Young in spirit
New venture will keep artist�s widow in the thick of business
At 88 years of age, most people would be comfortably settled into a life of retirement, content to watch their grandchildren grow and thrive.
Jane Carson Walker is not most people. Far from retiring, the octogenarian and widow of well-known artist Walt Walker, has just begun promoting a new business venture that she intends will provide an additional legacy for her family.
Walker is promoting her new DVD��Walking Tall: The Life and Wife of Walt Walker.�
�It�s about how to start a small business in art but it fits every category,� said Walker, whose green eyes and long silver white hair became its own trademark as she promoted her husband business.
Walker�s entrepreneurial bent is actually a family tradition, because she said her grandmother (who was a Blackfoot Indian) was selling real estate at the turn of the century in Tuscaloosa, AL. Her mother was also a businesswoman in Detroit.
Jane inherited her foremother�s entrepreneurial inclinations when she and her husband opened one of the first retail locations in Los Angels to sell African American images.
�We opened at Adams and Crenshaw selling black art in the 1950s,� recalled Walker. �(Walt) invited all the artists around to submit work to hang, and we were open everyday including Saturday and Sunday.�
From there the couple moved to 48th Street and Crenshaw, and then closer to home at 89th Street at Western Avenue.
And everywhere they went, Walker handed out cards that promoted her husband�s work. But that was just a small part of what enabled the couple to make a living selling art.
�I like people. You can�t be afraid to talk to people,� said Walker of her business philosophy. �When you talk to people, you can sell them things, if you impress them.�
Growing up in a family of six brothers and sisters, where she fell in the middle of the sibling pecking order gave another skill which has been a boon to her business activities. �I had to negotiate, that�s why I�m I good negotiator. I had to negotiate with my older sister and brothers to go with them places instead of staying with the younger ones.�
Walker�s goal with this newest venture is to provide a legacy so that her grandchildren will not have to work for anyone else. �Fifteen years before he died, my father gave us (she and her siblings) each a part of an apartment building, because he didn�t want us arguing about money, and that�s what I�m trying to do with my kids and grandkids,� explained Walker who said she also intends to sell some of her husband�s prints.
And perhaps the biggest reason Walker has started this new venture is because the feisty Inglewood resident believes in staying active physically and mentally and making a few adjustment to the pace, only when necessary.