Ronnie Valle: Kamigata-e and Ehon Collector
Ronnie Valle began woodblock print collecting 25 years ago when living in Yokohama. He purchased his first prints, by Kuniyoshi, from a chatty antique dealer near his apartment who was more interested in sake than in business. Researching the artist and genre of the prints introduced him to the Utagawa school of woodblock prints and a new world of art and culture. In addition to pre-Tenpo reforms *Kamigata prints, Ronnie is also a massive fan of Ehon, especially Gafu and **Kusazoshi. Ronnie has over 100 original texts in his collection, each one offering a charming glimpse into life during Edo or Meiji period Japan.
Ronnie’s favorite artists include: Kawanabe Kyōsai, Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (Taiso), Gigadō Ashiyuki, Shunbaisai Hokuei, Shunkôsai Hokushû, Jukôdô Yoshikuni. He appreciates the Kabuki (legends, stories, costumes, actors, history), the challenge of identifying actors and stories represented in the work, the beautiful organic pigments of Edo period prints, and the artistry and splendor in their design.
Ronnie’s advice for novice collectors is:
"If a print moves you, make it a part of your collection. You could always sell it later if it doesn't continue to captivate you, but it is often difficult to find an identical copy again if it slips between your fingers.”
Ronnie’s favorite Facebook groups are:
*(Kamigata was the colloquial term for a region today called Kansai. This large area encompasses the cities of Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe)
**(a term that covers various genres of popular woodblock-printed illustrated literature)