The art comes into the world because of the raw materials. I spent a long time experiemnting and learning about tools to create art. Most artists I know have done so, or are curious to do so, and probably the best answer is always just make art with whatever you have on hand.
I do have my favorite materials though, and am happy I rarely have to think about what to use anymore.
Aluminum Composit Material (aka, DiBond)
Oil primed Linen Canvas
Acrylic Primed Cotton Canvas
I am primarily a painter so will start here. I've used a large variety of brands of oil paint most of which fall on the handmade, boutique end of the spectrum. I think that all paint you can buy today is of very high quality and so my selection now focuses on the specific handling characteristics of the paint or in seeking out a specific pigment or custom mix.
I prefer "long" paint over "short" paint which ultimately comes down to the amount of aluminum sterate added to the paint. Ideally I prefer none to be added. Long paint has a more runny quality than short paint. Some brands talk about their buttery, creamy consistency and for me I just stop reading right there. I want my paint to move where the brush asks it to go and so I seek out the most basic paint I can find.
You really can't go wrong with any of the above brands of paint.
I've got some favorite colors that always make it onto my palette. I also use three very distinct color palettes: one for general painting, one for portrait/figurative work and a third for plein air painting.
General Color Palette
Cadmium Yellow Medium