One of the saddest aspects of the digital art revolution is the loss of some of the world’s greatest art stores in New York City. Pearl Paint on Canal Street was one of the first to go. Many stories in an old ramshackle warehouse building with creaking ancient staircase and even creakier elevator which took you to the various departments. For an artist, it was like being let loose in a toy store. Every kind of sculpture or graphic design or craft need was supplied there. Other floors held all the paints of the world…elsewhere all the brushes of the world…all the stretcher bars and canvases in the world…all the papers…welll..not quite all the papers.
For paper you had to go to New York Central Art over on 4th Avenue. There, you would climb another set of old stairs to the first floor and find the most knowledgeable staff in the world and the most varied art papers in the world. Every strange thing you could think of made into some sort of surface to make art on. In the basement, you could find boards (including the once difficult to find Gatorboard which they only sold in 4 by 8′ sizes. I can remember dragging the big board out onto the street in order to cut it with my box cutter to a size which would fit in the taxi or subway.) On the main floor, there were brushes which even Pearl did not have and, again, an extremely knowledgeable staff and an owner who would go out of his way to find and supply what you wanted.
There were other lesser know or smaller stores which have also disappeared (along with the increasing loss of various paper surfaces and other graphic tools which, since commericial and even educational art departments are no longer are buying such products in mass quantities, they are no longer profitable to make or distribute).
Today I just discovered that my old Utrecht Store has been taken over by Blick.
Ahhh..those were the days my friend. Now back to googling to see if i can find the pen point which i have only found in Venice in recent times. And they don’t ship or use Amazon.
Guess i will just have to fly over to Venice to get some more supplies. Tough.