The age old saying is: “It’s who you know”. I was never good at knowing who it was i was supposed to know. For many years I did a job that made me get to know certain people. It was a service job. I was actually pretty good at it considering I think of myself as antisocial. I provided a service, I had a routine, I was in the door made some small talk, cracked a joke and out the door to see my next customer. I did this same job, working with many of the same people for nearly eight years.
The last year of the job things changed drastically. The workload went up and the pay went down. I was more busy than I had ever been. These small interactions with my customers were quickly being lost to the numbers game. Customer service took a back seat to productivity. When i made the decision to leave I informed my customers that I was once again going to pursue art. Most were extremely surprised. They had no idea I had an artistic background. It had nothing to do with the job I was currently doing and wasn’t a very big part of my life. They were mostly excited for me and wished me success although they would miss the service I provided.
Before leaving I showed some older paintings to a cafe owner who regularly showed artwork in his place of business. This was a new experience for me as i had only done editorial assignments in my previous art life. I wanted to drop the portfolio and run. I didn’t want to try and read his facial expressions or gauge his interest as he looked at my paintings. He looked through the book made some vague remarks. “I love the colors.” I believe was one. He told me he was pretty booked but that October of 2013 was the next open date. I was floored. I was excited and nervous but felt boosted immediately. My logic was: he gets a percentage of whatever sells. So he must think something might sell.
I got my foot in the door with the who. I did have a professional relationship with this person but it also turned out to be what I did that mattered in the end. I did a completely unrelated job but the WHO from that job got me WHAT I wanted in a completely different arena.