Artifakt Supply sits on the last stretch of Worcester’s Pleasant Street, surrounded by a budding vibrant community of artists, thanks to Ryan Gardell and Colin Chabot. Inside, Gardell and Chabot are eager to share their vision.
Artifakt Supply’s storefront is loaded with quality spray paint and paint can nozzles or ‘paintbrushes’ as Gardell calls them. Gardell tells me, “We carry Montana or MTN brand, because that’s the best you’re going to get. Someone just getting started might not know that. If you want high quality matte finish, this is the stuff. There’s a wide variety when you are working a mural. For certain effects, you’re going to want the transversal fat cap. These are the things we can teach people, as well as offer in our store.”
There is a gallery component to the storefront, featuring a new local artist every 4-6 weeks. Gardell is proud to say that he and Chabot seek out local artists. In their gallery, the artist definitely comes first. “We are always willing to work with our artists; if something’s taking longer than planned, we will flex on dates. We just want everyone collaborating together,” says Chabot, as Gardell nods. The storefront also features streetwear including Artifakt apparel.
Visitors can explore further into the studio space where Gardell and Chabot spend time creating. The studio was previously a garage, and has an overhead gate that opens into the back lot and reveals the final portion of Artifakt: an al fresco multi-panel space for locals to practice can work and techniques. The outdoor studio has the quintessential Worcester charm, complete with traffic noises juxtaposed with a babbling stream originating from Tatnuck’s own Cook’s Pond. It is peak urban living #inspo and creates what Gardell hopes will be the haven he never had.
“We are hoping to give every muralist a chance to do things right. We know there are a lot of problems with public and private property getting tagged, and we want to offset that aspect of rule breaking when it comes to practicing street art. Now no one has any excuses. You want to practice graffiti art, great. Come here, claim a panel and get to work.” Gardell says.
Together they are already maximizing the space by offering workshops on art and wellness. Their calendar is available on their website www.artifaktsupply.com and on social media (@artifaktsupply), and even offers weekly yoga classes for the standard $15 drop-in rate. “This is truly a collaborative process. We want to connect, inspire and be inspired.” Chabot says. “We are also offering graphic design services from our back office. We take on lots of different projects at a time.”
This month Artifakt Supply & Studios will be halfway through its first year of operation and already the neighborhood feels transformed for it. While Worcester is no stranger to artists and gallery space, Artifakt is uniquely situated to serve the present and future muralists of the city.