As an artist, shopping for supplies can be a bit of a mixed-bag. While it can be exciting and open up new avenues for creativity, it also can be a bit of a drag. The cost of supplies, indecision over selection, and drag of hauling everything back to the studio can leave anyone thinking twice about a trip to the art store.
If you are going to go through all of the hassle of getting new supplies, at least the experience should be fun. Here are our selection of some of the best places in the UK to purchase new supplies.
1. Cowling and Wilcox - London
This smart art supplier has three stores in London, East, South and West. Our team enjoys popping in to the store on Shoreditch High Street to browse and if we are honest, dream a bit about all the stuff we’d like to buy. According to their website, the South London branch is the biggest art supply store south of the river. We have been pushed not to find what we were looking for here.
2. Atlantis Art – London
This East London based arts and crafts material store is one of London’s leading suppliers. Most materials can be found here – in professional and student quality. We have heard rumors of less than friendly service from the staff. If this has you thinking twice, try their mail-order service as an alternative, or make a day trip out of it, and seek relief at the nearby Whitechapel Gallery.
3. Cass Art - London
In our experience, Cass Art offers excellent service next to a wide range of professional art materials, including a large variety of papers – and all their stores are open 7 days a week! The flagship store in Islington is worth a look.
4. Ashley Studio – Wells-next-the Sea, East Anglia
This little studio, established in 1979, simply needs a mention! It is actually Hazel Ashley’s artist studio. However, a comprehensive range of artist materials is on sale and if you are lucky, you might get to meet other artists from the area! If you are in the area, it is worth a look – No public website to the best of our knowledge. But we do have the address: 19, Staithe Street, Wells-next-the-Sea, NR23 1AG.
5. The Art Shop – Rutland, East Midlands
We like the Art Shop for its knowledgeable and remarkably helpful staff! Moreover, the art shop supports students and students with valid ID receive a discount on their entire purchase.
6. Ward’s Arts and Craft – Gateshead – North East
This store has been around for over 150 years; it is one of the leading arts and crafts suppliers in the north of England. Additionally, this store offers a professional photography and reproduction lab. A great store to loose yourself in.
7. Greyfriars Art Shop – Edinburgh – Scotland
Another classic artist supply store, Greyfriars was established in 1840. The store specializes in painter supplies, and is geared towards the serious artist, given their proximity to local universities. They offer a student discount, and have a knowledgeable and supporting staff. Can get very crowded at times!
8. The Art Shop – Abergavenny, Wales
This rather young concept store is housed in a renovated 16th century building. On the ground floor is an great variety of art and crafts materials available, as well as books. The first floor and basement house galleries with a regularly changing programme. Launching an internet sales channel in the near future as well.
What have we missed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
As the recent degree shows wind down, many recent graduates of MA and MFA programs may be asking themselves, now what? Whether or not your recent degree and open shows were everything you expected, now is the time to get pro-active in establishing yourself as an artist. Many people will have your work fresh in their mind, and this is your chance to leave a lasting impression. At Rise Art, we came up with five easy but helpful steps you can take to expand your visibility as an artist. While you are enjoying the fleeting summer months, we hope that this can aid you in your career development:
1. Create online presence
It is increasingly important to have an online presence, be it your own website, an online portfolio or gallery. It do not have be pricey and there are sites offering uploading a portfolio for free. If you consider committing to an online gallery, research it first. At Rise Art we have previously committed an entire blog entry on this subject, to read Why artists need to be online click here.
2. Subscribe to email newsletters
Newsletters are a great way of staying up-tot-date on what’s going on in the art world. There is a huge variety of free email newsletters available online, informing you not only about the latest news and exhibitions, but also artist-opportunities.
Some of our favorite industry newsletters are:
3. Get connected
Collect contacts and start building a network. Go to openings and other events were you will be among peers and other people from the art world. We suggest if you have not done so already, create a simple address book or database with the contacts of all relevant people you meet, such as fellow artists, curators, journalists, gallery owners, potential collectors or buyers. Try to update this list on a regular basis and don’t be shy to ask people for their contacts. The list you create now will be a huge asset the next time you are looking to drive people to an exhibit or show you are hosting.
4. Exhibit your work
As recent graduate, it might be hard to find exhibition spaces at first, but there are a number of opportunities out there. We suggest to apply for group exhibitions, if you are in the early stages of your career, as it is more likely to be accepted into such – plus, it can be a great way to meet fellow artists and young curators! Newsletters, forums and blogs can also be a great resource for artist opportunities.
Another idea would be to organize your own solo show or a group show with fellow students, for instance as a pop-up exhibition. Rise Art has the following recommendations for hosting pop-up exhibitions – See our blog post on Pop-Up Retail Opportunies.
5. Other opportunities
Art prizes and artist residencies are just some of the options available to emerging artists. Explore some of the art prizes open to young artists (further reading here).
Let us know what else we missed. How are you promoting yourself following the degree show season?
Recently, we came across this article from 2007, stating that artists were pushing the envelope for online presence. However, having done some research we were actually surprised at the number of young artists who do not have an online presence, especially outside of social networking sites.
While everyone hears about the stories of artists being “discovered” and making it big, for most artists the idea of waiting to be discovered is romantic and not realistic. As an artist, one has to market and promote their art in order to make it happen.
While you might not plan to sell your original art work online, the Internet might still prove useful in terms of discovery and promotion – ultimately leading to increased awareness and eventually sales. Becoming part of the dialog and raising your awareness both online and off can greatly increase your chances of getting to the next stage in your career. A few reasons why artists should consider promoting themselves online:
1. It is incredibly easy: Ten years ago, building and managing an online process was cumbersome and expensive. Today for artists, a variety of sites make it easy to build and manage your portfolio and a profile for free. Additionally companies like SquareSpace and WordPress offer inexpensive and free solutions to build and manage a website/blog that is extremely easy to navigate and update. Artist and Curator Kirsty Hall has written a helpful article on the subject, which we highly recommend. Empty Easel has published an article on the advantages of owning an art blog. At Rise Art we believe that the key for artists is to initially not bite off more than you can chew. Start slow with a basic blog or site, and then expand from there.
2. People are already searching for you: While curators generally visit a great number of exhibitions, shows and studios, the reality is that that a lot of research is done online. Curators, gallery owners, critics and collectors all see artists work and want to learn more about them. At Rise Art a majority of our artists have direct searches for their name which bring people to their profile on Rise Art. Building an online profile sites like Rise Art and maintaining an online presence can provide interested parties with direct access to your works, motivation and upcoming projects.
3. It helps with competitions: When applying for a prize or exhibition, artists are generally only allowed to send in a limited number of works. However, if interested in an artist, a curator or panel would want to see more work in order to get a better idea of an artists motivation. Artists with online presence are easily accessible.
4. It increases your reach globally: An artist’s work might be picked up online by other peers, online magazines or publications, helping you spread your work beyond your local boundaries. It further enhances you chances of being found online, which this graphic of how Google works illustrates.
What are your thoughts? Have you been successful online as an artist?