Noe Valley Voice April 2004

Store Trek

By Doug Konecky

Store Trek is a regular Voice feature profiling new stores and businesses in Noe Valley. This month we introduce a fine art supply store that will double as an art classroom.


3961 24th Street between Sanchez and Noe streets


Talk too long to Artsake co-owner David Eiland and you'll learn more than you expected about the origins of color. The Impressionists, for example, were influenced by a new technology, which gave Cezanne his blues and earth tones. Picasso, who never had any money, was pleased with the newly developed (and portable) oil pastels with which he could toss off a quick illustration to pay for his bowl of bouillabaisse.

Eiland and partner Robert Ramsey, who also co-own the Just for Fun gift store across the street, are excited to have opened the first professional-quality art supply store in Noe Valley since the early days of Colorcrane in the 1980s.

In February, they took over the old Wavy Footprints space on 24th Street across from Bell Market, and in less than a month, remodeled and unveiled Artsake, subtitled "For Artists of All Ages." The completely refurbished store is bright and airy, with refinished hardwood floors and off-white walls. Sennelier and Lascaux professional oils, gouaches, and acrylics fill the cabinets and bins on one side, while Raphael and Isobay brushes occupy display cases on the other.

Artsake also carries less expensive student-quality lines such as Winton, Liquitex, Etude, and Windsor & Newton. "And we have silk paints, fabric paints, drafting and drawing markers, and the entire range of Sharpies and Microns, in multiple point sizes and multiple colors," Eiland says.

In the front window of the shop sits a collection of Julian easels. The rear of the store offers classroom space and a substantial selection of children's art supplies. Kids' classes are an important part of Eiland and Ramsey's vision, as kid artists tend to turn into grown-up artists who require more paints and brushes, to say nothing of papers, pastel papers, matte board, and canvases.

A former Random House publisher with a degree in fine art photography, Eiland says all the employees at Artsake are art creators or appreciators. "Everybody who works here has a background in some kind of art."

And because he thinks neighborhood residents are a pretty arty bunch too, the store will be offering three- and six-week adult classes in drawing, watercolors, and cartooning, starting in late April.

Eiland, who has lived and worked in Noe Valley since 1981 (he and Ramsey opened Just for Fun in 1986), is a strong believer in the economic vitality of 24th Street. "Twenty-fourth Street will always be a great place to do business," he says.

So it didn't occur to him to locate Artsake anywhere else. Before acquiring the old Wavy spot, he and Ramsey bid on Colorcrane's now-empty storefront, as well as on the space vacated by Workwear. "We want to be a community store," he says.

Eiland invites all the Monets in our midst to stop by the shop and ask about teaching or taking classes. "We will have classes all day long if I can get enough teachers," he laughs.

Artsake is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

On Saturday, April 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the store will hold an outdoor demonstration of paints, brushes, and other art implements.

APRIL 2004