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

Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

Doug McCallum claims he can build the line for the $1.65 billion already committed to light rail

Police dog helps apprehend ‘prolific’ property crime offender near Surrey, Langley border

Douglas Holmes, 47, has been charged with break and enter of a business on the Langley Bypass

VIDEO: Crooks use truck, sledgehammer to break into Langley stores

Thieves have hit two Brookswood stores in commercial burglaries in the last month.

COMMUTER ALERT: Serious pedestrian crash closes Pacific Highway

Traffic along 176th Street, 4th to 8th Avenue, is blocked while Mounties continue to investigate.

Marcel Dionne to appear at the Legends Banquet at the Langley Events Centre

Hockey Hall of Famer is one of several NHL greats slated to attend

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Friends describe murder victim as ‘most caring guy we knew’

Jagvir Malhi of Abbotsford was not involved in gangs or criminal activity, they say

John Horgan shrugs off low turnout, change to referendum option

‘No’ proportional representation group says voting should be extended

Two more government pot shops to open in Kamloops

Two private applications are also in the queue to come before city council by the end of the year

2 B.C. men charged after allegedly stealing $1,400 worth of butter

The two men, ages 23 and 25, are facing charges of theft under $5,000, Coquitlam police said

Invasive fire ants join the tourist swarms at Hawaii Volcano National Park

Invasive species found at popular tourist destination

Ten-year sentence for man convicted of B.C. belt-strangling death

Shayne McGenn guilty of manslaughter in 2016 death of David Delaney, 63

Most Read