Ever since I started actively painting back in 2009, I get asked this question a lot. There aren’t many art supplies store in the Klang Valley area, partly due to the miniscule art scene here. Most of the stores open near local art colleges to capture the ready market. Of course, if you’re looking primary school watercolour or poster colour sets you can find them in any of the thousands of stationery store across the country. Even bookstores sell them. What I’m talking about here are supplies for fine art like professional grade watercolours, oil and acrylic paints, primers, canvas, etc.
So here’s a short list below. It is by no means complete, these are the ones I know of or frequent.
Top floor of Gardens MidValley, next to Borders (03 2284 7777)
If you want a place with the widest and most comprehensive selection, head to Mid Valley. Don’t be fooled by the kiddie craft products out front, head to the back of the store for the serious stuff. They have many brands of BOTH student and professional grade watercolour/oils/acrylics, paper, canvas, everything. I even found a bottle of masking frisket here. On the down side (besides being impossible to find parking after 11am on weekends in MidValley) is the price. What do expect when you are trying to keep up the rent in Gardens? Another complaint – the staff don’t know much about art.
But still, best place to get hard to find stuff.
Nanyang Art Supplies
136 Jalan Petaling, KL (03 2078 7066)
Venus Art and Stationery
90 Jalan Petaling, KL (03 2072 8807)
I’ve been to Venus, but not Nanyang. Both are old school stores in Chinatown, been around for decades. Venus has a good range of paints and paper, but not really cheap.
Ground floor of Central Market, fronting Jalan Hang Kasturi (03 2031 9122)
My architect friend says there are a few art stores within Central Market (Pasar Seni), but T-Square is the only one I’ve been to. Quite limited choice, but they have full range of Winsor & Newton colours.
Vision Art & Stationery Suppliers
3 Jalan PJS 11/28 Bandar Sunway, opposite Public Bank, behind One Academy
Quite a small store, but they have 300gsm paper and loose watercolor tubes. Finding a parking space here is damn near impossible.
Penline Art Supplies Sdn Bhd
26, Jalan 52/4, New Town PJ (03 2142 5248)
14, Jalan BP 3/11, Bandar Bukit Puchong (03 8062 1809)
My favorite shop. the owners are friendly, and stuff is cheap. They used to be in Mayang Jaya before moving to Puchong when Limkokwing moved out.
Incidentally, there was a huge (and popular) art store in Mayang Jaya called Win’s Art, but it has since closed down due to the owner passing on. There’s also another one in Melawati called Kok Art & Craft (facing the MRR2 next to CIMB), although I haven’t been there in years so I can’t remember much about it.
Update April 2012
I’ve been actively looking for more shops in different parts of the Klang Valley, and found a few more.
How could i miss this in the first place? They’ve been around since the 60’s and have recently moved down the street in Telawi to a bigger unit. I’d say they’ve got the best fine art selection – i daresay even better than Art Friend. They’ve got Royal Talens, Pebeo, Daler-Rowney and Windsor & Newton. Best selection of canvas. They have a branch in Kajang.
1 & 3 Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar (03 2287 7699)
53-56 Jalan Tun Abd Aziz, Kajang (03 8737 0699)
Highest concentration of art stores anywhere in the Klang Valley, servicing the art college in the town centre here. I found at least 4, three of them are really good. Three of them are actually owned by the same company (Weststar, New Weststar and The Art Shop) They are all around the same street of Jalan Negara. Just go in one of them and ask around for the location of the others if you can’t see them.
Cheapest prices in town, and they even have tools for sculpting, pottery and carving.
325 Jalan Bandar, Taman Melawati (03-4147 7288)
They have 2 branches, one in Cyberjaya Street Mall and another in Section 2 of Shah Alam (formerly known as Nelson Art). I’ve not been to the latter, but the one in Cyberjaya is very well stocked in China made paints (acrylic, watercolor and paper of all different sizes. They don’t carry professional grade paints of any kind though.
If you are stuck in Ipoh and desperately need some supplies, check out
Media & Paper Marketing
55 Jalan Mustapha Al-Bakri, formerly Clare Street. Opposite this famous kaya puff shop.
Actually this shop is quite awesome and cheap, and the owners are quite knowledgeable about their stuff.
Outside the Klang Valley, I can’t comment much (but I do know there are NO art shops in Melaka!) but I’m pretty sure there are many good ones in Penang, since most of our talent painters come from there.
Online stores – to my knowledge, there aren’t any online stores in Malaysia and Singapore, but I frequent two good ones based in the US to check prices – DickBlick.com and Utrecht Art (i found this place from watching Work of Art: The Next Great Artist).