PILSEN — Pilsen artists may no longer have to trek downtown for art supplies now that Liquid Artz on 18th Street is open for business.
Owner Sergio Martinez, who also owns another art shop on State Street, said he had long felt the Pilsen neighborhood needed an art supplies shop of its own.
But it was over a year ago, while grabbing a bite to eat at Nuevo Leon restaurant, that he looked out the window and saw a for rent sign at 1504 W. 18th St.
“This whole place used to be white and beige. Like kind of depressing,” Martinez said.
Now, red and purple walls laced with graffiti greet potential art supply shoppers.
"It's phenomenal," Pilsen artist Eric Stefanski said of the shop's location. "Now I don't have to chug myself up to North Avenue to go to Blick [Art Materials]."
Stefanski, a 25-year-old painter, said the neighborhood is "saturated" with artists and so Liquid Artz should do well in the area.
Sergio Martinez, originally from Mexico City, said he plans to host art parties where kids and adults can learn painting techniques in a fun, laid-back environment.
A giant magnolia mural covers the back wall of the shop at in homage to another Mexico City resident, Frida Kahlo.
Hyde Park artist Terrance Curtis created the mural, which Martinez said has already been attracting attention in the neighborhood.
“The landlord’s were telling me sometimes people from outside take pictures because they’re impressed with the mural,” he said.
The shop’s only been open two weeks, but Martinez said he’s already noticed a trend among Pilsen artists.
“Oil paints are very popular. We can see the serious artists, they only go for oil paints,” he said.
Liquid Artz is currently running a special grand opening sale: 50 percent off all canvases, 30 percent off acrylic and oils paints, 25 percent off markers, and 25 percent off sketchpads.
The shop is currently open Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.