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28.7.2022 | Shopping

From a month of just green paint to a selection beyond the imagination – Art Shops of Tallinn

Text Mark Taylor
Photos Galerii-G, Skizze, Kunst ja Hobi

From a month of just green paint to a selection beyond the imagination – Art Shops of TallinnGalerii-G's store on the second floor of the Baltiturg market in Telliskivi.

 

Just 30 years ago, you had to go into small place in a basement in central Tallinn to order art supplies and wait one month for them to arrive. Today, in Estonia, there are many art stores stocking everything you can imagine. Here we share just three. 

 

Galerii-G

The story of Galerii-G began at the end of the Soviet era. In the building where it currently still resides on Freedom Square is the Artists Association of Estonia. During the Soviet times, there was a small place in the basement where you could go and order supplies.

“It would take one month for the supplies to arrive. However, on one occasion, all they delivered was green paint. We sold the last tube of that paint only last year (30 years later),” Kristi Keskküla, the owner of the business, explains.

Galerii-G’s store on Freedom Square dates back to the very early 90s. They still have the original big round wooden counter from the period, something Keskküla says they just cannot part with.

For what appears to be a small store, it is full of everything a professional or budding artist would need, paints from the highly regarded dutch brand Royal Talens, brushes, canvases, markers, pencils, ceramics, and frames – they were the first store in Estonia to begin framing.

Lastly, you can buy art made by members of the Estonian Art Association. They also speak Finnish very well in the store. 

Galerii-G has a second store in the Baltiturg market in Telliskivi. 

 

A small selection of paints on offer at Skizze’s Kalamaja store.

 

Skizze

Like Galerii-G the story of Skizze also dates back more than 30 years to the end of the Soviet era. “It was started by my father, his idea was first to do office supplies and writing instruments. He really loved writing instruments,” explained Hedi Vaikjärv, his daughter and the current retail manager.

However, after a year or so, his wife began to find all the office supplies a little boring, but she loved artist materials – in part to a very inspiring art teacher. At the same time, young Hedi was in an art group and was finding it hard to get the materials she needed. 

Over time, the office supplies have been slowly pushed aside for more and more art materials. Although they still continue to stock some office and school equipment today. “We have gone from the more practical to the more emotional,“ Vaikjärv exclaims.

Today, the business, which started out in a little warehouse in Mustamäe, is now 7 stores strong, with five in Estonia and two in Lithuania. The biggest store is in Mustamae, just a stone’s through from that original warehouse. 

They stock all manner of fine art and hobby materials from beginner to professional level, as well as some writing instruments and school supplies, from brands such as Lefranc Bougeuois, Winsor & Newton, Maped, Derwent, Liquitex, and many others. What really mark’s Skizze out is the ability to come and try the materials before you buy.

 

Kunst ja Hobi have the biggest selection of canvases.

 

Kunst ja Hobi

What began as just a small bag of tubes of paints in 2000, is now a chain of art supply stores with 7 outlets in Estonia and Latvia. For Agnes Lapjan, the retail manager for Kunst ja Hobi, the demand for art and craft supplies drastically increased as a result of the last recession.

“We were in the right place at the right time after the last financial crisis when people wanted to do things with their hands and get away from it all.”

Having only one store at that time, Kunst ja Hobi opened another in the Rocca Al Mare shopping centre in 2010 (the first art supplies store in a shopping mall in Europe). Lapjan is proud of the selection available in their stores. “We can take a person from the very start to being a professional artist,” she explains.

In the store, you will find the largest selection of canvases in the Baltics, paper they produce themselves on-site (which is very popular with Finnish buyers), as well as all kinds of materials for hobbyists and artists at all levels.

One area where Kunst ja Hobi really excels is in equipment for current trends, such as markers (which are popular with teenagers), diamond mosaic paintings, materials for fluid art and much more.

The brands they stock include – Cretacolor, KOH-I-NOOR, Daler Rowney, Golden, Rosa, Kreul, Maimeri, Molotow and many more.

 

Galerii-G, Vabaduse väljak 6, Tallinn.

Skizze, Kotzebue 7, Tallinn. Pirni 7, Tallinn.

Kunst ja Hobi, T1 Mall of Tallinn, Peterburi tee 2, Tallinn. 

Rocca al Mare Mall, Paldiski maantee 102, Tallinn.

 

To learn more about this and similar topics
Art Materials Art Shops Art Stores Art Supplies Galerii-G Kunst ja Hobi Skizze

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