Downtown's poster child for the arts may be Roosevelt Row, but the true homegrown creativity is found on its streets -- like Fifth and Sixth -- which spider off the main drag, looking like little more than quiet neighborhood stretches.
It's in these homes, often boasting colorful public art themselves, that you'll find one of the city's coziest beer and wine bars, treasure troves of vintage designs, and, starting this week, a competitive supply of spray paint.
Fifth Street Paint Supply officially opened its doors this past weekend, after nearly two months of construction. The 600-square-foot shop is housed in the front rooms of a one-story home on Fifth Street's east side -- a home owned by prominent Valley muralist J.B. Snyder. A home where he still sleeps at night.
Snyder, 31, and his friend and business partner, Jeff Hoopes, 27, moved into the house at 915 North Fifth Street in December 2012 -- the former location of the Long House art gallery, owned by Matt and Leslie Yazzie. Today, the house is one of the only still-lived-in homes on a block where the neighbors have been converted to bookstores, printing shops, and joint coffeehouses and crêperies.
Sunday's grand opening party, thrown by resident party planner Quincy Ross, drew upwards of 300 people to the side street from 2 to 7 p.m. There was a barbecue and live music and art -- doubling as a painting party. Snyder and eight of his fellow artists finished wrapping a 53-foot semi-truck as part of the Fifth Wheel Project, a nation-wide event out of Denver, Colorado, featuring 20 semis all repainted by artists from across the country.
Three months ago, and certainly a year ago, remnants of a massive Quincy party would still clutter Snyder's home the day after. Crushed cans of Tecate or Pabst Blue Ribbon might be found in the corners, strewn beside discarded cigarette packs and clear cups.
Instead, the crevices of the store were clean and polished the Monday night after. A half-smoked pack of American Spirits sat on the floor between Snyder and Hoopes as the sound of a live jazz band at Lost Leaf wafted across the street through open doors. It seemed like any number of quiet nights spent in the front room of one's home as the clock neared midnight -- except this time Snyder was not only sitting in his living room, he was sitting in his business.
The idea of starting their own paint supply store predates the house, Snyder says, tracing it back to at least four years ago when he quit the workforce and began painting professionally full-time. To collect the striking spray paint he uses in his own work, Snyder shopped heavily at Wet Paint art supply in Tempe before it closed in 2012 -- a relationship he fostered after being the resident artist at Yucca Tap Room's Blunt Club.
More often than not, the paint process relied on custom web orders from companies that were hard to find in Phoenix, and certainly impossible in the downtown area -- the same companies Fifth Street Paint Supply now proudly brings to the public.
The store specializes in selling Montana Colors, a 20-year-old company based out of Barcelona, Spain, with product names like "Hardcore," "Alien," and "94." They're the only paints Snyder uses in his own murals around town because the vibrant colors are high-gloss and don't fade in the sun. Individual spray paint cans will run between $6 to $8 depending on the particular type, while discounts are available for purchases of 12 or 24 cans and wholesale prices for 50 cans or more.
The supplier also sells Glop Ink, a local company, featuring 12 vibrant colors at $10 per eight-ounce bottle, Krink markers, ranging from $8 to $15, and Painters Touch multi-purpose spray paint, at $4.50 per can or 10 for $40. Custom ordering is available for any products -- and encouraged. Both men want to be seen as a one-stop shop for Valley artists, particularly those in the thriving downtown mural scene.
Top sellers tend to be black and white paint, which Snyder assures he is fully stocked with. Poppy colors like reds and oranges and pastel hues tend to be pretty popular, Hoopes said, so the two plan to have plenty in store.
For patrons who admire art but can't produce much more than stick figures, the shop doubles as a retail hub for local jeweler Mother of Gideon, designed and created by Seth Fainkujen and Charis Elliott, and messenger bags from Red Naim Bags -- created by graffiti artist NAIM, who won the New Times Best Graffiti Artist in 2013. The location also sells the full lines of Pyramid Country by J.J. Horner -- who also runs the Compound in Tempe, Soldierleisure street wear, and cycling-themed clothing from The Heavy Pedal. The latter opened their own retail house in downtown's warehouse district last month and enlisted Snyder for that project, where he painted the sizeable fitting room inside the shop in his signature style.
Construction on Fifth Street Paint Supply began in December, with the help of Zachary Dean Glover, the duo's other business partner. All the wood in the shop -- from the paint racks to the baseboards -- is repurposed from abandoned pallets and donated scrap wood from the Phoenix Art Museum.
Snyder and Hoopes plan to use the ample wall space as a gallery for shows from well-known local artists. The two want to reach out the community through regular workshops and monthly daytime events, as well as rotating quarterly art shows with never-before-seen pieces.
With the store built, Snyder can focus on completing some painting of his own. In addition to a handful of projects, he's putting the finishing strokes on large-scale mural pieces on neighboring Sixth Street and a major project off Third and Roosevelt Streets, in collaboration with Angel Diaz, Tato Caraveo, and Djentrification.
He shows no signs of slowing down, and plans to keep creating art in his home during the supply store's business hours -- after all, his studio and workshop is literally on the other side of the wall, redefining the tired adage of a live-work space.
"I like having the store here because while we're working at the shop, we can continue to paint," Snyder says.
Fifth Street Paint Supply is open daily from noon until 11 p.m. at 915 North Fifth Street in downtown Phoenix. Visit www.fifthstreetpaintsupply.com.
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