Artisan by Dan Joyce
The Angel Acquaintance
One summer day in 1997, I found myself living in a group home in Pasadena. The other tenants were becoming rapidly upset with me because I kept bothering them for cigarettes, sodas and small change. Shirley Adams, the owner and manager of the house decided she would deal with the problem by gathering some of my artworks, a box to display them with and a bus token, one way. “I want you to go down to the boulevard to sell your art,” she said, “and don’t come back until you have money for your own damn stuff!”
There I began on the corner of Colorado St and Fair Oaks Blvd. trying to sell my work. Having previously checked with city hall on the legalities of street vending, I approached everyone passing by. “Hi, I’m Dan and this is my art. Hi would you like to see some of my art? Hi I’m a local artist and…” But a couple hours had passed in the summer heat and no response. Finally I became frustrated and shouted, “WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?”
A man in a fine business suit came out of nowhere and said, “You’re not doing anything wrong Dan. In fact, you’re doing it right. Just keep approaching people with your work and a certain percentage are going to buy it. It’s a numbers game. The more people you ask. The more you will sell.” With the confidence he gave me, I persisted and finally sold my first artwork with several years of business to follow. I went home that night with my cigarettes, coffee and even a hamburger and went back nearly every day. Coming up with clever skits like playing songs on my guitar while dancing or wearing a black fedora and claiming to be Dan Aykroyd from the Blues Brothers, I eventually developed a name and reputation as a Pasadena artist, street vender and entertaining street performer. That was the day my business as an artist began.
I often wonder who that man was and why he was so willing to help me out. In spiritual groups, I’ve heard stories of random people coming into our lives and changing everything for the better, but only for a brief moment do we actually know them. They are, by some religious beliefs, our angels.