There, I said it, I admit it! I don’t buy my art supplies locally. I used to, though. I tried to buy locally, I loved the idea of supporting local businesses. I even thought about offering art classes, something I might still do someday.
Even though I love browsing through wonderfully musty smelling shelves full of materials that make my fingers fairly itch with the desire to try new things, I gave that up.
Why? Unfortunately, people’s attitudes were what caused the estrangement. I’d noticed some real snootiness when I’d gone to the better art stores, and the craft stores have gotten increasingly uncomfortable and gimmicky to be in. One major chain’s loss prevention tactics, where they make you walk through a maze to leave, are particularly annoying.
I also noticed how I was treated well, listened to, and mentored in art stores, while my dear partner was routinely snubbed and ignored. She didn’t look as “liberal” as I did. Also, a particular store manager at lied to me on a number of occasions.
“We had to get rid of that line of paint because Amazon is undercutting us.” Really? Then why does Amazon charge two dollars more?
“This brand of paint is better anyway.” Really? Then why does the coverage suck?
The “Chinese art teacher” who didn’t even know how to grind his own ink didn’t help.
Later, that store manager kicked me out of the store and never said why. I was baffled and hurt, and wondered where I would go for art supplies.
Ultimately I moved online. I started using Dick Blick Art Supplies, also known as Utrecht at some of their locations. They carry a huge variety of supplies, have great prices, support local artists, give people a chance to be seen in their art catalogs, have a great review community, and also have amazing customer service.
Considering that I’m still giving my money to a really good, domestic art store that is passionate about supporting artists, I’m proud to share my dollars with them. As a bonus, they give a referral commission to people who share their affiliate links. Like this one. Beat that, snooty Tucson art store!
I’m really happy Dick Blick is around. My search for quality art materials, responsibly bought, is over.