Monday, July 10, 2017

Buy It Here: Art Supplies

So...this is a post I meant to publish over the last few months, but even though I pretty much had it finished, I never actually got around to hitting the orange button.  Better late than never, right?

You can never have too many art supplies.  When I was in Osaka to make prints at the Kamigata Museum, I visited an art supply store, because of course I visited an art supply store.  The best markers in the world - Copic markers - are made in Japan.  I ended up dropping $100 on art supplies - I bought some new Copics, for half the price they'd cost in the States, watercolor postcards, tracing paper, half-tone screens for adding the grey areas in manga panels, more waterbrushes.  It's possible I went a little crazy, but in my defense, I found more in one small shop there than I can get anywhere in Mongolia.
This only looks like a lot of art supplies...
One thing about being an art teacher is, you never know when you're going to need more.  I do a pretty decent job of ordering, and my school is very generous with the budget, but I either have kids who come up with new ideas for what they want to do, or what I ordered gets worn out faster than I expected, or else I realize that if I had a particular kind of pen it would work better.  So there are options in Ulaanbaatar - you're not going to have to grind your own pigments and mix them Rembrandt style...just be prepared for the fact that the selection is not as wide and may not be as high quality.
The party is actually three doors north of here now.
For example, you won't find Copic markers, which is a shame, but the art store near the State Department Store has Touch markers, which are a comparable Korean brand of alcohol-based markers.  If you walk up the right/east side of the State Department Store, across the street is a yellow sign that says "Art and Antigue."  This was originally where all of the materials were - in the basement.  Now there's a second shop, three doors north (away from the SDS, if you don't speak cardinal directions), which has most of what I'm looking for when I go looking.
Another shop I managed to stumble on (about a year ago when all I wanted to eat, ever, was pho) is the Marie's shop, sort of across and up from the Chinese embassy on Baga Toiruu.  Marie's is a Chinese brand of art supplies - when I lived in Shanghai I wasted an entire day going up and down Fuzhou Lu (I think) looking for stuff, only to later learn that their big store on Xikang Lu was basically my one-stop shopping destination.  The store here has quite a bit to offer as well.  I don't get over there often anymore, thanks to the Pho House moving, but when one of the brats mentioned wanting to work with spray paint for AP last fall, I remembered they had airbrushes, and was able to pick one up for 150,000 tugrugs.
After writing most of this but obviously before I got around to publishing it, I found another art supply store up the street from the State Department store, but on the opposite side of the street. Like many things in Ulaanbaatar, if you keep your eyes open and wander around enough, you'll probably find it.  Keep looking.

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