’d take into account going to the Pacific Northwest. I’d never ever believed about residing on the West Coast right before, but I was open up to the concept. In six months, I went from checking out Washington for the very first time, to slipping in really like with it, to driving a pickup truck loaded with guitars throughout the nation to live in this article,” he suggests.

“My spouse and I still left Florida to escape the heat, then we got to Seattle and it was 106 degrees,” he claims with a chuckle.

Flynn has because taken total benefit of his surroundings, savoring the multitude of hiking trails, the attractiveness of Puget Seem and the grandeur of mountains and open up areas he’d only beforehand encountered in his SinkCoffiti prints.

As for his artwork, he carries on to experiment. From his vibrant pieces to the unfiltered will work he calls Raw SinkCoffiti, Flynn is never ever quick on tactics he wishes to consider.

At a time when so many of us are emotion at the mercy of negative news and uncertainty, there’s a basic optimism to the act of subsequent one’s curiosity and reworking life’s dregs into art. It is that method of development Flynn finds most worthwhile as an artist.

“My brain is likely all the time, and it is problematic,” he says. “But when I’m generating artwork or music, I can gradual down and take pleasure in myself. Those are the most tranquil times in my lifestyle. And if what I’m producing provides happiness to folks, my operate is accomplished.”