Flawless precision- framing by Minagawa Art Lines
IT IS ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO COLLABORATE WITH MINAGAWA ART LINES, FOUNDER AND OWNER, YASUO MINAGAWA AND HIS ASSOCIATE, YUKO KOSAKA, IN THE SELECTION OF FRAMING FOR CONTEMPORARY PAINTINGS, PHOTOGRAPHY AND WORKS ON PAPER FOR MY CLIENTS. YASUO WAS FIRST RECOMMENDED TO ME BY AN ARTIST- OFTEN THE BEST AND MOST DEMANDING CLIENT SINCE IT IS THEIR OWN WORK THAT IS AT STAKE. AT THE TIME, I REMEMBER THE ARTIST TOLD ME OF YASUO’S IMPRESSIVE ROSTER OF HIGHLY RESPECTED MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS WITH WHOM HE WORKED.
I LOOK FORWARD TO EXPLORING IN A MORE FORMAL WAY THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS THAT UNFOLDS IN THE SELECTION OF THE PERFECT FRAME TO ENHANCE A MODERN OR CONTEMPORARY WORK AT MINAGAWA ART LINES, LOCATED IN THE HEART OF CHELSEA AT 210 ELEVENTH AVENUE, SUITE 402, (Tel. 212-242-8088, email: email@example.com, AND THE PROCESS OF COLLABORATION WITH COLLECTORS, DESIGNERS, GALLERIES AND ARTISTS WHO SEEK OUT THEIR IMPECCABLE EYE AND ATTENTION TO DETAIL.
BORN IN JAPAN, YASUO MINAGAWA STUDIED LAW BEFORE COMING TO THE STATES IN THE 70s ASPIRING TO BE AN ARTIST. HE BEGAN BUILDING FRAMES FOR HIS ARTIST FRIENDS, AN ACTIVITY WHICH QUICKLY EXPANDED INTO A THRIVING BUSINESS.
YASUO, MANY THANKS TO YOU AND YUKO FOR TAKING THE TIME TO SPEAK ABOUT MINAGAWA ART LINES ON THE LRFA BLOG. PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL HISTORY.
WHEN DID YOU ESTABLISH YOUR BUSINESS AND HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I started framing, just trying it out for my friend Elizabeth Murray in the early 80s. She liked them and I started getting orders.
WHAT WAS THE NATURE OF YOUR OWN ART AT THE TIME THAT YOU MET ELIZABETH MURRAY AND STARTING FRAMING PICTURES?
WERE YOU EDUCATED IN JAPAN, AND IF SO, WHAT PROMPTED YOUR DECISION TO MOVE TO NEW YORK?
I majored in Law at Hosei University in Tokyo. I moved to New York to become an artist.
WERE YOU AN ARTIST AND CRAFTSMAN GROWING UP IN JAPAN? DID YOU HAVE TRADITIONAL TRAINING IN THE FRAMING BUSINESS? HOW DID YOU LEARN THE CRAFT?
No traditional training for the framing business. I learned with practice, practice, practice.
ARTISTS WERE YOUR FIRST CLIENTS. HOW DO THEY DIFFER IN THEIR DECISION MAKING PROCESS FROM A DEALER OR COLLECTOR?
Soho was a rather small artist’s community back then. I lived and worked in a loft on Crosby Street. Artists were helping me to fix the loft I lived in, making art and having dinner parties. I rented a small storefront on Kenmare Street when I started to get enough orders to pay the rent. The artists I worked for wanted straight-forward frames. I usedold-fashioned hand tools and Japanese finishing techniques.
HOW OBJECTIVE IS AN ARTIST IN SEEING THE BEST FRAMING TO ENHANCE THEIR OWN WORKS? HOW HAVE YOU SEEN THE AESTHETICS OF MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY FRAMING CHANGE OVER THE YEARS?
I looked at many framed artworks and also talked to artists about how they would want their works to be framed. The most important part of framing is to protect the artwork from the environment and from shipping. Also the archival condition of the frames for the art is crucial which I have studied and researched materials for. Also, I stopped using lumber taken from rain forests and now using only domestic wood.
MINAGAWA MAKES ALL THE FRAMES FROM DOMESTIC WOODS, WITH A PREFERENCE FOR HARD WOODS SUCH AS WHITE OAK AND MAPLE. OCCASIONALLY HE USES SOFTER WOODS SUCH AS MAHOGANY OR ASH. THESE ARE THE CONVENTIONAL MATERIALS FOUND IN ANY CONTEMPORARY FRAMING ESTABLISHMENT. WHAT IS OUTSTANDING ABOUT THE FRAMES AT MINAGAWA ART LINES IS THE PERFECTIONIST STREAK THAT YASUO BRINGS TO HIS BUSINESS, NOT ONLY THE TECHNICALLY PRECISE ANGLES AND FLAWLESS FINISHES BUT ALSO AN INTUITIVE AND EXPERIENCED EYE OF THE WORK OF ART AND A DEEP UNDERSTANDING OF THE ARTWORKS THEMSELVES.
IN THE NEXT BLOG, YASUO WILL SHARE HIS INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF THE HISTORY OF CONTEMPORARY FRAMING WITH US, ITS INCEPTION AND EVOLUTION. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ART OF FRAMING, YASUO MINAGAWA IS THE RIGHT PERSON TO ASK!
I WELCOME YOUR QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS.