David Jackson

David Jackson

Photo by Jennifer McNally “The Laurel of Asheville”.

David Jackson has been conserving and collecting tansu since 1990. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland and completed graduate studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1982, where he studied sculpture and woodworking.

Mr. Jackson developed a passion for Japanese woodwork while apprenticing with sculptor Martin Puryear (1984-88). He curated a 1996 tansu exhibition sponsored by the Graham Foundation for the Advancement in the Fine Arts in Chicago, one of the first exhibitions in the United States to be devoted solely to tansu. He authored an article entitled “Tansu Exposed,” which appeared in the June 1997 issue of “Woodwork” magazine.

In January 2007 David was the featured artist in “The Laurel of Asheville” in an article entitled “Foreign Trade”. In 2009 he lectured on step-chest history at San Jose State University. In 2010 he curated a tansu exhibition at the Nippon Club of New York, and lectured on step-chests or hako-kaidan. He also lectured at the Morikami Museum on the history of tansu in 2014.


2010 – Present
Sculptor and antique restoration, Asheville, Tarboro, NC

2009 – 2010
Conservation of Japanese antiques for Shibui, Brooklyn, NY.

2003 – 2009
Craftsman, conservation and appraisal of Japanese antiques, mount making and restoration of ethnographic objects. Weaverville, NC.

1999 – 2003
Craftsman; Salesman; Assistant Gallery Manager
Shibui Inc., Santa Fe, NM
• Conservation and sales of antique Japanese cabinetry and folk art
• Custom woodwork and carving
• Mount making for artifacts
• Website maintenance

1995 – 1999
Owner & Craftsman
David Jackson Craftsman, Chicago, IL and Santa Fe, NM
• Conservation and sales of antique Japanese cabinetry
• Design and production of custom lighting, custom woodworking.
• Sculpture conservation
• Freelance restoration of Asian and African folk art

1992 – 1996
Instructor, Art Institute of Chicago & Elston School, Chicago, IL
• Taught Japanese woodworking, beginning woodworking and sculpture to college level students and adult education classes

1990 – Present
Conservator, Martin Puryear Studio, Accord, NY
• Conservation of Martin Puryear’s sculpture

1984 – 1988
• Apprentice to Martin Puryear, Sculptor, Chicago, IL

• Volunteer Instructor: Woodworking program for elders,
Peace Corps: Micronesia

Exhibitions & Grants

May 2007
• Research grant: “Kaidan dansu history”
Japan Foundation NYC

• Research grant:
“History of the Japanese Cabinetmaker”
The Graham Foundation, Chicago, IL

• Curated Exhibtion:
“Tansu Exposed: The Craft of Japanese Antique Cabinetry”
Graham Foundation, Chicago, IL

• Visual Arts Grant,
Pollock-Krasner Foundation, NYC


1980 – 1982
School of the Art Institute of Chicago,
Chicago, IL, Master of Fine Arts
• Sculpture, Woodworking, and Art History

1974 – 1978
University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Bachelor of Arts
• Fine Arts


2009 – “The Unknown Background to Japan’s Staircase Chests” DARUMA #61, Winter issue.

2008 – “The Japanese Step-Chest”
Woodwork Magazine, December issue.

2002 – “Japanese Cabinetry, The Art and Craft of Tansu”
Gibbs Smith Publisher, Layton, UT.

1997 – “Tansu Exposed: The Craft of Japanese Antique Cabinetry”, Woodwork Magazine, April 1996

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