ABOUT ART – By Janice Guinan: Online art auction a valuable service

Published on January 10, 2017

Janice Guinan's 'My Little Chickadee.'

TRURO, N.S. – One of my new year’s resolutions should be to update my website as I know it looks tired and in need of a revamp.

I know the importance of keeping a website current and how often potential clients, galleries and professional associations check out an artist’s online presence. A good website provides a great way to promote and showcase your work to the world and can also effectively market your work.

Online art transactions are on the upswing and will continue to gather momentum in the future. I have received a number of requests via my website which have resulted in sales, but I must confess that I am still more comfortable selling directly to people or through established galleries.

I have done very well selling original paintings through the online art auction ArtBomb. This site,

http://www.artbombdaily.com/ is reputable and professional. I know others may argue if I sold directly online through my own website I would have pocketed more profit, but I believe the commission paid is worth it.

Last July, I received the following email via my website:

“My name is John Marcus from NC. I actually observed my wife has been viewing your website on my laptop and I guess she likes your piece of work, I'm also impressed and amazed to have seen your various works too, : ) You are doing a great job. I would like to receive further information about your piece of work and what inspires you. I am very much interested in the purchase of the piece (in subject field above) to surprise my wife. Kindly confirm the availability for immediate sales. Thanks and best regards, John Marcus”

I promptly checked my website and noticed that a number of paintings had been viewed by someone from North Carolina, so I responded to the email to find out which particular painting he was interested in. This was his response:

“Thanks for the message, it could be any color, but medium size or large.. However, I would greatly appreciate if you could possibly recommend a few completed piece within my budget $1000- $7,000 ready for immediate sale, about 3-5 image is enough... Just need something within that price range for a surprise to my wife (can tell she likes your work). I would appreciate if you can figure out a piece of work that would serve that purpose. Kindly email images and prices of any available works in that range.”

I felt this all seemed a little bit too good to be true, so I googled his name and discovered that this exact message was flagged as a scam and also discovered many other artists had been contacted via their websites or from articles on exhibit ions about their work. Unfortunately some artists became victims of this and similar art scams.

Apparently the scammer builds up trust with the artist in a very polite and flattering manner over a series of emails and all goes well until the payment. The artist is usually ripped off the painting and/or money by fraudulent payments with scammers using fake PayPal accounts, cashier cheques or postal money orders.

I never heard from Marcus again, but I received the exact same message in November from a Hans David from Ohio. Scam artists have always been around but the Internet provides a wider audience of potential victims. To help protect artists, some “stop art scam” websites and blogs have been created posting

some of the scammers phony names, aliases and email addresses.

For now I am content with selling online through ArtBomb. In fact, my last sale of 2016 “My Little Chickadee”was made on Dec. 27. They handled the promotion, shipping and sales transaction and both buyer and seller could feel confident in the purchasing process.

Janice Guinan is a local artist who passionately believes in the importance of visual art. Her About Art column appears each week in the Truro Daily News. Guinan also writes a weekly column for the Colchester Weekly News. Both can be viewed online at www.trurodaily.com. Contact her at janice@janiceguinan.com.