Noticing the unnoticed

Street artist

Noticing someone’s passion.

When you see an artist selling their paintings on the sidewalk, or a street busker playing his guitar behind his collection hat, have you noticed what goes through you mind about them?  Does your brain register their existence at all?  What attitudes, judgments or preconceptions does your brain bring to the situation?

These questions likely have not been considered by most people.

In recent months, I have been thankful for discovering my favourite independent Canadian film, Hit n Strum, (which is currently playing on SuperChannel!) about a business woman who hits a homeless street busker with her car, and how she deals with her guilt. I have been thinking about why this film has meant so much to me, and I have realized it is because it has opened my eyes to people who put themselves out there, how people ignore them and how that must make them feel.  And in particular, how it has helped me dispel some of my preconceptions that I am happy to dispel.

Two weeks ago, I was walking along Vancouver’s seawall and came upon an artist who does lovely art work in coloured pencil. We engaged in a stimulating conversation about his experience with people in viewing his artwork, or not. He told me how he can be out in the hot sun all day, displaying his work, and sometimes only have one person buy his art in the entire day. He charges only $45 per piece. Thousands of people will stroll buy him and not even notice him. He went on to say how much he appreciated simply dialoguing with people about his work. In his case, he doesn’t do this for the money, he does this to share his passion with others, but he seems hurt when people just don’t care.

Last week, I was in Whistler where a street busker program is being piloted.  I spent time I never previously would have, stopping at each busking site to really pay attention to their performance and feeling their passion.

So having opened my eyes to paying attention to people often overlooked has not only brought me more joy, but I hope it brings joy to these artists as well.

One small way to take time, be present and enjoy life more in our busy western lives.


4 thoughts on “Noticing the unnoticed

  1. Awesome post Wendy! Thanks for this. It reminded me that some of the best conversations I have had are with small artists and vendors – sometimes I have made purchases and sometimes not. But either way, the conversation was great. And I always learn something. I try to remember to thank them for their time and for sharing their art. As someone who hasn’t always chosen to “work” in the field I was trained, I certainly appreciate your story about the colleague in the mail room. It’s easy to make judgements about people when we eliminate personal conversation.

    • Hello Elanna,

      Thank you! I’m glad the post helped you notice the appreciation you had of your interactions. Just think of the joy you had brought to the artists and vendors you were talking to, and the joy you cultivated within yourself. It’s often those little experiences that mean so much in life.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, and have a wonderful day.

  2. Another wonderful post. I am always amazed by the talent that is out on the streets, people just trying to etch out any kind of living. I am fortunate to have stopped and purchased a few amazing things over the years and am grateful for your insight into all those that don’t necessarily make there way with a nine to five job.

    • Thanks Grasshopper. I have a better understanding these days about not judging what people choose to do for their ‘work’. I once worked with a fellow who had a Masters degree (I forget in what discipline), and chose to work in the mail room of a large insurance company. He was happy doing that and didn’t want any other job. He always had a smile on his face.


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