Posts Tagged ‘Jamie Canvas’

Canvasing SoHo: A Brief Chat with Daniel Himmelfarb of Jamie Canvas

June 1, 2013
Jamie Canvas store in Soho, 1976 / Robin Forbes, photographer. Robin Forbes' slides of Soho, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Jamie Canvas store in Soho, 1976 / Robin Forbes, photographer. Robin Forbes’ slides of Soho, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

My father, when he was walking out the door, often used to say to me, “I need to go to Jamie Canvas,” or “I’m stopping at Jamie Canvas on my way home.”  I always thought Jamie Canvas was a person, someone he was going to visit.  But as many of you may remember, Jamie Canvas was an art supply store on Spring Street that sold, among other things, lots and lots of canvas.

I recently sat down with Daniel Himmelfarb, who opened Jamie Cavas in 1972 when he was 25 years old, at Housing Works Bookstore to talk about his shop.

After working at several art supply stores, including Pearl Paint, and also selling canvas out of his studio apartment on Carmine Street, Himmelfarb took over a small retail space at 151 Spring Street where the rent was $200.00 a month, an amount that seemed rather exorbitant to him at the time.  To build up a clientele, he made up business cards and flyers that he distributed throughout the neighborhood, placing them in AIR (Artist in Residence) boxes of loft buildings.

Jamie, for whom Jamie Canvas is named

Jamie, for whom Jamie Canvas is named

Named after Himmelfarb’s then girlfriend, Jamie, the store became a kind of hub for local artists.  In 1976, he expanded by moving into a larger space across the street, where he sold art supplies and toys until he closed 1986 because his landlord, Manny Lehrman, who “looked like Nelson Rockefeller and talked like Nelson Rockefeller but was Jewish,” raised his rent.  The space is now a Doc Marten store. (more…)


%d bloggers like this: