Trying to get past the ‘starving artist’ syndrome at Arts Alive

The crowds are very different at car shows and art events, but both offer lots of interesting people to meet.

I have to shift gears this week. For the past two weekends, I’ve been sitting at car shows in White Rock and Cloverdale with my old truck. This next weekend I will be selling art, books and poetry at Arts Alive in Downtown Langley. Two different crowds, different conversations, but both offer a great chance to meet new people.

At the car shows, we sit under our shade canopy with an old metal Coke cooler full of pop and munchies. We discuss tires and transmissions, engines and upholstery, polish and paint jobs. People stop by and tell stories about the vehicles they had or the cars they learned to drive in.

Oldies music blasts out of DJ booths and the occasional live band livens up the afternoon. It’s noisy and often smells like rubber or exhaust, but the day ends with plaques and trophies, and we all go home happy.

Art shows or craft fairs are considerably different. The music is softer with maybe even a bit ethnic fare blended in. You can talk quietly to prospective customers with a harp or flute in the background. We talk about colour and texture, rhymes and stanzas.

It is more like a country fair, and the bright colours of the tents and vendors displays create a festival atmosphere. Here as well, we meet new people. If the day ends with a few sales, that is a bonus.

Selling is an interesting topic. This year at one of the car shows, a man walked around my truck two or three times and asked how much I would sell it for. When I told him it was not for sale, he replied, “I will pay you any price you ask.” I told him I had had the truck for a long time and I didn’t want to part with it.

This weekend I am hoping for people to buy, but in the past, not a lot of money exchanges hands over my craft fair tables. I had lunch with a professional saleswoman one day. She has sold, cars, furniture and appliances all her life and I thought she may have some tips.

Smiling, she told me that creative people make the worst sales people.

“When someone says they like your work, you have been paid whether they pay money  for it or not. Creative people need validation of their work and, to them, praise is as good as gold. Hence the term, ‘starving artist.’”

She says I have to be more aggressive. When someone sits in a chair in her showroom, she considers it sold and begins discussing colour, which room they will put it in and do they want it delivered. It becomes their chair.

When someone tells me they like the cover of my poetry book, I’m supposed to put two in a bag and start writing up their invoice. I’m still thanking them for their comment on the nice cover as they walk away without a book.

I enjoy my varied lifestyle wherein one day I’m changing engine oil and the next day I’m writing a new chapter. If the summer goes by and I still have my truck and all my books and poetry, I won’t feel bad.

The conversations I will have shared  over the summer didn’t cost a dime, but the dividends will pay off for ever. At least that’s what McGregor says.

Just Posted

Half million dollars change Langley couple’s life

Richard and Frances Laidlaw contemplate travel and moving

Liberal hopeful aims to claim candidate spot in Langley-Aldergrove

Leon Jensen was the 2015 candidate in Langley-Aldergrove.

LETTER: Fort Langley driver lobbies for roundabout signalling

ICBC rules call for drivers to signal when exiting roundabouts.

South Langley community group wants to talk innovative housing

Brookswood-Fernridge Community Association invites people to a meeting about the future of housing.

GREEN BEAT: Opening ‘new roads’ in Langley makes cycling safer

HUB Langley pushed to ‘UnGap the Map’ and create more bike infrastructure throughout the community.

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

Pedestrian killed, two injured in three-vehicle crash in Coquitlam

Road closures in effect following collision

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

COLUMN: Smart phone too powerful a tool to yank from students’ hands

Rather than ban them from schools, let’s teach kids to harness their phone’s power and use it properly

Most Read