A travel journal
to San Diego by Elli Metz
Quote: One of the things I notice when talking to my artist friends is that we have a different goal in mind while travelling: to amass art supplies. Here's where to do it in San Diego.
Ephemera is one of my passions (for mixed-media work), and I'll tell you now -- San Diego has history en masse. It's got a hundred options for picking up papers and flea market finds. Don't miss Kobe's Flea Market on the weekends, either.
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.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 3, 2001
Artists Supply Warehouse
San Diego, California 92101
Attraction | "Kobe's Flea Market"
In actuality, this isn't the largest market in this area, nor is it the best. Vendors are often just the clearance items of local stores (Videos 2 Sell has a permanent booth here, for instance), and those rare and shining gems of originality and good marketing are few and far between.
That said, it IS one of the best markets in price. Marked prices are about average, but the whole point of a flea market is to haggle, and here is no exception. Some of the vendors do post signs that say "prices firm", and with them, there's no budging. With everyone else, they can be talked down, sometimes to half price, sometimes only a dollar or two. Don't give up until you've tried it -- there's a real charge to be had out of getting what you want for much less than you expected.
Merchandise varies from week to week, and it is not only advisable but imperative that you bring cash. Most of the vendors do not accept checks or credit cards because of the hassle, and if you're going to haggle for anything, be ready to pay in cash money. It's just the rules of the game.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 6, 2001
Kobey's Swap Meet
3500 Sports Arena Blvd
San Diego, California 92110
+1 619 226 0650