Right off the bat, let me say that I did not receive free products from the manufacturer in exchange for this review. That would have been nice, but I purchased the products that I'm going to discuss.
First, a little background, Arteza is a relatively new player in the art and craft supplies game. They were founded by Mike Koshatko and Jurgis Plikaitis in 2015 and are based out of Miami, Florida. Arteza products can be found at a number of retailers like Amazon, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby, as well as, smaller independent art supplies stores. Their mission is to "provide quality art supplies for every creative to afford." They appeared on my radar about two years ago when they came across my social media feeds with enticing offers that I could not resist. I purchased a set of 60 Arteza Acrylic Colors of (22 ml tubes) for $40.
It's an impressive box that are nicely organized by color families. All the blues are in a tray, all the reds are in a tray, etc. A few metallics are feathered in each color family too. Lots of colors! Think of the long-ago joy of opening that big box of Crayolas with 64 colors. The trays are stacked four high in two rows fitting perfectly in the box that is easily worked into any studio space. The box measures 12" L x 7" W x 6" D fitting on a desk or shelf without a taking up a big footprint.
I've used Arteza Acrylic Paint in probably a dozen multi-media projects and exclusively in two medium sized paintings. Most often, I use multiple brands and colors of paint when rendering a painting. Just focusing on the Arteza brand paints, I was pleased with the overall quality. It's a creamy medium bodied paint with good coverage. Because its sturdy bodied, it spreads like butter. The paint carries a good brush load, in another words, when you dab your brush in a dollop of paint on your palette you don't have to worry about it being too thin. Even when you purposely thin it with water, it doesn't get watered down. With so many varieties of colors, you have the opportunity to explore colors you might not ordinarily have considered. For example, if your go to red is Cadmium you might try Carmine or Cochineal.
Pros and Cons
First, the good news. Arteza is a good quality inexpensive line of acrylic paint. It's a well bodied creamy paint that comes in a large variety of colors, including metallics and pearl finishes. In addition to the boxes of 22 ml tubes, you can purchase paint in 4 oz tubes. In fact, you can create your own palette box, choosing 12 4oz tubes of whatever colors you like. I would explore using Arteza for my paint and sip classes if I could get a deal on pricing for quart or half gallon units. This product would be ideal for paint parties because the colors are so vibrant and has a quick drying time on average. The paint has generally good opacity and is easy to layer color upon color.
On the flip side, the drying time could be a detriment for an artist who tends to work more thoughtfully through their process, more so than the drying time of higher-grade acrylics like Liquatex or Grumbacher. I'd recommend using an acrylic gel medium in conjunction with the Arteza Acrylic Paint to slow down the drying process just a bit.
Another downside is the overall poor lightfastness. For those that don't know, let me explain. Lightfastness refers to the paints ability to hold its original color over time. It's how colorant, such as dyes or pigments, used to give paint a specific color can withstand ultraviolet light over time. There are two industry standards for measuring how paint color stands the test of time. One is the American Standard Test Measure (ASTM) rating and the other is the Blue Wool Scale. The ASTM rating scale is expressed in Roman Numerals from I to V, with I being Excellent and V being Very Poor. Blue Wool Scale is between 1-8, with 1 being Very Poor and 8 being Excellent. The Wikipedia table below reflects these lightfastness rating scales relative to time and exposure to sunlight under normal conditions of display: away from a window, under indirect sunlight and properly framed behind a UV protective glass.
Most paint found in your garden variety art supply store uses symbols to indicate lightfastness for marketing purposes. Arteza uses the “+” symbol on their products where + is Excellent and +++ is Fair. For + products, lightfastness can stay true for over a hundred years while +++ is likely to hold up less than fifty years. Arteza paints are mainly labelled as +++, meaning, if you're a professional artist that regularly sells work and does commissions, this is not for you. However, for student work, or in my case, paint and sip classes, a +++ rating works just fine.
Something annoying about the actual paint tubes themselves is that the caps seem faulty. The center of the caps is so thin that they tend to crack around the threaded base and pop off leaving just the threads. They still screw to the tube but since there's no longer a cover across the top of the cap, the paint is exposed to air. Exposed paint will dry out if you're not careful it will become an entire tube of a putty-like consistency. Many tubes in my set are rigged with plastic wrap in order to save a mostly unused tube of paint. Even so, you still might lose a tube if not wrapped completely.
The Final Score
Being a working artist over 35 years, I've used many types and brands of paint from expensive top performers like Golden, Grumbacher, and Windsor and Newton to craft paint like Apple Barrel and Folk Art. As a professional, I do worry about the longevity and legacy of my work. Not so much about the paint and sip catalog, as it's painted over and over and can easily be replaced or updated. It's important to me that my work outlives me, particularly the paintings of my family. To that end I wouldn't use Arteza exclusively because of its poor lightfastness. You might remedy that problem with an acrylic sealer or varnish. But again, as far as using it as student grade paint it's more than adequate. You could use Arteza acrylic in conjunction with other paints, say if you use it as an under painting. It's good for sketchbooks or to do preliminary drawings. So, on a scale of 1-5 stars, I'd give it 3 stars.
Check out Arteza paints and their many other art supplies, and let me know your thoughts.