"I'm a [really great or new] artist who is looking for gallery representation. I make [paintings, sculptures, photographs, etc.] that are especially eye-catching and brilliant. If you're interested in seeing my work, please visit my website at [http://artist'swebsite]. [List of resume achievements.] [List of websites or publications.] Have a nice day!"Just in case you were considering sending such an email, save yourself the time and energy. These sort of emails almost always go directly to the "trash" folder. Why? There are usually obvious phrases that point to the fact that this was a copy and paste letter, often showing the artist didn't even bother to see what kind of business he/she is sending the letter to. For example, why would you send a letter asking for "gallery representation" to a magazine? Well, we get them all the time and they always go to the trash folder.
Today, however, I received the most bizarre of such letters. Without sharing the artist's name or identifying details, here is what it says (all misspellings and grammar faults copied directly from original email):
"Dear: DirectorAs I read the email I nearly laughed aloud! First, why send this to Visual Overture Magazine? We're not a museum and we don't publish "news" articles. Second, is this a joke? Is someone seriously trying to sell their future dead body's ashes and that of their husband's and dog's? Third, this artist is offering money for the upkeep of their art and offering all their art for the museum to keep or sale for free?? Wow.
I emailed you a copy of the work but my will has just been finished and I decided to send you a brief idea do what it states I need museum to find out I am looking for a home and I need help showing the work. last page of my web is a link to ovation tv, there is a photo and video of the work I am looking for home in a permanent collection. The work is titled [title of artwork]. It is a sarcophagus.
I look forward to hearing from you.
The work is titled [title of artwork]. It is a sarcophagus and this unique-shaped Glass House covered in jewelry with a wooden base covered in glass flowers will eventually contain the ashes of my husband, our dog, and me. Not only will this be one of my works of art but it will contain the artist.
My will also states that I bequeath the sum of Fifty Thousand Dollars to the museum for maintain it. And if taken, the museum is entitled to all my art work upon my death to auction of to raise money for the museum. (If they wish)"
I thought this must be some kind of scam, but turns out the artist's website is legitimate and appears to be operated by a real person. But, at the same time, this email sounds so suspicious for a variety of reason, it definitely makes me question its validity. So, to solve this mystery, let's look at the points that make it fit into one of three categories -- "Hoax," "Ha-ha," or "High-Art."
- Terrible English and writing skills (points to the possibility of a "Nigeria Scam")
- Offering a large sum of money ($50,000), also points to a "Nigeria Scam" scenario
- Offering all of entire life's artwork for free (why?)
- Artist said they emailed me a copy of the work, but this is the first time I've heard of or seen this
- Terrible English and writing skills (poorly written on purpose for laughs)
- Sale of ashes of three future dead beings
- Artwork isn't particularly interesting or well-crafted (after looking on website)
- Cheesy music on video explaining artwork with just a slideshow of the artwork from different angles over and over again
- Terrible English and writing skills (may be sincerely written, not to say that artists have bad English or writing skills)
- Unique idea to sell art with actual artist included as part of the art (albeit, a dead artist)
- Lists resume achievements, indicating an artist who is serious about their career