I didn’t sell either of the two paintings that were selected for the Labor Day Show, though a friend was surprised to happen upon “Ascending” at the show and surprised me in turn with a photo of it on her phone. I was, however, fortunate enough to have another painting, “Streaming No. 1” (shown below), juried into the Yellow Barn’s 23rd Annual Members’ Show, which ran for three weekends in December. The painting, acrylic on canvas, is based on one of my watercolors, which was inspired in turn by the late, redoubtable Zao Wou-Ki, whose work I have mentioned in an earlier post.
Now for the adventure part. During the fall, I was contacted by a New York City art gallery, which shall be nameless, seeking to represent me in the art market and sell my work. I was initially interested, but my enthusiasm waned once I learned that the representation involved a minimum payment of $3,850 for ten linear feet of exhibition space in the gallery. I thanked the gallery for its interest and declined the offer of representation. I subsequently learned that the gallery, described on-line by others as a “vanity gallery,” has an extremely mixed reputation for its representation of artists like me. I may have dodged a bullet there.
Adventure Part Two. Later in the fall, I received an email from a “Patrick in Ohio” who described himself as an “ocean engineer” who was about to relocate to the Philippines and who wanted to purchase two of my paintings to present to his wife — she very much liked my work, he said — as gifts on their next wedding anniversary. He said that the shipping agent handling his relocation would pick up the paintings and deliver them to him. He could not pick them up, he said, because he was on a training voyage in the Atlantic Ocean with a group of graduate students. Fool that I was, I eventually shared with him information about various paintings and their prices and some non-sensitive contact information as well. I was then startled to receive a confusing email from him suggesting that in order to complete the transaction, I would have to make a payment of some kind to the shipping agent. I began to wonder whether I really wanted to sell my paintings to this particular “ocean engineer.”
My doubts were almost immediately confirmed when I received another email, this one from a “Mark in Jacksonville, Florida,” an “ocean engineer” who was relocating to Ireland and who wanted to purchase two of my paintings as surprise presents for his wife on their next wedding anniversary. He too explained that he could not pick up the paintings himself because he was on a training voyage in the Atlantic Ocean with a group of graduate students.
At this point, even I got the picture. I called the Washington, DC, field office of the FBI and was advised to have no further contact with “Patrick” or “Mark,” and to consult the FBI’s “Internet Crime Complaint Center” at http://www.ic3.gov. I have had no further contact with either “ocean engineer,” and I have learned from ic3.gov that the scam they were attempting to work on me is often used in connection with on-line auctions, where the target is the seller and the scammers try to persuade the seller to make various payments in order to compete the sale. When I mentioned “Patrick” and “Mark” to Walt Bartman, the Yellow Barn Studio’s director, he assured me that my experience with people like them was far from unique. I think I dodged another bullet — two of them in fact.
On the brighter side, I’m taking an enjoyable portrait and figure class from Christine Lashley at the Yellow Barn during the current winter session. I hope to post some of my paintings from the class on this website once the session ends.