In December, I had the opportunity to meet quite a few art material retailers from around the country and Canada as I mentioned in the post on Dragon Art.
We had some interesting discussion about what materials artists are gravitating towards these days, both representational artists and those that are on the fringe of contemporary art. Whether an artist is looking for hobby or professional materials, people are thinking differently about what they purchase, and more artists are getting interested in unique materials and subject matter. Some artists are trending towards safer materials, archival materials, or completely original materials to create their pieces. With the ever growing material industry, there is more to choose from, too.
From the conversation, I gained a better understanding of what artists want these days. And for those of you that helped me out via Twitter, thanks for the input. Hearing from you so quickly, learning about your favorite goods, and how you buy them went a long way with the retailers in the room. I think it is vitally important that artists connect with both manufacturers and retailers to let them know what is needed in the market, what can be improved and what material characteristics are important to the work of art making. I'm sure you'll be seeing more of them online in social networks so you can connect with them yourself and let them know your needs and concerns.
In all the conversation, I was brought back to my own art practice and material interests. As a material collector myself, I can't begin to try everything that I want to dig into, but my studio continues to enlarge with baskets and drawers of materials that will eventually make it into a new piece. Lately, I've been interested in making my own paper and ink, using recycled products for my paper. And recently, I bought an old architect file for my paper, brushes and canvas at an antique show. I continue to look for more ways to develop a greener practice in all this, whether it be the materials themselves, or the studio design. On my wish list is a book for such greening, "The Green Guide for Artist." Did I mention that I'm a book collector, too?
If you have recently made changes to green your studio or practice, or you have ideas on how to create a more environmentally friendly studio space, let us know!