The front of the artist Symon's "Art Zoo" gallery.
Several art galleries are spread all over Ubud. The art market in the center of town sells mass produced paintings and souvenirs, but there are also 'serious' galleries selling the works of established artists.
Ubud has always been known as a village of painters. In the 1930s, with the encouragement of the local royal family, foreign artists and intellectuals were attracted to this bit of the 'real' Bali, giving the town an international reputation. The modern history of Balinese art can be more closely examined in the city's museums.
Galleries are spread all over town. Among them are the former homes of many artists. These include I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, Antonio Blanco and Symon (who now lives on the north shore of Bali). Walter Spies' home is now part of the Hotel Tjampuan. The major galleries include the Neka Gallery (owned by the sponsor of the Neka Museum), Agung Rai Gallery and the Seniwati Gallery of Art by Women. Prices for works at these galleries are often quite high, as is the quality.
Although it will not be to everyone's taste, a personal favorite is the artist Symon's "Art Zoo" on Raya Road just a short distance from the old suspension bridge. Symon works mostly in acrylic paint, although the occasional plastic life cast also makes up the show. Symon's subjects are almost exclusively young men in little or no clothing, although some works border on the spiritual. Everything is for sale, and there are usually some other artists at work in the studio cum gallery. Symon himself now makes his home on the north shore of Bali.
Another highly recommended stop is the gallery of Ubud-based photographer Rio Helmi. The artist has captured some truely remarkable images from around Asia and beyond. His gallery is on Suweta Street, a few steps up from the dance pavilion and Ibu Oka's roast pig shop.