Kathan Brown is an artist, writer, printer, and entrepreneur and the founder in 1962 of Crown Point Press, a Bay Area publishers of artists’ etchings. Brown’s initial publishing program focused on local artists—etchings by Richard Diebenkorn and Wayne Thiebaud were the first two projects she published. Artists began coming to Crown Point from New York in the early 1970s, and by the end of the decade Brown was inviting artists from around the world. The many artists who have developed projects at Crown Point include Chuck Close, Sol LeWitt, John Cage, Shahzia Sikander, Richard Tuttle, Kiki Smith, Peter Doig, Pat Steir, Laura Owens, and Fred Wilson. In the 1980s Brown added Asian woodcut techniques to Crown Point’s etching program and took American artists to Japan and China to work with printers in those countries.
The press has two active websites (www.crownpoint.com and www.Magical-Secrets.com) and operates a public gallery and two large private etching studios in San Francisco with a staff of ten. Each year five or six invited artists work at the press for two weeks at a time with the technical assistance of Brown’s printers. Kathan Brown is the author of six books, the most recent of which is Magical Secrets about Thinking Creatively: The Art of Etching and the Truth of Life (Crown Point/Prestel 2006). It deals with ideas about creativity that she has learned from working closely over four decades with some of the most influential visual artists of our time.