The Greenbrier Valley's #1 Source for Food, Music, Shopping, Theatre, and Events!

WV Artist on Display: Michael Steven Flynn Creates “Outsider Art”


Today in our newspaper world, we feature Michael Steven Flynn, a ##WV artist! Check out his work at Bloomfield Richwood Fine Art & Objects.

♬ Plastic Beach (feat. Mick Jones and Paul Simonon) – Gorillaz

Meet Michael Steven Flynn, WV Artist on Display this month and his work is currently being exhibited at Bloomfield Richwood Fine Art & Objects. Flynn was born in Nicholas County, WV in 1961, and presently resides in Craigsville. He is a self-taught artist and creates outsider art by combining life influences and events that formulate in his mind. He retired after 37 years as an Emergency Medical Technician on private ambulance services.  His craving for art was invoked at a grade school age when asked to do a project for 4-H Club. Flynn tells us this desire for creation has never left and has taught him to not fear criticism. Learn more about Flynn with our Q&A:

“My art basically reflects my life experiences.”

Q. Describe your art.

A. My art basically reflects my life experiences. I worked as an EMT for 37 years and had to find an outlet. I like to use bright colors and paint with raw emotions. I like my artwork and I am satisfied with it but each day I strive to be better. I have been painting for 40 years. I feel my work is getting better and stronger. It has taken years to get to this point. There are times still today that I feel I have painted a painting that is poor, but that’s okay. I can put it aside and go back to it at a later time. I will find something in the painting to work with.

Q. How do you describe your palette?

A. Bright colors, yellow, red, oranges and lots of white. Also, I use primitive colors as well.

Q. What inspired you to become an artist?

A. I always liked artwork and I continually wanted to paint. I was always afraid to paint, but one day I just started and went with it. Painting has become an emotional outlet for me.

“Bloomfield Richwood Art Galley gave me a feeling of accomplishment by offering me a one-man show.”

Q. What is your greatest accomplishment?

A. I have a lot of highlights in my life and my most important is realizing God is in control of everything in my life. Another highlight is getting to photograph Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford, two baseball legends, who were guests at the Charleston Charlies’ Baseball Club. Also, the opportunity to photograph the first parachute jumpers at The New River Gorge Bridge in 1980. Bloomfield Richwood Art Galley gave me a feeling of accomplishment by offering me a one-man show. Every day is a highlight to me.

Q. What obstacles do you need to overcome to find your creative space/muse?

A. The only obstacle I have is time. I paint almost every day, but it just seems like I need more time. You can only paint so many hours a day.

“My advice to other artists is to remain true to yourself regardless of criticism.”

Q. How do you find your inspiration?

A. Experiences that I have been thru in my life and work experience, and some are dreams and some are thoughts. I keep a spiral notebook by my bed so I can wake up and write down my dreams so I can try to relive them and make them a reality.

Q. What advice do you have for other artists?

A. My advice to other artists is to remain true to yourself regardless of criticism. Do not be afraid to be different and go beyond the definitions of art. When you get criticism and rejection just think of it as someone paying attention to your work – paint to please yourself. If I don’t sell a painting, then I will hang it in my house. If you want to do artwork there will be days when you want to give up – don’t give up – there will be days when you want to quit but don’t. Regardless of what the art looks like be humble, and don’t worry about other artists. It’s easy to get sidetracked but stay focused on you, and you will eventually find your art. If you can – try to put a little red in your paintings. Start noticing signs and advertising in magazines, etc., most all of them have red in them. The red catches the eye of the viewer. A sign painter taught me that.

Also, you need to try to find the medium that you like to work in, either acrylic, oils or watercolors. Try to do a standard canvas like a 16×20 or 11×14, etc., and the reason for this would be if the painting is not framed- the buyer can easily afford a frame. Custom frames are more expensive. If you do frame the painting – do a good job on the framing. Some customers like ready to hang art. Another thing to do is to learn about texture and techniques. You can go to YouTube and find a lot of good artists there that can teach you. There are occasions where I go on YouTube myself.

“One thing you always need to remember is you do not have to have a 4-year degree in art to paint.”

One thing you always need to remember is you do not have to have a 4-year degree in art to paint. You must have the urge and wiliness. I know people who have a 4-year degree in art, and they do not touch a paint brush. No one is going to teach you how to paint it’s up to you to learn yourself. If you have someone – if you have a friend, go to them and they will give you constructive criticism and that is what you need. Always remember not everyone is going to like your art, but eventually you will find a place for your artwork.

Q. What is your favorite piece(s) you’ve made and why?

A. Mooney’s Room~ because I just like it – I like the color of it.   

Conversation~ Conversation visually reflects my thoughts as I was painting it. I have thousands of thoughts and that day I just painted them.

Q. How can our readers purchase your art?

A. People who are interested in purchasing my art can contact Bloomfield Richwood Art Gallery, located at 17 E. Main St. Richwood, WV 26261. They have my art on display until October 31, 2021.

Q. What is the best way for our readers to contact you?

A. The best way to reach me is email at or call me at 304-618-9223

Q. What project(s) are you currently working on?

A. Glad you asked! I am working on a new series of paintings and sculptures. It will be approximately 12- 15 pieces of art. I am confident that someone will display them.

– HashtagWV #136. Become a Patron!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Website | + posts

HashtagWV Art & Entertainment is a high-quality print and digital multimedia platform for all things West Virginia and the greater Appalachian region. The editorial focus is local music, unique shopping, the arts, events, theatre, and food and drinks.