There are two modern definitions of what a “Hawker” is.
The FIRST, and more common definition, refers to the vendors that sell their goods and wares on the streets and sidewalks.
The SECOND, equally important, and original definition refers to: the art and practice of hunting with a trained hawk or falcon (also called falconry).
You, dear artist and creator, are the hawk.
While we, with your permission, offer to take on the role of the hawker or falconer.
Our mission: to inspire, empower, and train creators to hunt with the same pride and dignity as of one of these magnificent birds.
Art Hawkers of the Past
In 20th century Japan, during the Great Depression in the 1930s, a popular form of street art and theatre flourished. This artform was called the Kamishibai or “Paper Theater”.
Kamishibai involved the use of different sets of illustration boards, and a device that looked almost like a miniature stage or theater.
The storyteller would then narrate the story with the boards serving as visuals for the audience, and then switch the boards every now and then, as though one were turning the pages of a picture book.
At a period in history where many of the Japanese people were suffering from economic depression, they took to the streets to seek out a way to live on day after day after day.
The Kamishibai was one such venture for Japanese artists and storytellers to make a daily living.
During the Second World War, the Kamishibai had become an even more integral part of Japanese society and culture. One of the reasons this was so was because the paper theaters were easy to transport from place to place, between devastated neighborhoods and even bomb shelters.
Through the paper theater, Japanese cultures and values were carried over. The artform presented to the people a deeper understanding of the periods plight and psyche, and was a means through which the Japanese youth would be able to cope with all the struggles that befell them.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about the Kamishibai art form is the simple fact that despite their presence being alive during a period of depression, it was found that in 1933 there were about 2,500 Kamishibai in Tokyo alone. Each one of these storytellers performed an average of ten times a day to an audience of up to 30 children. For these street artists and storytellers, then, the Depression years would have been their most prosperous years.
The Modern Day Street Artist
One thing to take away from the Kamishibai art form is the kind of persistence, perseverance, and tenacity that these artists and storytellers had in using their gifts and talents to make a living.
With no jobs available and hardly any money in their pockets, the Kamishibai took to creating the kind of art and stories they were born to create, and then marched through the streets of Japan sharing these stories with the nation’s children.
These days, the road to building an audience of readers and fans is paved through the information highways of the Internet. To put it bluntly, today is the arguably THE BEST time to be an artist. The only thing needed for your work to be seen and shared by millions of people is access to the internet.
It is our goal and our mission, then, to de-mystify and systematize this process as best we can.
The Hawkers Project
Whether you believe it or not, the number of success stories in self-publishing is increasing.
Publishers are turning to the internet and social media for the next big thing. They’re looking at self-published authors whose works and art have captured a dedicated audience. They’re looking for artists whose followers on Facebook and Instagram have grown to the thousands.
Our mission, then, is to look into these success stories, figure out what these authors and artists did to get to where they are.
We are here to test, replicate, and breakdown the process (through our own works like I’m A Legal Alien) so that you can do the same.
Our goal is to de-mystify the creative process, to look into the habits of some of the most prolific, most talented, and most successful artists.
Our goal is to show beginning and aspiring artists that everyone goes through similar (if not the exact same) struggles. And because of these stories, it’s now possible for aspiring artists to leverage off of these experiences so that they don’t have to go through the same struggles and challenges.
Welcome to Hawkers!
We’d love it if you could join us on our quest.
Start with “Why”?
One thing we learned about the most successful and prolific creators is that they never lose sense of why they do what they do.
Because it’s not the dreams of fame and fortune that will motivate you to keep on creating. Money and recognition are the least powerful motivators of creatives.
Instead, it’s actually a strong sense of purpose that will help get over that feeling of giving up.
Here are some of the best “Why’s” our interviewees have shared with us. Hopefully, these statements will help motivate you towards telling your own stories and creating your own art.