If San Francisco had a supply shop for alchemists, it would probably look a lot like Sinopia. This little store on the edge of the Mission is stocked with bottles and powders from around the world. The merchandise? Pigments of all shades and hues. Artists, artisans and art restoration experts mix these colors with oil or other binders to create paints or add an extra burst of color to their projects.

Watch the video above to hear Sinopia owner Alex Warren talk about his passion for collecting pigments and describe some of the rarer ones found on his shelves.

Sinopia Goes Global with Color from Mission Local on Vimeo.

Join the Conversation


  1. I LOVE Sinopia, and even though I have no need for pigments I’ve bought a bunch just to put on a shelf and look at.

    I hope they survive. But I worry because the landlord could make lots more cash if a restaurant that sells $18 dishes of pasta went in there.

  2. Something to keep in mind with traditional pigments is safety: many of the brightest/deepest colors have heavy metals in them or other toxic chemicals. I like what Sinopia does, and have purchased their products in the past, but found out after the fact that the products were not as benign as one would hope.

  3. Suppliers are required to supply material data safety sheets (MSDS’s) that give limited info re paint/pigment ingredients. MSDS’s also state what safety precautions, such as gloves, respirators, etc, should be used. Businesses that stock/use paint/pigment are required to have these MSDS’s, accessible to their employees.

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