“Tell me a story, and I will paint it for you!”
And so, after all these years, I finally made this experiment. I “sell” my art on the streets of this city.
Every painting has a story behind it, when someone buys a painting, I give them a little note of the story behind it. I never set a price for the paintings, I just ask people to give me whatever they want. Or if possible, to tell me a story of themselves and I will paint it for them.
I met people from all countries and cultures, an African woman who wants me to paint the story of her baby “Monifa”; a Greek couple who fell in love with the stories behind the artworks, an teenage girl who told me about her experience in the US which made her grow up, Spanish travelers, Chinese tourists, confused ladies who didn’t know what to give me in return, an alcoholic who thought she was Robin Hood, a bitter angry woman who thinks I am enjoying life here in Europe while all my family are suffering in China and I don’t care just because I refuse to talk about China politics with her. Many curious people asked me what I was doing, and why I am doing this here on the streets and not working as an architect (which, to their surprise, I explained that I AM actually full time working). A girl from Qatar sympathetically gave me two euros without taking any artwork, as if I was a beggar.
I can’t remember how much money I made in the end. But I DID get a handful of stories, a concert invitation, foreign currency, Emails with inspiration and support, and extremely interesting various amounts of money… and my favourite was a ring with a Bretzel on it!!
But the best thing I gained were some new friends: travelers, locals, disabled, lovers, young confused men, buskers, musicians, other artists, colleagues from work (!), and a girl who sat and read my stories in English, an Architect from Palestine who’s name, coincidentally, means “storyteller”, a man from the US army who sat with me for 4 hours, and we ended up becoming friends and spent the evening at a friend’s house talking over good wine and fresh fish.
I spoke more German than I ever did here, and I experienced perceiving the world (and being perceived) in a whole new perspective. It was interesting to see what captured people, and which art/story they like best.
But most of all, this cured me. I finally don’t shut myself in my room, driving myself crazy with thinking and obsessing. I finally stop regretting and managed to let go of my worries and my own pains. I stopped focusing on myself, and started to share more from other people’s words.
There are so many stories to discover, so many people to meet, so many opportunities to inspire and be inspired.
Thank you to those who gave me the courage to go out on the streets. And those wonderful strangers who contributed to this. And to those people and the certain traveller, who gave me the inspiration behind all these paintings.