by Elli Metz
March 3, 2001
Not only are there the traditional artist's materials: canvases, oil and acrylic paints, pastels, pigments -- but also things you might not otherwise think to look for. Things like mosaic tile pieces, bookbinding supplies, tempra paints like the ones used in grade schools, large sheets of handmade papers, mounting boards, gesso of all colors, and printmaking supplies.
The best part is the prices. I got some pigment ink pads here, currently being sold at Michael's for $18, for a whopping $6. A THIRD of what the chains were charging. Papers are similarly cut in price, and there is a student discount on top of it all (10%), so your tax is even taken care of. It's amazing.
The workers are a wealth of information -- most of them are practicing artists themselves. They knew, off the top of their heads, what wax medium was and how to use it, as well as whether speedball printer's ink would work in my Gocco printer. It took me more than an hour to find the answers to these questions online, so I was dually impressed.
Downstairs, there are damaged items (slightly) that are selling for rock-bottom prices. Canvases with some dirt stains (that can easily be re-gessoed) for a few dollars (as opposed to twenty-odd dollars instead). Stretchers and unmounted canvases, and framing supplies.
This is a must-see while you're here. Just turn away from Old Town at the first stop sign off the exit, it'll be on your right after three blocks.
From journal Art in San Diego