4 Brooklyn artists on what to buy a starving artist

danielle mastrion
BK-born artist Danielle Mastrion knows what your starving artist friends want: gift certificates for food

If you’re part of the Brokelyn demographic, it’s safe to assume you’ve got a starving artist or two in your life. And on the off chance that you are completely out of ideas for phenomenal, perhaps somewhat obscure, possibly useful, and most definitely theme appropriate presents for said artsy people, here are some gifting suggestions from a selection of our favorite local artists/people in the arts for you to draw inspiration from.

Lane carving woodblock

Lane Sellfounder and master printer at Shoestring Press

Flannel-Lined Double-Kneed Cotton Duck Work Pants ($67.99 at
Aka the greatest single pair of pants ever devised by man, although quilted bib overalls are a strong runner-up.


Mind-blowing Socks ($14.50 at The Sock Hop)
Buy the artist in your life the things they are not going to buy themselves. High up on that list are items such as pants and socks. The Sock Hop is a great sock place on the LES, the guy who runs it is super-sweet and recognized my Sons of Bill shirt years ago. Here’s a pair of socks covered in Ryan Gosling’s face, in case you didn’t believe the selection is mind-blowing.


Danielle MastrionBrooklyn born and raised painter, muralist and street artist

Gift Certificates for Supplies
Artists need supplies. Gift certificates to Dick Blick, Utrecht, Low Brow Artique and Home Depot are key.

Gift Certificates for Coffee and Food
Artists love coffee and food, and are generally too busy and too messy to cook, making gift certificates to restaurants and cafes a safe bet. Xi’an Famous Foods (which has 2 locations in Brooklyn) is Anthony Bourdain approved northwestern Chinese takeout. They sell gift cards online.



Alexis Neiderpainter and print maker who deconstructs conventional forms. Check out her solo exhibit Cakes at Bija Gallery in Clinton Hill through January 31.

A Set of 5 Bamboo Brushes ($18.59 at Dick Blick Art Supplies)
Many artists love to receive materials or experiences that are slightly out of their realm of expertise. Using things that are unfamiliar gives art-making a sense of playfulness rather than the seriousness it sometimes takes on in one’s own medium. Last year, my friend Suzanne gave me a package of Chinese ink brushes. They were so fun to use and felt so different from my oil paint brushes.


Glass Beads for texture ($9.50 from New York Central Art Supply)
I would give an artist a material that is slightly unfamiliar to his or her practice, because along with that physical gift comes knowing that he or she will likely experience the joy of working with a material for the first time.


benjamin heller

Benjamin Hellercross disciplinary artist. with works shown across the country, with local appearances at the Brooklyn Museum, Fresh Window and Eyebeam

MoMA Membership ($85.00 at MoMA or here)
…is the one I’d pick. It comes with free tickets to all of the film screenings at MoMA, the Ps1 Warmup summer parties, and of course unlimited entrance to exhibits at both MoMA and MoMA Ps1 in LIC.

Bric-a-brac from Brooklyn Junk
Years ago a friend of mine gave me a really unique african mask carved from wood. At the time I didn’t understand why they were giving it to me, but it has become an important image to me and hangs in my studio…they could see something in it I couldn’t quite see yet. Brooklyn Junk in Williamsburg is the perfect plethora of various vintage items, paraphernalia and art.

Krups Electric Kettle ($49.99 on Amazon)
Every studio needs a really nice teapot. 

Previously in our gift guide: 5 of Brooklyn’s funniest people tell you what to buy a comedy nerd3 of Brooklyn’s smartest literati on what to get a book worm4 Brooklyn film pros on what to buy a cinemaphile3 Brooklyn fashion mavens on what to buy the fashionista in your life

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