Graffiti focused art supplier Art Primo is coming to Capitol Hill


Seattle-based art supplier Art Primo is bringing its “world’s largest” selection of graffiti supplies to Capitol Hill this fall.

The company did not return our calls or emails about the new store but the signs are already going up and work has been underway inside the small shop. There is no publicly announced date for the start of business.

UPDATE: Similar to its San Francisco location and former Georgetown space, Primo will also serve as an art gallery for veteran and up-and-coming street artists. Primo’s new curator Liz Suman told CHS the store and gallery will hold its grand opening October 9th to coincide with Capitol Hill Art Walk. The Halloween-themed show Fright Night will feature work from some artists familiar to Capitol Hill, including Baso Fibonacci and Jesse Brown. Suman said the space will also hold regular gallery hours.

Primo, which primarily operates online, recently closed its Georgetown storefront and began outfitting the facade of their new digs on the 400 block of E Pine. The short-lived Essence Wine Shop, which shuttered in August, was the last tenant to occupy the space.

“Primo wanted to up their presence in Seattle and push the gallery component,” Suman said. “A lot of the artists live and work on Capitol Hill, so it seemed like a good idea to have a more central location.”

(Image: CHS)

The parking kiosk in front of Primo has already been improved by area street artists (Image: CHS)

According to Primo’s website, the online store is a one-stop-shop for “graffiti, aerosol, spray paint, street art, sticker, stencil, industrial, home improvement, and DIY projects.”

While Capitol Hill is an extraordinarily street art-friendly community, there has been increasing interest in the business community for greater investment in clean-up and graffiti removal in the area — especially in the Pike/Pine neighborhood.

Primo, which opened its online store in 2003, will be Capitol Hill’s only independent art supplier, joining national chain Blick Art Supplies, which swallowed E Pike’s Utrecht last year to make way for a high-end Starbucks roastery.

In the comments below, Suman says Art Primo is planning to be a space that will focus on cater to emerging artists. “AP plans on the new location being a positive new space for young artists to show their work in addition to an art supply retailer, especially given the recent closings of so many galleries on the Hill,” she writes. More below.

Art Primo celebrates its grand opening with the art show “Fright Night” on October 9th, 6 PM at Art Primo, 415 E Pine St. RSVP at apfrightnight@gmail.com

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82 thoughts on “Graffiti focused art supplier Art Primo is coming to Capitol Hill

  1. I can’t wait to start tagging the crap out of that place. I hope they will sell sandpaper so I can etch their windows as well.

  2. Great, just what we need…..enabling graffiti vandals to do more of it. Sheesh!

    “Street art” (such as murals) is one thing, but most graffiti is just trash, and the latter predominates in our neighborhood.

    • If you notice, a lot of Seattle murals in ‘graffiti’ style have Art Primo logos on them. So while there is a stigma that they are ‘graffiti..grr..bad’ I hope having them closer to the city encourages more AP sponsored ‘graffitit, yay’ style murals.

      • I agree with Aretha. The murals are great and some of the other works are legitimate art rather than graffiti. I hate the defacing of porous brick buildings (such as what occurred to Gilda’s Club before the volunteers put that terrific mural on the side of the building) but I see Clean Scapes out cleaning off a lot of the nuisance stuff. And these supplies can be purchased just about anywhere else so, lighten up.

      • I like the murals too. But I would say that only a small number of “other works” are “legitimate art.” Cleanscapes only takes care of trash graffiti in very limited areas….mostly along Broadway from Roy to Denny.

    • If I’m going to be surrounded by dull concrete columns, brown corrugated siding, and fake brick facades, I’d rather they be covered with the kind of deliberately cultivated non-sense you call “trash” than remain visually silent. For the most part, it’s not put there to give you something nice to look at. They’re puzzle pieces of someone’s experience and deserve at least that much recognition, even as they’re being scraped and scrubbed away.
      The involved murals are actually harder for me to appreciate, because they’re so intrusive and precious that they’re guaranteed to dominate the visual space well after everyone “gets it”.

      • “Puzzle pieces of someone’s experience”? Give me a break…..it’s ugly vandalism, pure and simple. I agree that a lot of the new buildings are constructed with cheap/unattractive materials, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to deface them. And by the way, tagging is illegal, but apparently you don’t care about that.

      • Calhoun just because you don’t understand graffiti doesn’t mean we all have to be intellectually drug down to your level. You sound like a channel 9 infomercial some asshat made about anti vandalism in the 90s..

      • I really don’t care. Graffiti is as old as cities, and every real city will have graffiti. Illegal? Well sure, but so are things like criticizing governments or religious leaders in other places. When so many kinds of people and ideas live so close together, there’s going to be a spray of expression and exchange on any available medium. Trying to limit or ban it is about as meaningful as banning cusswords and rude gestures. It’s a mode of communication that’s never going to go away. If you think it can, well then maybe you don’t really *live* in a city in the first place. Don’t like it? Scrub it off and enjoy your petty, temporary dominion over someone’s temporary expression. As long as anyone has anything to tell the world, no matter how miniscule and nonsensical, you’re not going to win.

      • Graffiti is not a “mode of communication.” It is a pathetic effort on the part of losers to get some attention. They don’t have “anything to tell the world.” You can condone it if you want, but my guess is that the majority of residents find it as obnoxious as I do.

      • Uh, Dean dear, you are incredibly naïve if you believe that there is no gang activity in Capitol Hill. Look at the shootings and the guns that were rounded up recently. The crime is coming to areas where it is profitable and moving up from the Central District and other areas, most especially now that there are so many new bars and nightclubs.

        Do some research before you call others dumb. The bubble letters are graffiti artists and the silly stuff may be kids but an awful lot of this stuff is not harmless. Believing that 13 year olds are responsible for most of the graffiti is comparable to believing that 13 year olds are also committing the robberies that are so prevalent around Cal Anderson. Wake up, dumbie.

  3. I saw it take over New York City in the 80’s, and today many parts of Paris and Rome swim in the shit.
    Great, just what we need here in Seattle, more graffiti.

    • Maybe we should just throw in another luxury condo there. Let’s drive up the rent in the neighborhood and force every artist, musician, and small business owner out. Because that’s what we’re all really looking for right? A safe boring walk to the Amazon campus. Dumbass!

    • Exactly. You think the children responsible for the majority of tagging will be able to afford anything in that store? It will be gone with in the year. This type of weird niche store belongs in a place like Portland.

      • Manny, you couldn’t be more wrong! The graffiti movement continues to grow and spread as we move forward in time. Believe it or not, but plenty of artists and graffiti writers have real jobs and can easily afford the supplies Art Primo offers. Sorry, they’re here to stay.

    • most of these kids have respect for local businesses, some dont but AP has been around for years and they are a great store. Maybe you should talk to target about selling digital scales and ziploc bags too

  4. I other news, a new razor blade and knife store will open next to the elementary school…c’mon in to the grand opening celebration for free balloons and hot dogs for the kids. Featuring Krusty the Clown and Hello Kitty switchblades!

    • I am a small business owner and plan on opening a mugging store specializing in Razor Blades, knives and Nickel filled socks….Thanks for all your great suggestions! Please follow up with your e-mail so I can add you to our mailing list and invite you to our opening.

      • Ok so let me get this clear , you guys think that art and graffiti are the same as getting cut with a razor or jumped and beaten with nickel filled socks??? Do you realize how small minded you are? Or how downright idiotic you sound? Carry on , this is entertaining to say the least.. Especially you Calhoun, you seem to think that pastel cookie cutter condos and perfectly immaculate city streets are a goal to reach. I have news for you , part of living in a city is accepting the fact that all types of people are together in these neighborhoods. You will never stop homelessness, Drugs or violence etc. Just like other people (not yourself I’m sure) will never stop Starbucks , Chase , Condo builders etc.
        Hating on a mom and pop art store that is here to promote public art and host art shows involving local talent is totally asinine ..

  5. these folks are great – and their coming to Capitol Hill brings back a little of our old street cred – remember Fallout Records down on Olive Way – in the Montana stretch?

  6. As someone who’s for over a year had the job of removing “art” from the retaining wall of my Capitol Hill condo building, I fully intend to set this shop on fire.

    I support art and artists. Graffiti is act of aggression by assholes masquerading as social commentary.

    • What a little bitch! Because you had to remove graffiti from your fucking condo you’re going to burn a business down that supports creative expression in public. We need more graffiti and less big business advertising in public places. Don’t like it? Move! You’re probably some whining transplant from a dull suburb in CA. Do us all a favor and burn your condo down while you’re inside!

      • What a mean, immature comment! Most graffiti is not “art” or “creative expression,”……it’s trashy vandalism, and illegal.

        And before you accuse me of being a “whining transplant,” I’ve lived almost my whole life in Seattle, and most of it on Capitol Hill.

      • Art is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t like graffiti and think it’s idiotic and cartoonish. That said, when someone illegally graffitis private property it is no longer art, it is vandalism. There are plenty of places for these so called “artists” to showcase their art. Also, the city requires property owners to remove this alleged “Art” within a certain amount of time or face stiff fines. So if you don’t have the respect for the law to get permits and permission from the property owner, you’re not an artist, you’re a criminal. Plain and simple as that.

    • And maybe some people consider your new condo building an act of aggression to the neighborhood. Maybe someone should threaten arson against it. Or not because that would be asinine just like your post and attitude.

  7. Hi Bryan,

    I’m curating the first art exhibit at the new Art Primo space on Pine and we returned your call yesterday but didn’t hear back from you. The first show is a group exhibit that will open October 9th and feature new work from some really talented local artists and I’d love to tell you more about it if you’re interested. AP plans on the new location being a positive new space for young artists to show their work in addition to an art supply retailer, especially given the recent closings of so many galleries on the Hill. We’re excited to be here and share the space with the public next month. Feel free to call me back if you’d like to talk more.

    – Liz Suman

    • All of these people (apparent business owners) that are threatening vandalism and arson on a small business are ridiculously funny to me. Do you guys know that Blick , Utrecht and most all other shops sell graffiti supplies? I doubt that because you probably aren’t artists or have a clue about the current art movement, nor do you care . Art Primo has helped fund tons of local art murals and is a great alternative to the other larger stores I mentioned. It must be really easy to take your bottled up hatred for vandalism and blame it on a small art supply business because the word Graffiti was involved. Graffiti isn’t just one thing.. Educate yourself before ranting or take your whining someplace else

      • Current “Art Movement”? LOL, which has been going on for at least the last 20 years I’ve lived here and pretty much happens in every community on earth. There is nothing more significant or interesting about the current “art movement” on Capitol Hill or Seattle than there is about my morning bowel movement.

      • You obviously don’t care about art or give “a crap” about young artists in your community .. So why are you even on this thread? To talk shit and feel important? If you really loved cap hill like your screen name says you would recognize that art is an important part of our community and should be respected not compared to the shit you took this morning .. Talking down on Seattle’s art population/culture must make you feel so big.. And if you didn’t know there was an art movement then you need to get out more

  8. Dick Blick has been selling all the same brands/products for the most part. Yet they do nothing for the arts community. You all sound like you watched Wild Style after it popped up in your Netflix cue.

    Fight the real enemy.

    • “Man, I saw your female with them, too. What’s up with her? I hear that she’s been giving that stuff out to all them graffiti guys.”
      “Yo, shut the fuck up, Chico, man!”
      “I’d paint three of those murals for some of that ass.”

  9. Because it isn’t real art unless you sell it for profit. I have a feeling AP will have no problem keeping their doors open since most of their sales are online. And all of you people comparing graffiti to violent crimes are imbeciles. AP is an awesome store with a great staff!!

  10. Most of these coments are outlandish to say the least. In the Thirty years I’ve lived in seattle that’s the one thing that I’ve noticed that has not changed, and probably will not change. I mean you can probably get “graffiti” supply’s in a stones throw from any neighborhood in seattle. I’m not seeing enough support on local business here, hell it could be another Starbucks. And let’s not forget about the crime feature of this website, there is almost a shooting, robbery, or theft every week. Let’s clean up those trust fun hippies on pike with there dogs crapping all over the sidewalk. How about the overly accessible drug problem on Capitol Hill. While we’re at it let’s ban the sale of alcohol. What I’m trying to say is this is going to be an ongoing “problem” with or without this store opening.

  11. This is a great addition to Capitol Hill… yay Art Primo! Art Primo was a major sponsor of the large-scale murals on the Red Wall (future site of the light rail station) and other murals around the city as well as supporting youth and street art scenes. Shouldn’t we as a ‘community’ be welcoming a locally-owned small business, esp. one geared towards the art and art-making (yes Arts District!)?

  12. Well, if it improves the artistic quality of the graffiti that shows up regularly on my building, more power to them! All kidding aside, I doubt it will make a difference in the amount of graffiti in the neighborhood. I just hope they are able to make a go of it with the assumedly ever-climbing rents in the area.

  13. I hope all the new, pretty condos get mobbed to hell. I hope all your shiny, new cars get scribed. caphill was an awesome place once upon a time. it sickens me to see it now. hardly any of the original buildings are left. many of the niche, independent businesses are around. it’s a damn shame. the hill once had a vibe to it that was like none other. now it’s square boxes stacked on top of square boxes. skinny jeans, black rimmed glasses and Starbucks cups. the ignorance in the comments above is unmatched. a permanent marker can be bought from a corner market. a rock can be picked up off the ground. the same amount of damage can be caused with those two items than $1000 worth of supplies from Art Primo. that new, fancy target has enough tools, paint, markers and ink to cover pike and pine all the way up to madison. gangs!? I can’t remember a time in the last 25+ years that I’ve seen legit gangs or gang graffiti downtown or on the hill. hell, these hasn’t ever even been a ton of tagging or bombing. not compared to LA, NYC or SF. if there was gang graffiti you’d have a whole hell of a lot of more problems than graff. if Art Primo only sold brushes and traditional paint would you be so upset? I thought not…

    • It sounds like you have some degree of envy for those “pretty condos” and “shiny new cars.” They have as much of a right to be in our neighborhood as old, decrepit buildings and derelict cars. Why all the hate for people who get a college degree, work hard, and earn a decent income?

  14. On very rare occasions, I pass a light pole or a section of the sidewalk that has some clever graffiti. Sadly, 99% of graffiti is just tagging and it is crap. I also have to question the mindset of a person or group who would tag the building of a nonprofit organization like Gilda’s Club. They are trying to help people with cancer and are forced to spend limited resources on cleaning up graffiti? That is really lame.

    Another point about graffiti (at least in the Central Area) is that it definitely can be gang affiliated. Our neighborhood gang tagged constantly to set up their territory. Members from other gangs in the south end of the city would come and deface the local gang’s tags. The two gangs then got into verbal and physical altercations over it. Eventually, one of those gang members was convicted of shooting and killing someone not far from my home. So, I do think most graffiti sucks.

  15. Why do all of you people live in Capitol Hill and not Bellevue? Assuming it’s the culture of the area, which obviously includes the art you see around you. Art is representative of it’s surroundings. Capitol Hill is a beautiful, dirty, effed up little (ever-decreasing) footprint of this city. Don’t whitewash what brought you here in the first place.

  16. This is a funny thread. “Graffiti is mindless tagging by vandals!” “NO, graffiti is fine art! It’ll restore our street cred!”

    It’s both! Your fine artists will be able to stock up on supplies to make their amazing murals. Then the taggers will be able to get their sprays and pens there to write Spring Break or Shitbarf all over those murals. Then they’ll put stickers on them that they stole from the post office and drew on. I don’t predict an uptick in murals and property damage, but it’ll be easier to get the supplies.

  17. WOW. This tread is scary.

    To the bar owner…. how about we come around and throw up all over your sidewalk or have a bunch of screaming drunken girls yelling in front of your house at 2-3 am.
    The product you push is way worse that art supplies. It supplies felony DUIs and way too many deaths than art or graffiti.

    And threatening ARSON?!? Whats up psycho?

    Between this and the comments about skateboarders on the I anon, at the stranger. I just cant believe what goes on in your minds. You people need real help.

    AP is going to be a great addition taking back a piece of the hill that has been lost over the last few years.

  18. These ignorant ,god fearing , art hating, apodment living, Martha Stewart watching , small business aposing , haters that just moved here from some “clean” no crime environment are obviously not from capital hill and don’t realize that it has always been decorated with art, tags,concert posters,street musicians,and generally colorful people and things to look at,. You should worship the ground that art primo walks on, . Need I remind you that all of our early ancestors were “tagging” their names and pictures of animals on cave walls a million years ago.? Are you against evolution or are you really as stupid as you sound ?

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