Portrait of an Artist

About John William Brown

I have been creating images ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil. Right from the very beginning, I was always experimenting with mixed media that included pastels, watercolors, oils, graphic printing, photography, writing, music, etc. If there was an avenue for expression, I wanted to use it. One of my earliest frustrations as a fine artist was the inability for me to produce what my imagination could conjure up in a timely and economic manner. I wanted to create. I wanted to do it good. I wanted to do it quickly without sacrificing quality. Then I wanted to reproduce it. I never found solace in the belief that artist have to starve or find another way of making a living. To me, there had to be a way that an artist could produce himself effectively, be cost efficient, and do it successfully.

In order to do this I needed to find a way in which I could reproduce my prints without having to invest the hundreds of dollars it would cost to create master four color offset plates for each and every design. In 1976 I had already invested into a complete color darkroom with the help of a high school friend, and began experimenting with photography and hand painted photos. I then began using a process called  ‘xerography’ (color xerox copying the photos) and hand painting the surfaces with watercolor paints. Because of the powdered pigments used in this process, the watercolor paints would blend nicely on the surface of the paper.  I would then re-photograph the image onto a slide and reproduce the images in my darkroom using the ‘cibachrome’ process.

In 1978, after back-packing across America, I decided to apply to Massachusetts College of Art. Since I skipped my ‘portfolio’ high school preparation classes, I had no idea how to effectively submit a portfolio for college acceptance. Since I was into everything from film making to fine art printing, and had already developed a non-conformist style using innovative, yet non-traditional techniques, my portfolio was more like a suitcase, rather than your traditional one page, 12 slides of ‘still-life drawings’. Oh how drab. Needless to say I received my portfolio back unopened and rejected. I then set forth to develop and market my work on my own through any and every avenue available to me and have never stopped since. This image entitled ‘Harbor” (above left), was first created in 1978. A few years ago I re-scanned it and now reproduce it digitally, some thirty years after it was first created.

And yes. It was an image in the portfolio.

Due to an extensive early career as a photographic technician in Boston, Massachusetts during the 1980’s and 90’s, I witnessed the digital revolution transform the photographic industry. Then the field of fine art. As an artist by nature I saw the potential for incorporating the subtle ‘impressionistic’ quality of a watercolor painting with that of the detailed photographic image.  By using digital imaging programs, like that of photoshop, I was able to effectively achieve this vision. Contributing to this artistic approach with the new technology during this time was the development of the Iris  printer by Iris Graphics in 1987 in Bedford, Massachusetts. An early developer of the technology in the fine art field wasGraham Nash, of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young . The sale of his collection in 1990 by Sotheby’s became an important milestone in establishing the market for fine-art photography. Proceeds of the sale funded charitable causes and provide the means for Nash to co-found Nash Editions, a digital fine-arts printmaking firm that used some of the most advanced scanning and printing equipment in early days. The company continues to operate today. This fine art process is also known as the Giclee print.

In 1996 I purchased my first computer and began to learn everything I could about digital imaging and writing computer language. A year later I published my first virtual gallery web site, SunSpirit Gallery.Com and created several collections while perfecting the photo/digital/art technique utilizing the latest materials and printing applications. In 2002 I began to apply these techniques to the Newburyport Cityscape collection.

At the risk of redundancy, however vital, here is a paragraph from my latest manuscript;

“I remember my last artistic venture in Boston during the summer of 1996. I had spent months developing a specific printing interaction of the brand new digital applications first introduced to me by my brother. It was similar to that being developed by Graham Nash of Nash Editions, and his Boston apprentice, Singer Editions, on ‘D’ Street, incorporating the first usages of the ‘giclee or iris’ printing method for fine art. I had done some watercolor painting and this was the effect I was looking for. A method that was to eventually go on and revolutionize the fine art printing field.

I created one of the first complete lines of greeting cards done without 4 color offset plates, introduced via my first web site at the Bayside Expo Gift Show in 1996. People who were familiar with conventional printing methods marveled at the revolutionary process, not only because of the product itself, but the financial implications as well.

For the first time in history, an artist had the opportunity to create quality fine art reproductions from electronic files and produce limited edition prints at a fraction of conventional cost, as well as obtaining many other valuable attributes, ………including infinite creativity. I believe all of these elements have still yet to be fully embraced.

Now, some thirty years after the first experimentation’s, the technique of combining creative digital imaging, painting, and detailed photography, used in conjunction with this printing process that produces subtle variations due to the interaction of specially developed ink and fine art watercolor paper, is now what I refer to as ‘Digital Impressionism’. What is most important to me is not the media, techniques, or methods used,..but the VISION. Its the same vision that exists for me today with using a computer, as it did thirty years ago without it. But now its different. The digital revolution has changed the rules. The ability now exists for an artist to produce their own designs AND quality reproductions at a fraction of the cost used in conventional methods no matter what media is used. For me, technology is used for creative purposes. The computer is as unlimited as the imagination itself. Combined with the internet and web site development, an artist, for the first time in history, whether or not they are a painter, a writer, a musician or whatever, has the capability to produce themselves in all phases of production, including MARKETING. This is a very significant step towards dismissing the ‘starving artist’ mentality adopted by traditional society, and paving the way for any creative individual to empower themselves at making a living at what they do best. Create.

About the Studio

The Spirit of Newburyport collection  features the exclusive limited edition Newburyport print series and gift products . It seeks to capture the essence and spirit of this quaint historic seaport. The synthesis of New England cityscape charm and contemporary fine art digital applications makes this extensive unique collection one of the first of its kind. It is an integration of the old with cutting edge digital design and printing technologies.

Located on the North Shore, Newburyport was first settled in 1635 as part of “Newberry Plantation,” now Newbury. It would be set off and incorporated as a town in 1764, and then as a city in 1851. Situated near the mouth of theMerrimack River, it was once a whaling,shipbuilding and shipping center, with an industry in silverware manufacture. The seaport declined after President Thomas Jefferson’s Embargo of 1807 and the War of 1812 (although a port forprivateering during it), which helped preserve Newburyport’s charming early appearance.

Originally from the northshore of Massachuetts, John spent the best part of fifteen years developing a certain technique that fused digital photography with painting, digital imaging, and printmaking. His motto is, ‘I’m an artist by nature and a photographer print-maker by trade”. He produced and worked on several projects incorporating this technique before moving to Newburyport in April of 2002. He then spent three years applying the technique to his first extensive cityscape editions which became the ‘Spirit of Newburyport’ print collection in which he debuted at local art shows during the summer of 2005. He then had his first gallery showing at ‘Off The Wall‘ in October followed by an appearance at the Newburyport Harvest Festival. He did several more shows during the holidays including a local city tour in the winter of 2006, and a presentation at the Newburyport Library entitled ‘Newburyport; An American Perspective” on creative sustainable communities featuring ‘Market Square Transformation’, a co-creative project with local teacher historian Theodore Kyrios.

The Spirit of Newburyport opened its first signature gallery on April 29, 2006 at 49 water Street during Newburyport’s first ArtWalk of the season. In August, Mayor John Moak purchased one of Jon’s designs, ‘Market Square Summer’, to present to Senator Ted Kennedy at the Yankee Homecoming presentation as a ‘gift’ from the city. In June of 2007, Jon was commissioned by the Essex Street Inn for the decor of its new ten room inn and business conference room addition. The Inn also uses Jon’s depiction of the Essex Street Inn on its own web site. In September, Jon was commissioned by the director of the Malden YMCA for a rendition of its brand new multi-million dollar facility. On April 23rd, 2016, John will be celebrating ten years in business as the Spirit of Newburyport during the first Newburyport Artwalk of the 2016 season, as he did ten years ago in 2006.

In his early days in Newburyport, John was a volunteer coordinator with the Newburyport Artwalk and helped to create and  produce its first web site at www.newburyportartwalk.com. He continues to work within community organization projects and was a core founding member of Transition Newburyport in 2009. He continues to lobby his visions for the ‘Cushing Wharf Village Marina‘ as part of on going preservation efforts of Newburyport waterfront developments, as well as his Inn Street Artisan Market proposal. A collaborative piece with retired Newburyport history teacher Ted Kyrios ‘Market Square Transformation’, was recently donated (2007) to the ‘Newburyport Preservation Trust’ and used for raising funds for its organized preservation efforts.

John continues to try and find ways in which his work can support not only himself and his family, but other sustainable community projects. One such project is the latest event to Yankee Homecoming, The Inn Street Artisans Revival 2016.

This event is now celebrating its 3rd annual event at the time of this writing. John feels the most satisfaction out of his latest collaborative project, The Artisans Revival. http://www.artisansrevival.org

The capturing, time spent with his son, and return to Boston during the Boston Winter Show to Market his ‘Tall Ship 2017’ line was a highlight of his career.

Please stay tuned for further postings regarding this event and developing business plan, or please contact Jon-William @ 978-417-1987, or write jon@spiritofnewburyport.com


The Artisans Market

nav_villageMajor Elements of the Inn Street Artisan Market and Merchant Community Garden
Inn Street Artisan Market

OLD PROPOSAL: The heart of the artisan market would consist of a collaborative gallery/production studio in the sub level space of Inn Street. An expansion of city licenses could create a set of push-carts and kiosk for the artisan cooperative to display their products outdoors along the perimeter of the courtyard, creating a small scale outdoor market setting. The location and setting would serve as prime retail for the artisan and craft market to draw the best talent in the area and serve as a destination point for downtown Newburyport. The unique back entrances and windows of the State Street retail business would benefit and compliment the sub-level art galleries and courtyard market


NEW PROPOSAL: Updated 1.8.19 Newburyport Artisan Village {Market} core located in Byron’s Courtyard, consisting of tiny artisan studios. i.e. Tracy Square 12-1 thru Jan 13 in conjunction with a Parks Department Initiative where proceeds are regenerated into the restoration of re-bricking, tree beds, and garden projects in specified courtyards.

REVISED March 23, 2019

The Core of the Artisans Market would consist of a MIX of Artisans Chalets, Kiosks, and tents.


Three Main Components of an Inn Street Artisans Market

  1. Artisan Merchants
  2. Community Gardens – Including Tree Bed and Brick Restorations
  3. Performing area

Merchant Community Garden

The Inn Street Artisan Market Proposal allows Newburyport the opportunity of designing and incorporating an Artisan Merchant Sponsored Community Garden by restoring its tree beds and expanding them into garden beds,  based on the principles of Permaculture. Rain barrels could also be incorporated into the tiny studio structures. This principle of gardening and greening could serve as a model for transforming a “brick and cement backdrop” (Palette) Inn Street into a garden like recreational/educational, and experiential area, designed to demonstrate the vital link between local sustainable ecology and local, co-creative arts based/culture economy.


Performing Arts Stage
The optional third component of the Artisan Market proposal includes a small-scaled ‘Inn Street Stage’ in the area that currently hosts performing art events during Yankee Homecoming festivities. This stage can be used to offer musical entertainment of local musicians, poetry recitals, readings, and theater performances on a co-ordinate schedule. The placement of the stage as well as the artisan pushcarts could be done in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce events during festivals and other organized events to include the market and contribute to entertainment and organizational venues.

Artisan Market

9-30-12 (Revised – 1-23-13)

Inn Street Artisan Market and Merchant Community Garden;

An idea whose time has come…

North Shore’s Art Throb (www.artthrob.com) publication employs diverse platforms, from traditional print to cutting-edge digital, in an effort to incubate a regional movement of sustainable communities invested in the arts, a local economy and cultural engagement.” – Art Throb Mission Statement

A sustainable creative economic movement that developed in SoWa Boston and Cambridge is now spreading to Salem and Beverly and the northshore. These projects beg the question; “It is time for these plans to be extended, enhanced and implemented into a Newburyport Artisan Market and community Garden within the proposed area of Inn Street? With the plans now being publicly revealed for the waterfront and frog pond, The Inn Street Market can be the next ‘jewel in the crown’ to be added.

Here’s the Vision…

Last August in its premier edition, ‘Art Throb’ magazine published an extensive interview with Salem’s Mayor, Kim Driscoll, that outlines the plans for an urban renewal and master art plan for downtown Salem, including the area of ‘Artist Row’ and the pedestrian walkway (similar to Inn Street). These plans have been in the works since 2010. Over $100,000.00 in grants from the National Endowment of the Arts (plus other

sources) has now been received for both Salem and Beverly (via Monserrat college of Art) for implementing such plans immediately.

The following are a collection of Internet links that are now being assembled for local dissemination in Newburyport to serve as a precedent to a foundation and blueprint to draft a formal proposal for the Inn Street Artisan Market and Merchant Community Garden Project in Newburyport.

If you have any interest in this project please forward the information to pertinent sources or contact one of the listed sources for informational exchange or direct personal participation in one of the upcoming meetings and or presentations that are currently being planned regarding this project.

For full articles please click on the following links;

Art Throb’s August Publication;


Salem Urban Renewal;

Project slated for 2013 completion including major art plan implementation to downtown and pedestrian walkway.


Salem News;


Montserart and Beverly receive funds for similar projects;




Greater Newburyport receives $20K in Cultural Council grants


Major Elements of the Artisan Market and Merchant Community Garden

The outline consists of three main elements evolving around a pushcart artisan market, a merchant community garden, and a performing art stage, with the main components dispersed around the Inn Street Courtyard. (The proposed vision would be similar to a cross between a small scale Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston and a Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls.)


Please see pictures of the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts here;


Inn Street Artisan Market

The heart of the artisan market would consist of a set of push-carts for artisans and crafts vendors available to the local region by expanding the current limit of three reserved licenses to eight or more creating a small scale outdoor market setting. (This could be expanded on an experimental basis). This would allow five additional pushcarts to be strategically placed within the confines of the proposed Inn Street pedestrian courtyard (Very similar to artist row of Salem and part of the master art plan for the Salem urban renewal project). The carts can all be designed to establish continuity that would best represent the ambiance and character of the environment. The licensing fees could be increased to serve as a major financial windfall to the city and maintenance upgrade to the area. The location and setting would serve as prime retail for the artisan and craft market to draw the best talent in the area and serve as a destination point for downtown Newburyport.

The logistics of how such a market could be conducted can be evaluated once the vision and plan is accepted for study and implementation.

Incorporation of surrounding retail outlets ‘TO the market’ would be an important contribution and element ‘OF the market’. Because of the unique layout and structure of the back exits of State Street Retail, these establishments could utilize the now UNDERUTILIZED and POSTER COVERED back entrances AND WINDOWS that empty out on the Inn Street courtyard. By granting licenses for the retail stores to set up tables and tents on the back entrances would enhance not only their exposure and sales but to the festive environment of the market to serve hand in hand. Bottom level Inn Street Courtyard business’ would also serve, compliment, and benefit from the expanded licenses and market courtyard. Local alleyways connecting Inn Street and State Street can also be presentational and artistically enhanced to serve as major pedestrian walkways connecting State and Inn Streets.

Merchant Community Garden

The Inn Street Artisan Market Proposal allows Newburyport the opportunity to not only incorporate the pedestrian walkway master art plans and design implementations that other cities have developed, but to enhance the movement one step further, by designing and incorporating a Merchant Sponsored Community Garden based on the principles of Permaculture. This principle of gardening and greening of Inn Street will serve perfectly as a palette and backdrop for such alternative landscape designs that are created and designed to be implemented into small-scale urban areas. By taking advantage of the layout, the area can be transformed into a garden like recreational area, designed to provide additional benches for sitting, creating a relaxed atmosphere within the market area itself.

Avoiding major re-construction cost, increasing a financial contribution, enhancing the area to better serve as a recreational space, implementing, and demonstrating the vital link between local sustainable ecology and economy, this vision of the Inn Street Artisan market has an opportunity to serve, expand and demonstrate as an alternative educational model for future movements to other urban city settings dedicated to a regional movement of sustainable communities invested in the arts, a local economy and cultural engagement .

What is a Perma-Garden?

Permaculture is revolution disguised as organic gardening.”- Graham Bell, from Permaculture – A Beginner’s Guide

“Permaculture is not organic gardening, and I am not a gardener. What I am is a permaculture practitioner who uses organic gardening, and many other tools, to design systems that work to water, feed, warm, house, and provide community, not to mention: make a garden.”

So if permaculture isn’t just gardening, then what is it?

Permaculture is not the rain that falls, nor the roof that collects it or the catchment systems that stores it. Permaculture design is the relationship between these things. Permaculture is the match maker, creating passionate love affairs between rain and plants, humans and animals, and ultimately achieving systems that produce enough natural resources to provide for their own maintenance and reproduction.



Vital Link between Ecology and Economics

Ecological And Economic Reality — The Relationship Between Ecology And Economicshttp://www.countercurrents.org/clugston230811.htm

Sustainable Economics



Performing Arts Stage

The third component of the Artisan Market proposal includes a small-scaled ‘Inn Street Stage’ in the area that currently hosts performing art events during Yankee Homecoming festivities. This stage can be used to offer musical entertainment of local musicians, poetry recitals, readings, and theater performances on a co-ordinate schedule. The placement of the stage as well as the artisan pushcarts could be done in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce events during festivals and other organized events to include the market and contribute to entertainment and organizational venues.


Exhibits and Presentations for the Inn Street Artisan Market;

By Jon-William Brown, proprietor and operator of the Inn Street Kiosk for the Spirit of Newburyport.

Public presentations of the Inn Street Market and Merchant Community Garden proposal and diorama (scaled 3-d Model) depicting the Inn Street ‘Burning Tea’ Artisans Market and Garden concept in Newburyport are currently being planned for the Newburyport Public Library.



Proposal Notes to be expanded on;

Inn Street (‘Burning Tea’ (Historical reference to the ‘reek of the burning teas’ in Market Square) Artisan Market and Perma Gardens)

* Utilization of Catwalk and Brick area for perma-cultured based flower, herb, medicinal and edible gardens, sponsored by local community and merchant participation.

* Creating and demonstrating VITAL ecological and economic community oriented re-vitalization and destination point for downtown Newburyport.

For more information please contact;

Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. ” Henry David Thoreau

If you would not like to receive any more information via this source, please reply with ‘remove’ as the subject, Thank You!

*Inn Street Artisan Market
and Merchant Community Garden Proposal

Below is a video of a 64th scale diorama model
created by Joe Cmar as a ‘Thanksgiving Gift’
for the Spirit of Newburyport.
Model is being used to depict and envision
an Inn Street Artisan Market
and Merchant Community Garden.

Press Release; ISAR Memorial Day


For Immediate Release;                                                       John Brown; Artisans Revival

May 13, 2018                                                                            978-417-1987



Inn Street Artisans Revival Memorial Day Spring Fest Art Show May26th, 2018

Approved by a unanimous city council vote and stepping out beyond the shadows of Yankee Homecoming, the Inn Street Artisans Revival will kick off its 2018 ‘independent season’ with a special ‘one day’ Memorial Day Spring Fest on Saturday, May 26th, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. An expanded schedule for several more shows will run through the remainder of the year.

The Artisans Revival Memorial Day show will feature over ten local talented artisans that will exhibit their wares from metal smiths to watercolor paintings and photographs. The season’s premier will open with return favorites Steve Perlmutter, Ryan Lonergan of Third Shift Fabrications, Amy Sciuto of ‘Amy’s Creations’, Plum Islander artist and co-chair of the Inn Street Artisans Revival, Sandra Turner, and the Artisans Revival founder John Brown of the Spirit of Newburyport.

The shows will also feature newcomers to the revival such as John Davis of Vermont Rocks, Kym O’Brien ‘Hidden Hearts’ hypetufa’s, and the Sea Glass Jewelry of Renee Vartabedian. Watercolorist David Ten-Ecyk will make a special presentation, along with Seaside Design’s Dave Valle.

The Inn Street Artisans Revival Memorial Day show will be the first of seven shows in an expanded 2018 schedule, including the next ‘Inn Street Artwalk’ on June 23rd and 24th.

The Inn Street Artisans will return to their roots to celebrate their special nine day extravaganza show during the 3rd annual Yankee Homecoming Inn Street Artisans Revival, which by the way, has incorporated the one day Market Square Craft day on Tuesday July 30th, 2018 under their umbrella of creative supervision.

In 2013, Newburyport became the nineteenth community in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to receive a ‘Cultural District’ designation. It is the Artisans Revival mission to raise awareness of the invaluable contributions to a co-creative city economy by utilizing local artisan small business.

You can get more information and see all the latest Artisans and show dates at the new Artisans Revival website at www.artisansrevival.org