In 1995 Vicky and Bill Stewart, a corporate VP and a lapsed high school English teacher, opened Vamp & Tramp, selling 20th -century literary and mystery first editions — and they didn’t know that artists’ book existed. Through wondrous serendipity, they stumbled onto Ron King’s Circle Press edition of Antony and Cleopatra, and into the world of contemporary fine press and artists’ books.
Their response to seeing that first artists’ book? WOW. Nothing deeper or more complicated than Wow.
They had discovered a world in which books were no longer just containers for story and information.
With fine press and artists’ books, the physical attributes of the book – the materials it’s made of, the way it opens (or doesn’t), the way images and type appear on the page, the sound and feel of the pages – can become an expressive element, on par with the text and images.
That Wow Factor was reason enough to change their ways. Today they deal only in contemporary fine press and artists’ books, representing 300+ presses and artists. From a website, at selected book fairs, and by taking books directly to private and institutional collections, they spread the joys of contemporary Book Arts across the country.