Art Scammers

I’ve had a few weird scam attempts on me lately. Most of them were pretty obvious. Unfortunately one of them was that my Paypal was hacked. I had a terrible password and never changed it since I rarely use Paypal anymore. Seriously, get a decent password, especially on anything close to money! I knew better, and so do you.

That’s not what I want to draw to your attention, though. I want to show you this email from richardbrowwn@live.com:

Hi,
My name is Richard Brown. I lived in Dallas for twenty years before I had a recent move back to Germany. I found your profile on Google and I’m interested in purchasing an artwork from you for the beautification of my guest room. May I have a few images of your available works. You could send me your website so that I can go through them online.
Till I read back from you.
Thanks.

Richard.

I got this and was pretty skeptical to start. Found my profile on Google? Oddly generic, and especially from the email that I rarely use for any account online. And Is he just looking around for artists before looking for art? But hey, I did just sell a few pieces recently, so maybe? So I replied, keeping it generic, also making sure I don’t send him anything high res in case he plans to do something sketchy with them. Then I got this reply:

Hi Mattea,

Thanks for the email. I went through your website and found the attached work interesting. Can I  have a detailed information about the work, its availability and pricing?  As soon as we reach a concrete agreement on pricing, I can instruct my personal assistant to  process a  check to you  for the payment of the work so that my mover can have it picked up along with my properties that are to be moved to Munich.

I await your email soonest.
Regards,
Richard.
Yeah, this has all kinds of weird scamminess written all over it. Especially for little ole me. Google didn’t find anything as a direct quote from the first email, but a basic search of “art scammers” found me the awesome Stop Art Scams blog. Just a few posts down, a very similar sounding scam was written up with countless other people with their versions.
Another site I found later after googling the email address:  http://www.artquest.com/artquest/scammer-names.htm, a growing list of emails used to scam artists.
I am not sure what posting this will do, but I felt unusually violated by the scammers going after artists specifically. It’s no secret artists tend to be a special breed. We are passionate, emotional, and incredible dreamers. We really want the best and while we are often seen as pessimists, I think it’s our way of dealing with being burned in the past. I know I have often said if I just assume the worst, if it happens it’s not a surprise, and then if it’s better we can be happy. Then, there are these scumbags preying on this realm of beautiful people. I feel the need to make sure they don’t succeed.
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Yobel International

Oh, the holidays are crazy, always. I dream of a day when my job doesn’t get busier around Christmas (and Easter). Life will always get busier, I don’t need work to add on to it.

One small creative item recently, to add to my busy work schedule, my regular volunteering (and board duties) for this awesome non-profit called Yobel International also increases. Yobel International works around the world in impoverished areas to bring business and entrepreneur education to help people change their lives and communities with their own businesses. Many of the products that these people make are for sale at their market (and online at Yobel Market) Between end of the year fundraisers to help bring the curriculum to new countries, and the holiday shopping surge, they need as many hours as I can spare.

Thankfully, I’m able to donate some of my other skills. I’ve had a small hand in product design, I’ve been doing their photography for the website for the past year and a half, and I occasionally test my hand in design for them.

I GAVE HOPE

Today is a big day, all day people around Colorado (and the rest of the country) are encouraged to donate to Colorado non-profits, and especially today because all credit card fees are waved, and a percentage of the donations are being matched! I helped put together a little campaign to help spread the word. I love the little profile logo (above), and don’t hate the directions. This was just a few hours of playing, but I love when playing pays off.

Colorado Gives Contest Yobel

 

By the way, if you stop by https://www.facebook.com/yobelmarket before midnight tonight you can participate in the contest! Or if you are interested in contributing, you can still donate through December https://www.coloradogives.org/YobelInternational, or donate and get more info year round at their non-profit website http://yobelinternational.org/

Michigan Lovin’

Life has been a bit ridiculous lately, to say the least. Many good things are taking up time, like MANY photography sessions last month that I am trying my hardest to get on top of, great events with friends, and of course getting art up. Unfortunately, my paying job is taking up much of my energy. One of those situations that really isn’t that horrible in reality, but dealing with it on a daily basis gets exhausting, absorbing all of my emotional, physical, and (worst of all) creative energy…

I have high hopes for fall to bring a calmer life, but for now, you will just get some photography. Huzaah!

Last week was a major blessing, a trip to Michigan to be with my side of the family. Playing on the beach, in the water, getting sunburned, digging holes, bonding with my nieces and nephews and siblings and parents that I don’t get to see often enough. Also, my competitive brother bought trophies for a few things, and my husband and I won the one for the best meal! Creativity for the win? We can pretend. But I’ll let you know, go to this fantastic recipe http://www.jasonandshawnda.com/foodiebride/archives/7766/ and use half chipotle chili powder with the regular chili powder, adds a great kick.

Meanwhile, here is my beautiful family:

Waldo Canyon Fire

Another excuse for nothing new. Though I haven’t been inherently busy, I have been preoccupied with a rather large distraction to my city. If you haven’t heard anything about the Waldo Canyon Fire, google it to catch up. An unprecedented fire causing major destruction Tuesday night, and many more homes still in harms way.

Making/photographing helps me process, so I regret to say I turned into a bit of a gawker, but I tried to do so in a safe, rule-following, out of the way fashion. Here are a few pics from the past few days:

Day 2 picture, fire coming over first ridge into view of city.

Fire on the mountainside. Viewed from downtown.

Smoke beginning to consume the city, I had no idea at the time that fire was consuming the front slope.

My city on fire.

Ash the next morning. Possibly the page of a magazine, traveled 10 miles through the air from someone’s home.

Additional Photos Here if you are interested.

It has been emotional, surreal, and draining. Many friends are evacuated, some unsure if they have a home to go back to. They are predicting this will take at least a few more weeks to contain, not sure if that changed after the burst the other night. My beautiful skyline will be altered for years to come, and peoples lives will never be the same.

If you are the praying kind, please join us in praying for rain!

A note on art and artists

I have been slowly going through the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Incredibly thought provoking and overall challenging/convicting. A must read for any person looking for motivation to create, whether that is photograph, sew, build, start a non-profit, teach, or whatever else. Here is one of my (many) underlined quotes so far:

This is why artists are modest. They know they’re not doing the work; they’re just taking dictation. It’s also why “noncreative people” hate “creative people.” Because they’re jealous. They sense that artists and writes are tapped into some grid of energy and inspiration that they themselves cannot connect with.

It goes on to say this:

Of course, this is nonsense. We’re all creative. We all have the psyche. The same everyday miracles are happening in all our heads day by day, minute by minute.