Being informed that someone has an interest in your work is always an exciting moment! When someone wants to buy or exhibit your work, that is a moment in which the artist needs to act professionally and with true intention. At ArtSlant, we try to bring about these opportunities, and as a result we have the pleasure of being involved with artists, galleries and art professionals from all over the world.
On occasion artists have told us about "art scams." This does not happen often, but we would like to provide a few guidelines that have developed as a result of talking with these artists.
Guidelines for Responding to Unknown Solicitations
Generally these art scams begin with an email request to purchase or exhibit work. The contact may begin simply as a request for information, in order to get the artist excited about the opportunity.
At some point, the person or agency involved in this request either wants a fee, or a fee and the original work, to be sent to them. After the artist does this, they hear nothing more and finally understand that they have been "scammed."
If someone emails you saying they want to buy or exhibit your work, here are a few suggestions to consider before proceeding:
- Write back and indicate you always like to have potential clients view the actual art prior to purchase. Explain what general area (do not give out your address!) you are located in and ask whether they could do a studio visit.
- If the potential client is not local, indicate that you would be glad to mail a quote including shipping and insurance costs. Ask for their name and address and send off the quote if they provide it.
- Suggest a phone call be set up to further discuss your work and purchasing requirements.
- Either ask for payment up front, or send your work COD. Always make sure it is insured. Be highly suspicious of any international shippers who require upfront payment of shipping costs via Western Union or other cash transfer methods! It is suggested that artists only use established, reputable worldwide shippers such as DHL, FedEx, UPS or major import/export shippers.
- If they want a fee to exhibit your work, explain that you are very interested but also very careful about protecting your professionalism. Ask for references...other artists who have exhibited with them, or galleries with whom they are associated.
- Do not give out personal information to anyone you do not know.