“Painted in a corner, and all you wanna do…”

They sound familiar, but I haven’t said them in ages: names like Prismacolor, Pigma, and Bristol, old friends in their enigmatic way, back in the days when we drove halfway to Newark Airport to scope out the metal shelves and breathe in the chemicals we hoped we could turn into art.

Two hundred miles south, the store may be different, but the sights and scents are the same. The blank sheets of vellum shine with promise, the tubes of fresh paint reek of unexploded energy—but fifteen years later, sneaking through aisles of markers and paper and pens feels like driving past the house of an old girlfriend. Besides, I’m here for mats and frames, which are easy, not inspiration, which is hard, especially when every drawing board resembles the piles I’ve shoved into storage, and each color marker is a reminder that some things dry up when you just can’t be bothered to use them.

3 thoughts on ““Painted in a corner, and all you wanna do…”

  1. I love browsing at art supply stores. As you said, there is such a sense of potential. Massive rolls of canvas and linen, papers of all sizes and textures, big chalky pastels infused with color, and tiny tubes of paint with such exotic titles: quinacridone purple, pthalo green, dioxazine mauve, interference red, ivory black (is it ivory or black?), brilliant yellow pale (is it brilliant or pale?)…


  2. I remember being particularly intimidated by airbrushes. What mystifying contraptions those things are; I’m still very impressed by artists who can use them to create anything other than Trapper Keeper covers with flying unicorns or “Jersey Shore ’88 4-ever” T-shirts.


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