An art gallery can be full of surprises.
Take, for example, a nine foot tall wooden version of the Eiffel Tower.
That’s one of many interesting items you’ll find on display at L & D’s Art Gallery and Framing, located in the space of the former Roses Art Gallery and Framing at 348 Bruce St., at the top of Bruce Street hill.
The letters L and D represent Lisa Henderson, gallery owner Thang Van Trinh’s wife, and his step daughter Deirdre Henderson.
“The bulk of our business is custom framing, but of course, with COVID, it’s been an off year. But we also host exhibitions, hold painting classes, and we also do passport photos,” said Cathy Gareau, L & D’s manager.
“We frame anything and everything. We do hockey jerseys, lots of different prints, original artwork, canvas pieces."
Gareau said she just finished framing a Beatles record – a 45 of She Loves You from 1963 in mint condition, accompanied by a photo of the pop group’s performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.
The Beatle fan/customer dropped in and purchased the framed Fab Four product when SooToday was at the gallery last week, the man clearly delighted with Gareau’s work.
“I enjoy the end result, seeing the customers' faces when they pick it up. They’ll bring in a piece of artwork with no matting, and when they see the end result, the look on their faces is satisfying for me. They’ll come back again, and a lot of them just love the one-on-one interaction, which they wouldn’t get in a big box store.”
The gallery’s walls, shelves and exhibitions, Gareau said, are dedicated to showcasing paintings and pottery created by local artists.
But let’s get back to that wooden Eiffel Tower.
Gareau told us local artist James Fleet took eight years to construct the object, using six different types of wood.
Made from what she described as “thousands of little pieces,” Fleet built the tower by hand with an X-Acto knife and used wood glue to bind it together with the help of Guy’s B&R Collision Centre, the final paint job done by Charlie Walker.
Fleet brought his creation into the gallery in mid-October in four detachable segments, Gareau said, though it had been on display at the former Roses Art Gallery and Framing in 2015 and 2017.
Fleet, Gareau said, has never visited the iconic Paris landmark, but said it is an interest of his, adding the artist has also built a model of a lighthouse made from popsicle sticks, along with wooden reproductions of a miniature house and cars.
Fleet’s Eiffel Tower will be on display at L & D’s until Nov. 20, Gareau said.
This time, it’s up for sale.
Fleet wants $10,000 for it.
Thang Van Trinh of Hamilton, a professionally-trained custom framer in his own right, purchased the gallery/framing space and the building in which it is housed after Rose Sundaram, Roses Art Gallery owner/operator, retired in 2017.
For Trinh, who works in the financial sector and divides his time between Hamilton and the Sault (his daughter an Algoma University student), buying an art gallery in northern Ontario was, as he described it, “stepping outside my comfort zone.”
“I was looking for a place up north and I noticed Rose was listing her building for sale. I’ve always liked photography and art. Rose taught me how to make frames for art by hand, and since I bought the gallery and building we’ve upgraded by using machinery.”
A supporter of the Algoma Art Society, Trinh said he and the gallery’s staff are looking forward to hosting a show for the group at L & D’s from Nov. 24 to Dec. 18.
“I came to Canada as an immigrant from Vietnam. I’ve always wanted to achieve and take opportunities to learn new concepts, and meeting Rose, getting into framing and art is another part of my chapter of being in Canada... I really enjoy spending time in the north. It’s quiet and peaceful.”