When doing a bit of research for this post, it came as a big surprise to us that Windsor has a lack of independent art supply stores, especially considering we’re a bustling University and College town. So, for us, the opening of this quirky, new shop Beatnik Art Supplies, gives us the impression that the underground creative culture in Windsor is still thriving and artists and students alike are excited to have access to supplies that they can touch and feel rather than click and order. This store is run by mother and son, Katrina Rutter and Julian Pawlaczyk, both local artists. Its storefront is tucked away in a residential neighbourhood, downtown on Erie and Victoria, and they are tenants in a beautiful multi-use building that has recently undergone an impressive renovation.
Photos by Emma Davidson Photographer
Beatnik Art Supplies opened their colourful store in April of 2018 and offer an array of art supplies for painters, drawers, block printers and beyond. The shop has a myriad of rainbow-coloured goods that stand to energize the art lover or creator in all of us. Brands like Strathmore, Golden, Fabiano, Canson and Amsterdam fill the shelves, while Jackson Pollock’s, 1950s abstract style, inspires the floor’s creative paint job. But Beatnik, isn’t simply a supply store, visitors are sure to find something sweet for the house or children, like ‘pencils for kids’ (don’t worry, they have adult ones too) or ‘adorable’ pin cushions – and for the artist in all of us, they offer classes for any skill level taught by local talents such as Peter Olsen.
For those of you not familiar with the Beat Generation, it was a movement of young people in the 1950s who rejected conventional society and favoured Zen Buddhism, modern jazz, free sexuality, and recreational drugs. Among writers associated with the movement were Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. This ‘Beatnik’ ideology is what inspired owner Rutter’s previous entrepreneurial endeavour in Joshua Tree, the Beatnik Cafe.
For us, this art store is full of the kind of personality a bourgeoning Art District needs in order to get off the ground. Downtown Windsor’s Beatnik is a destination and a necessary part of an artistic lifestyle and community. So if you or any one of your talented or curious friends are thinking it’s probably “time to buy art supplies”, Beatnik should be top-of-mind!