Octogenarian Artists, Both UA Alumni, Present Fine Art

Sheila Wilensky
June 13, 2016

Sydney and Vince Flynn (Photo: Erica von Koerber)

Creating art has always been essential to Sydney and Vince Flynn, who will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on June 21.

As octogenarians, the Flynns have joined the online marketplace, launching FlynnArtwork.com in December, presenting their work, including acrylic, watercolor, mixed-media paintings, and pen and ink drawings.

The couple's collaboration began in 1956, when Sydney Flynn was the art editor and Vince Flynn was the fiction editor at the Arizona Kitty Kat, the now-defunct University of Arizona campus humor magazine. Sydney received her bachelor's degree in 1959 and master's in 1961, both in art, becoming the first female M.F.A. candidate. Vince earned his bachelor's in 1958 and a master's in education in 1974.

Vince was a self-taught artist, but he was always dabbling. "He was known as the real artist to our friends, who would wait to receive Christmas cards he designed every year, usually portraying the three wise men," Sydney said.

She wanted to become an illustrator. "My two very different interests were cartoons in the style of Hilary Knight and Ronald Searle, and dark scenes from mystery movies and horror stories," she said.

After Sydney completed her graduate degree, she worked as an illustrator at Hallmark Cards, drawing cartoon babies, Victorian children and long Searle-style women. Everything seemed to be leading toward a career as a cartoonist-illustrator.

Instead, in 1966, the Flynns married in San Francisco, where Sydney taught K-12 art and her husband taught English.

After decades of teaching in international schools, including those in Tokyo, Vienna, Madrid and Karachi, the couple settled in Tucson eight years ago.

But retired they are not. 

Both quickly got involved in local theater. As playwrights, they are active with the Tucson Alliance of Dramatic Artists, the Community Playhouse and Old Pueblo Playwrights.

One of Vince's plays will be presented at the upcoming OPP New Play Festival.

Whether sharing their writing or offering their artwork online, the Flynns agree that the benefits of an artistic lifestyle range from creating a painting to making someone happy to own it.  


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