ONE-OF-A-KIND GIFTS FOR IMPOSSIBLE-TO-SHOP-FOR ARTSY FRIENDS
Artsy folk can be hard to shop for – especially if you’re not a member of the artsy tribe yourself.
You don’t want to give them something mass-market conventional, and nothing too specific (taste is subjective!), but nothing too popular, either. You don’t want to buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. And you absolutely, positively are not going to be making something yourself with your own two hands, because, c’mon, dad never used that clay “ash tray,” did he?
Etsy makes so much money off people like you.
But stay local and you can shop at one of these three spots just steps away from the corner where the 7th Street Arts Bridge intersects with Market. Give your artist friends what they need – materials, education, inspiration, and a new t-shirt. Because artist friends, they need a t-shirt too.
• Spaceboy Clothing (711 N. Market St.): Spaceboy gets very popular the week before Christmas, because their made-to-order screen-printed shirts can be made-to-order while-you-wait (because-you’re-late). Choose from one of their custom designs that hang on the walls, then pick the tee, the hoodie or the whatever you’d like it on – and pressto-chango, it’s done.
Holiday tip from Spaceboy co-owner David Sanchez: Go snooping through the Instagram account of your favorite photog and snag a shot. “You just steal a picture off the Internet, even a screenshot. Crop it out, print it out and we press it right to a shirt. Some people really like it. I’ve done it myself, for my sister and her kids. Look, you can't really lose with kids for a grandparent. Just give them a shirt.” (Another sure thing: You can’t really lose giving vintage stuff to your favorite art designer. Check out the wall devoted to vintage clothes, furniture and knick knacks.)
• Jerry’s Artarama (706 N. Market St.): No kid in a candy store ever had it like the artist who wanders into Jerry’s Artarama. If you know the medium your artsy friend works in, the extremely customer-service-oriented staff will probably be able to tell you what that person needs.
Holiday tip from Jerry’s store manager Dave Bart: Let kids get messy. “We have a kids art section, good for kids from zero to 10, which is really just about getting art on their hands. It's a mess. Easels, smocks, tempera paints and such that are easy to clean up and nontoxic – hey, you're going to get dirty. An art store is where you're supposed to get dirty.” For parents with artsy kids, this is a real find. Paints, brushes, modeling, clay, pencils and paper all look like they’re better made than the art supplies you find in a toy store – and cheaper too. If your artsy kids are older, there’s colored pencils (great for adult coloring books), acrylics and oils – stuff for pretty much any art stage they might be growing through.
• Delaware College of Art and Design (600 N. Market St.): Have someone on your list who’s talking serious talk about turning off Facebook and spending the next four years getting back in touch with their inner artist, perhaps while living in a cable-TV-free yurt? Classes at DCAD aren’t just for degree students. The continuing ed program offers classes in fine arts, jewelry design, photography and interior design. On the low end, you can secure someone a spot at the Drawing Marathon on Jan. 21, when “DCAD’s historic landmark building will be transformed into a 5,000-square-foot studio where … you will work alongside DCAD’s faculty, staff, students and artists of all experience levels.” That’s $30 for nine hours of drawing. Or take it up a step to classes in abstract painting, bookbinding, metal working and street photography, with most classes running about $40/session or $200/series.