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.

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.