Artists should be easy to buy presents for, right? They all live in poverty and are pleased to receive anything of value. A $5 gift certificate to Dutch Bros. Coffee should do the trick for the thoroughly impoverished Warhol in your life.
But if you want to win karmic points, think art supplies. There isn’t an artist I know who doesn’t go into a semi-hypnotic state at the thought of a really good art supply store. In Eugene, Oregon Art Supply, 1020 Pearl Street, and the UO Duck Store, 895 E. 13th Avenue, both come to mind. Sadly, $5 isn’t going to go too far when you’re not just buying coffee, so think more along the lines of $25, $50 or more.
Want to buy an actual object for your artist friend?
Remember that the traditional foundation of all visual art is drawing. Get your local Picasso or Van Gogh a nice sketchbook or two.
The long-time top sketchbook comes from Moleskine, which makes a nice, trendy and expensive product in many variations. Its basic “large” sketchbook has 100 pages, measuring 5 by 8.25 inches, has a nice black cover and retails at $19.95 at Moleskine.com. (You can do better shopping elsewhere, but you won’t find the whole range of Moleskine products in most stores.)
Your favorite Michelangelo will also need something to draw with in that fancy notebook. Who wouldn’t love a box of fresh pencils in their stocking? Regular old yellow No. 2 pencils — the kind we used in grade school — run about $20 for a box of 144, depending on where you shop. But if you’re spending money on fancy sketchbooks, you might as well splurge on the right wooden pencil. The fancier Palomino Blackwing 602 will set you back $22.95 for just a dozen — 12 times as much as the basic No. 2 — but they definitely have a cool vibe.
Art supplies not your thing? Consider buying a gift membership for your artist friend at their favorite art museum. A year’s basic membership at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art runs $45 for an individual, $55 for a family, and gets the holder in free for a year: jsma.uoregon.edu/membership.