I’ve been getting this question a lot lately as well: “How much am I going to spend on textbooks a semester?” I hate to break it to y’all, but most of the time you’re going to be buying art supplies and not running to Barnes and Nobles. Those of you who are entering Foundation this fall will purchase a Foundation kit that Parsons specifically packages for you. The kit runs about 200 dollars but will hold pretty much all the basic materials you will need for the first couple of weeks; however, after that you’ll be running around town finding supplementary materials. So I thought I would share some of my favorite and maybe least favorite places I’ve been to buy supplies.
Utrecht, 4th Ave and 12th street -This store is an all time classic – you’ll live here for four years because it is the art store that is closest to campus and the freshman dorms. I also heard that they are putting a new Utrecht right next to the Parsons Fine Arts building, so you guys will have it easy. Though full of pretentious skinny jean art nerds, most of the time you’ll find what you need at a decent price. Great paint and sketch pad sections, but they lack a quality paper selection or just don’t have the space for it. Avoid going here right after classes because it gets packed, but in the morning things run pretty smoothly. Students also get a ten percent off discount so make sure you register for the card!
New York Central Art Supply, 3rd Ave and 10th street– Probably the hardest to navigate and with the most snooty staff around (worse than Utrecht), but the best place to find that unique item you may need. New York Central carries everything, like everything, and it’s where most artists in the city come to purchase supplies so they are always well stocked. They are a bit pricier than Utrecht and Dick Blick, but for having such unique supplies sometimes it’s worth it. Also they have a killer paper department, if you ever need specialty paper, New York Central should be your first and last stop. And if you are a big sketchbook person, they have the biggest sketchbook selection with the nicest papers, I just bought one from France!
Dick Blick, On Bond Street between Bowery and Bond Street– Dick Blick has the best staff with a combination of the biggest store with some good selection. Blick has really great discounts during their spring and fall sales and in mailed coupons. Their drawing selection is by far the best and their paint selection is always quite vast in colors. The two things they do lack are a printmaking department and a really good paper department. But I like to go to Blick for a bulk drawing pad buy with a bulk paintbrush buy. They are excellent when you need to buy a lot of one thing because they have a large amount of extra stock.
Pearl Paint, On Canal by Greene Street and Broadway -Pearl Paint is kind of similar to New York Central, they are fantastic at handling specialty art supplies. I believe the Pearl Paint on canal is about 6 floors and considering it is more of walk to get there, I don’t go too often. But I can say if I know I need to do a whole portrait in color pencils and need certain colors, they are the best to go to. Always well stocked and always with an array of items, Pearl is the best when you either know exactly what you want or when you have no clue. The place itself is quite inspiring and the staff is always knowledgeable about the supplies you are interested in purchasing. It does get a bit pricier than the larger chain stores like Dick Blick and Utrecht, but once again it’s worth it if your looking for that one exact color.
Hope these tips help and prevent you from spending too much money on art supplies. If these don’t work, trash day is Thursday in New York City, which is the best day to dive for some “found object” inspired pieces.