ART METROPOLE 788 King West, 416-703-4400, www.artmetropole.com
It's nice to have something on the wall. However, art is expensive to make, and thus to buy. The question is, how do you get works of art from great artists for really cheap? The answer: Art Metropole. The 30-year-old organization specializes in everything from book works and audio-visuals to stickers and pins, operating as an archive for work by artists exploring the use of alternative media in art production. In other words, famous and talented artists make all sorts of things, and this is where to find them. You can get a piece of the action for a low, low price.
For example Wim Delvoye , the genius shit-maker whose Cloaca installation was featured at the Power Plant earlier this year, has rolls of toilet paper for $15. Other gems include inch-thick wooden and felt "postcards" by Joseph Beuys for $27, and even a War Is Over paper shopping bag by Yoko Ono . The bag, of course, is a little more expensive ($100).
The current show, titled EN/OF (through October 2), pairs well-known musicians with artists to produce interesting records with beautiful sleeves, but these limited editions will run you $200. Some of them are not even for sale.
Can't afford that? Go easy on your wallet and pick up Neither Either Nor Or, written and illustrated by Joey Dubuc , for $16.95. Mocking the choose-your-own-adventure format, every choice ends inevitably in death. Also look for Defile, an Art Met project that forces artists to create works through the confines of the magazine format.
Even if you don't want to buy, you can at least stop by Art Metropole and browse around. Although it does function as a store, it's also a resource, a reference art-brary. People are welcome to look though the vast collection for free.
Unless you're the kind of artist who prefers working with "found objects" (read bits of driftwood, other people's garbage), you're going to need some supplies, and even the dumpster divers among you need a spot of glue now and then to stick the bits of trash together. Making your own supplies is only for the noble few. Here's some info for the rest of you.
CURRY'S ART STORE 344 Queen West, 416-260-2633; 490 Yonge, 416-967-6666
Curry's has been there for forever and has survived for a reason. Hemingway bought pens here. Great selection and good prices, but remember to leave your bag at the counter.
ABOVEGROUND ART SUPPLIES 74 McCaul, 416-591-1601
Situated in the shadow of OCAD's big stilted box, Aboveground is a good store with nice people. It's the store cited most often as the cheap place to find your tools and materials.
TERN ART 847 Queen West, 416-537-7338
Lesser-known Tern is an even better find, with good selection despite its small size. If what you want isn't here, they can get it. Tern has to be cheap - the only people with less money to spend than artists these days are teachers, and many of them use Tern as their supplier.