Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In-Person Direct Sales for Introverts

I am a strong advocate of the importance of direct sales to visual artists. I am also an introvert, so I have always made the subject of personality a part of my teaching because, for people like me, personal direct sales and self-advocacy are very challenging. I teach my students to know themselves and to develop career development strategies that capitalize on their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses. I advocate for the buying or trading of support skills that you do not have and that are part of every career.

Today, I got this email from a student in my current class at Emily Carr University.
The artist I interviewed for my final assignment when I asked if there was anything she would have changed in her art practice after 30 years and she said she would have liked to change her personality so that she would have been more out going and sold herself more. I think that was a big message in your class. I didn't want to say this in class because it would preempt my presentation. Just thought you enjoy her comment.
I love sharing methodologies of other introverts who have found ways to succeed with personal direct sales and self-advocacy and recently I met two women artists at an arts and crafts fair. We got to talking together and at some point I asked them if their friendship was a result of meeting at a the fair.

"No!" they both said. They told me they had been friends for decades. They had met, in fact, in an art class and remained friends ever since and when one of them, Susan, wanted to get into having a booth at an art event, she asked the other one, Monique, to share the table. Each of them felt incapable of manning a booth and developing sales alone, but they felt it might be tolerable together.

In fact, they had a ball doing it together for many reasons and now they always enter fairs together at two side-by-side tables or booths. They do not share a single entry fee and space any more but they still have the support and encouragement of the other at every event.

"And I talk more about Monique's work, than my own," Susan said, "And she does the same for me. It's easier to gush about her than about myself."

1 comment:

  1. I like this, and it's apt given the recent closures of two more big galleries in Vancouver. I like also your recent column about this in Opus Newsletter, which I've cited in my blog. What I don't get, though, is how an artist makes any money from a charity art auction. Can you please explain? --- Janet at janetstrayer.blogspot.com

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