December Volunteer of the Month

Illustrator sketching at table in train car

Aidan O’Flynn

Aidan O’Flynn has been volunteering at 826 Valencia since 2006, mostly as a Sunday drop-in tutor and as an illustrator for storytelling and bookmaking field trips. He’s seen students grow up from grade school to college, and collected over 150 illustrated storybooks, but he’s still never seen Mr. Blue.

Volunteering at 826 keeps Aidan inspired for the rest of the week, when he works as a freelance artist and graphic designer. In a typical week, Aidan might be coding Javascript one day, standing up on a ladder painting preschool murals the next, and designing black metal album covers the day after that. Drawing for the kids keeps him ready for anything, while tutoring keeps him fresh on the basics: fractions, state capitals and expository paragraphs.

Raised in New England, Aidan was drawn to the Bay Area in 2005 by the literary and artistic culture, the spirit of innovation, and the social mission of organizations like 826. Illustrating at 826 helped give Aidan the impetus to study art more seriously, and he completed his MFA in 2011, and illustrated Volume 15 of the 826 Quarterly in 2012. He still finds few critics as instantly honest as a room full of eight-year-olds. Aidan continues to draw and paint every chance he gets, and he remains committed to using his graphic abilities to teach and inspire.

Some of Aidan’s art can be seen online at

To read about all of our featured volunteers, visit the Volunteer of the Month gallery.

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