The Stuart Jackson Gallery opened in the mid-1970s and is nestled under a hair studio called Fiorio in Yorkville. Carol Dorman has been working along Stuart Jackson for 11 years in January of 2009.
“What we carry is unique and it is special in that way,” says Dorman. “There is no other gallery in Canada that we know of that exclusively specializes in Japanese prints.”
People ask Dorman what her favourite print is and it is really hard for her to say. Due to the fact that they are all antique they are in their different conditions. There is one that was done in the mid-1800s and that stands out for the beauty of the condition and was done in 1859. It is a head and shoulder shot of a woman holding some beans, like soya beans.
“She is leaning on a counter and holding some beans,” says Dorman. “I got interested because I was student of anthropology and I’m interested in the ones that show me about life at the time.”
The prints that we carry are from the 18th and 19th century. When Dorman sees prints that show her something really interesting about the period, she likes those prints too.
Dorman likes working at the gallery because it gives a chance for her to tell people about the artwork.
“This is not the type of artwork that is usually taught in art classes,” Dorman says. “A lot of people do come in and really like it.”
A lot of dealers that would sell this type of art would do it privately, however having a gallery gives people a chance to come in without any pressure to buy.
In terms of décor and fitting this type of artwork into your home, some of them are quite suitable to a Japanese design in furniture at your home. Many of the prints include landscapes and nature scenes that can work in any type of décor. For the antiques…there are things that are under $100 and one thing over a $100,000, however there is quite a range in prices.
“There is a lot of nice stuff that is really affordable for the average art collector,” Dorman says.
Dorman started as a collector when she was in university and bought her first print. She was a student at the University of Toronto when she bought it. Dorman bought her first print from the Stuart Jackson Gallery, however they did not become friends until the 1990s.
She was buying prints for seven years before she even knew Jackson and started working there in 1998. Jackson and his wife were running the shop before Dorman came. Jackson took out a license as a dealer in 1972. The intent was prior to that and using his own name for the gallery happened in 1975. His wife passed away in the 1990 and he ran the gallery on his own for many years.
“My wife and I were interested in getting into the arts and thought about it and it evolved into exclusively Japanese prints,” Jackson says. “It was kind of a hobby that went berserk.”
The concept of the Stuart Jackson Gallery began when he was in university and bought his first print. He got jobs in various museums and that slowed down the development of opening the gallery.
Jackson says a lot of people do not hang the prints, they just buy them to have them.
“We get two very distinct type of customers,” says Dorman and Jackson. “We have the home decorators that hang them on their walls, and the serious collectors. The concept of possession…” as Jackson closes off.
Dorman says she collects many of them of things she likes. Jackson’s collection was almost exclusively landscapes and sold off some of them. As it has been rebuilt it has become more eclectic for Jackson.
“Either really nice or really rare,” says Dorman.
Dorman says she likes some that are old and they are antiques and they are in really good condition.
“The one I was talking about looks as though it could have been yesterday,” Dorman says.
Jackson is interested in the beauty and the interplay of line and colour. Dorman loves the beauty of the art and showing the life of 18th and 19th century Japan and what she learns about the people. Jackson is interested in the poety and Dorman is interested in the story.
To find out what might interest you about the Japanese prints at Stuart Jackson Gallery, you can visit them 108A Cumberland St., lower level in Yorkville. They are also on the web at: http://www.jacksonarts.com.