Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Airline sticker for art supplies

Plein Air magazine created this label to explain your art supplies to TSA agents. In the comments, I'd love to hear your stories about carrying your art supplies through airline checkpoints.

17 comments:

Jeff Z said...

My bag was searched by Mexican Customs on my way back from Cabo because my small Reimincke watercolor set - with the paints in small metal tubes - looked like a pack of batteries on the xray scanner. Batteries can be part of a detonation device, so that seemed to make sense.

No idea why the US TSA didn't check it. :)

Bowlin said...

Turpentine and Paint Thinner are not allowed according to TSA, for obvious reasons.

http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/prohibited-items

Rosa said...

I'm a potter by trade and travel with minimal tools in a carry-on bag when I go to workshops. My bag is taken apart at every security point in every airport I've ever been in. I suppose needle tools and wires and carving tools, etc., look strange on x-rays if you've no experience with them.

Aline said...

I was going to a workshop with pencils, conté chalk, etc. but what stood out was my brand spankin' new Rembrandt dry pastel set. I obliged taking it out, unwrapping it and handing it over, open, for inspection until he asked what were these *really* for and moving to break them appart to see what was inside. It went something like this : "Whoawhoawhoawhoa. I'd rather you scan them again but if you want to go ahead and crush them I'm going to need your badge ID *stares at badge and memorizes name, # and checks watch for time reference"."
He looked really angry for a few seconds but chucked the box back to me and told me to **** off. Yessir! whew.

Tyler Vance said...

The TSA agent threw away a tube of white gouache on the way home from Germany. I forgot the liquid amount requirement! Not a big deal, but annoying.

Emily Anthony said...

They'll make you pull out an airbrush every time. I usually mail the paints where I'll be caricaturing, but my Iwata stays with me.

Unknown said...

This is awesome! I've had some terrible experiences with airport security and oil colors. They have a really inconsistent definition of "paint." I once had to stage a sit-in at the security line at Marseille International until they let me and my paint go.

zishen said...

I brought a few bottles of Indian Ink to USA and came back with a few other bottles of ink[Higgins Eternal]. When I reached home out of the USA, I noticed that some bottles of my ink and been opened and reclosed carelessly, causing massive spilings. Luckily I packed them in bags, but it still pissed me that the other pencils and conte in that box were all badly inkstained.

Unknown said...

I get searched every time but it's always a fun experience. Every time they start out suspicious but when I start explaining things it changes to excitement. My last transfer through Amsterdam ended in the security guards all gathering round to look through my Aubrey Beardsley edition of Le Mort D'Arthur. Made me realize they might have become security guards and police officers for the same reasons people love Malory.

James Gurney said...

Thanks for all these great stories. I've also heard to bring the tubes of paint that say "artist colors."

I always get stopped for my armored pencil box that Tony Swatton made for me because it looks really weird in X-ray. But when I get pulled over, I make a point of showing them the sketchbook, and I almost always get the same response as Unknown. They're mostly bored, wishing they were doing something creative.

redharparts said...

Just a couple weeks ago I flew within USA, with my small watercolor kit in carry on. I use a homemade tiny mint tin palette with a small amount of paint in each half pan. It went through x ray and they did want to search my backpack by hand. It might have just been a random selection. No questions or comments about my kit.

Diana Moses Botkin said...

I recently took a 2 week trip to Italy and packed mostly art supplies in my 2 bags, both of which I carried on.

I took pastels, charcoal & chalk, pencils & eraser, a tiny pan watercolor set, a tripod and my painting box that attaches to the tripod, and some oil and alkyd colours, along with paper, panels and a canvas pad. (I took very few clothes except for what I was wearing in layers on the plane!)

I was careful when packing the oils to take half-used tubes which would fit with my other liquids/gels in the 1 quart baggie. And of course, I brought NO solvents.

I figured it wouldn't be too hard to locate some paint thinner or turpentine once I was at my destination. (However, it was NOT easy to find some! I've posted a little about that on my blog lately.)

Ah... back to airport security. I also packed along the material safety data sheets (MSDS) for the oils, in case I needed them.

Everything went through the xray and security checks okay in the US and I wasn't hassled. I did get randomly pulled over to have my computer sized bag looked at during a flight switch while still in the US. The 2 security folks were actually very pleasant (even excited for me) when I explained that I was carrying mostly art supplies in that bag for an art trip to Italy.

However, in Paris they seemed a little puzzled by the pastels. I explained that I was carrying art supplies and they had the aha moment and let me through without further delay.

In 2005 my family and I flew to France. The pastels seemed to mystify the security folks on xray duty then too, but passed through when I explained that they were artist's chalks of various pigments.

My boys' football they had packed in their carry-on was quite a puzzle for them, however!

babangada r said...

thanks so much for the label. i usually print out some sort of label to put in my suitcases but this one you posted looks much more official!
i recently even had trouble with tubes of Casein paint (water soluble and with milk as the medium)! i was stalled at security for about 25 minutes while they took them off to be inspected by someone.and, finally, grudgingly, let me carry them on.
i have also had to discover places to buy some sort of solvent from Venice to Moscow to New Zealand. I wish they would make a ruling about art supplies as they do for things like guitars.

Marc Is My Hero! said...

I typically get a couple questions and funny looks from TSA agents due to my art supplies. I have never been asked to throw out my bottles of ink or watercolors. But they always seem to get a close look. The funny thing is about two years ago i went through at least 6 major airports in a pretty short time. I had to toss a few items like moisturizer but no art supplies. To my surprise, in the backpack that contained my art supplies and contraband moisturizers i found a razor sharp folding knife that i thought i had lost months prior. I had no idea it was in my bag and went through airports all over the us and eu without being flagged.

Dan said...

I've been hassled by TSA over a pencil sharpener (one of those ones made by Alvin that looks like an old fashioned inkwell), and over pencils and nib pens in a roll-up kit. Frankly, I say if you're capable of hijacking a plane using nothing but Hunt crow quill nibs, you're probably being flown by your government into global trouble spots to single-handedly destroy a supervillain's army and not flying commercial to begin with.

Meltemi. said...

I now just take my compact digital camera...
broken pastels...leaking acrylic inks...banned tubes of acrylics...even pencils being questioned!!

Diane Cutter said...

I look forward to unpacking to see if TSA has left a 'love letter' (read 'this bag has been inspected'). I've triple bagged watercolors and oils (no problems ever) but any time I travel with metal etching plates, I always have a note. The image on the scanner must be a big suspicious blank spot. Thankfully they've never taken any of my knives or cutting tools. It must be obvious that I'm an artist, not a terrorist, because the suitcase is always 2/3 full of art supplies.