Posts

Artists, beware of scams!

We all need to be aware of the scams going around that take advantage of hard-working, honest creative people. Working as a professional artist for the last fifteen years has taught me something:

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

I don’t mean to say this in a pessimistic way, but I do think it is prudent to be cautious when opportunity knocks on your door. Please read this article and share it with other creative entrepreneurs you know. It is important that we spread the word and protect ourselves and others. Our work, time, and talent are too valuable to be scammed.

 

6 tips for avoiding scams targeting creative entrepreneurs

 

TIPS TO AVOID SCAMS

 

TIP 1: Run opportunities through the below 4 criteria before signing on the dotted line

 

The legitimate opportunities that have come my way have been:

  1. Through hard work on my part
  2. By some initiative of my own making, either recently or traceable from a seed planted a while back
  3. Through someone I know or by a mutual connection (a friend of a friend or a coleague of a coleague, for example)
  4. Tried by someone I know and respect who vouches for it

 

I distinctly remember being contacted by Agora Gallery in New York who **found my work online and loved it.** I had never heard of them before, but was so excited that a New York gallery had contacted me. Unfortunately, when I asked some of my artist friends whether they had heard of the gallery, which they had, the reviews were not positive. I researched extensively online. There were may forum discussions about this and other vanity galleries. I gathered that Agora contacts A LOT of artists they find from combing the internet.

One red flag right off the bat: they charge artists $5,450 USD to show in their gallery!!

Artists: You should not have to pay a legitimate gallery to show your work. 

As beautiful as the dream is to show my art in the Big Apple, I want to earn my way there, not pay for it. Plus, when you dish out the dough to get your work shown, those “in-the-know” in the art community will spot that immediately on your CV. Is it worth it? The decision is up to you.

TIP 2: Do Your Homework

If someone emails or phones you about a **big opportunity** that you **simply must participate in** – BEWARE.

I continuously receive emails telling me to buy a page in an art catalog or photography book that will be sent out to agents, galleries, reps, and so on. They go on and on about what an amazing opportunity it is. The fee for one of these is $500 for a page in a photo book, for example. They lay it all out: at $500 for a page, with the book sent to thousands of agents, your actual investment is $X per agent.

They are doing the hard sell. If you are desperate, maybe their offer sounds appealing. But again, I say BEWARE. Are these thousands of agents asking for this product? Likely not. Is there any way of knowing that these books actually get sent out and seen?

First check out the person and business these offers represent. Does this person knows someone you know? Or are you connected through a business network? Do they have a concrete location? Are you familiar with this company or the individual within the broader community you work in?

Search for reviews on the internet. Online reviews and forums can be a LIFESAVER. 

Causion avoid artist scams

 

TIP 3: Trust your gut

You may have been found (or targeted) because your online presence is doing its job. The scammer found you because you are promoting yourself as an artist or a writer or a sculptor. It’s great to be found, but there are far too many people/scams out there that try to take advantage of creative people.

I know that it may seem wonderful to be contacted. We all want to hear how great our work is, that we are wanted and valued. Hear it from me: YOUR WORK IS GREAT! YOU ARE VALUABLE! YOUR CONTRIBUTION IS MEANINGFUL! YOUR LIFE MATTERS! KEEP DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING! (I mean it. I believe in creative people pursuing their passions. It is inspiring. And I know we all need to hear these encouraging words sometimes… okay, often. The best part? You don’t have to pay me to say this to you. Take the encouragement for free : )

With unsolicited **opportunities** flattery can be a cover for the scam. They will say:

  • Your writing is so great, please write for our site? (For free of course)
  • Your art is amazing, I’d like to buy, can I pay online? (They may pay with stolen funds, demand a refund, you may never see your work again, causing you all kinds of stress)
  • Your drawings are so captivating, can we show them in our gallery? (For a huge sum of money)

If something doesn’t feel right, if your sixth sense is tingling, TRUST YOUR GUT! This is probably one of the best pieces of advice, not only for avoiding scams, but in every area of life.

TIP 4: Read carefully and with discernment

If you get an email about your work, look closely at the email address it is being sent from. Strange looking email addresses are a good clue that the sender may not be legit.

Here is an example of a suspicious email address (from the scam email below):

scam email address

Also, if the email is vague and asks for prices and payment options – BEWARE.

Here is a screen shot of two scam emails I received this year. Two different senders. Basically the same wording – although not perfect grammar (another clue!). Here is exactly what to look out for:


 

Artist Scam email


 

At first, in January, I wondered if this was a real email inquiry. I even responded. I continued to get vague responses. It was fishy!!! I didn’t pursue the conversation. Then just today I received almost the exact same message. What perfect confirmation of the SCAM that it is. Watch out!

TIP 5: If the **big opportunity** asks for money, run the other direction

I am so frustrated with all the great/wonderful/fabulous opportunities that come my way – that of course cost an arm and a leg! It is incredibly disappointing that so many scams rip off creative people, many of whom are doing their absolute best to scrape a living from the pursuit of their dreams.

This seems obvious, but we all need a good reminder every now and then: 

People should pay YOU for your work, not the other way around.

NOTE: There are many legitimate opportunities out there that do ask for an entry fee. Many competitions and group exhibitions are volunteer run and need the funds to put on the show or award a prize. Still, do your homework.

For example, I run InFocus Photo Exhibit and Award: www.InFocusPhoto.ca (which soon will be hosted on it’s own site, yay!) As a part of the submission process for InFocus, we charge an entry fee. I will be very transparent: my first year running InFocus we charged $10/entry of 3 images – and I still ended up paying about $600 out of my own pocket to host the exhibition, promote it, get wine for the opening reception, list the event in Exposure Photography Festival’s printed program, etc. The second year I charged a bit more ($25/3 images) and found some sponsorship and through this, broke pretty close to even.

I am using InFocus Photo as an example that modest amounts of money are reasonable – but still only when you know that the organizer or organization is reputable. Even a small amount of money is too much to lose on a scam.

 

TIP 6: Consider twice if they contact you

I am sure we all want to get to the place where opportunity knocks on our door, instead of us having to seek it out. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of us, that is not the case.

Consider the above example of a big gallery contacting you. In all reality, legitimate galleries are probably far too swamped with submissions from artists to spend a huge amount of time searching out new talent. It probably does happen, but not that often.

When real opportunities do knock, as I hope they will for you, if you check them out by going through the above tips, you can feel more confident in their validity.

 

There are always exceptions to the above. There are many wonderful people in the world along with many great opportunities. Be discerning. Good luck on all your creative adventures! 

Thank you so much for reading! If you know about any scams that the public should be aware of, please share them below in the comments.

 

The Quiet Rebuild Opening Tonight at Exposure Photography Festival

I had such a blast hanging my art in the pop up gallery in Art Central last weekend. Usually my hubby does the math but I was the sole installer and defied my right-brain preference and crunched numbers and measured like a grade-A student.

 

Before the art...

Before the art…

Today is an exciting day. This afternoon I’ll be on CBC Calgary talking about my fine art portraits in The Quiet Rebuild exhibition. Then tonight is the opening reception at Art Central.

Here are the details of the opening:

“The Quiet Rebuild” Exhibition

February 1-28, 2014 – Fridays, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. & Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Opening Reception: Friday, February 7, 2013, 6 – 9 p.m.

Art Central, 100 – 7th Avenue S.W. Calgary, Alberta, Canada 

 

Art happily installed!

Art happily installed!

Also, I am putting out a call to Calgarians and people from surrounding areas to participate in the continuation of The Quiet Rebuild, my award winning portrait series. If you are interested in being a volunteer model this month, contact me by email: [email protected]

I will be continuing these portraits in many cities, so if you are interested, even if not from Calgary, please get in touch.

 

Want an Invite to The Quiet Rebuild?

Do you want a personal invite to my solo exhibition entitled The Quiet Rebuild at Harcourt House Gallery and Artist Run Centre? I’d love to have you there! Please email me your address and wait by the mailbox! The countdown is on. Only two months till The Quiet Rebuild opens.

Art lovers, mark your calendars. Opening reception: October 24th. The exhibition runs until November 24, 2013.

Summer Artist in Residence Update

Summer? What summer? Oh, do you mean the heat wave that is passing through my art studio in the Harcourt House Annex? Ah, that summer. Yes, it’s true. I’ve been spending countless hours at work, despite the nice weather, as my solo exhibition in Harcourt’s main space is quickly approaching. It’s just over two months away. TWO months! I can hardly believe it.

It seems like only yesterday that I walked into the white walled space and set down roots in the gallery community. Now, I am completely out of wall space.  I feel like my work has taken on a life of its own and has grown in depth and breadth. It’s a good time.

Alexis Marie Chute Artist in Residence Harcourt House Edmonton-0006 blog

I am finishing sculptures, paintings, mixed media 2D work, no wait 3D work… it can’t decide what it is! I am presently embarking on a photographic component to my work as well, incorporating images of our local Edmonton construction that we all love so much. Plus photographs of people will also begin in just two days! (A huge thank you to all my lovely volunteers who have opened up about their struggles and what it has taken for them to rebuild their life.)

Alexis Marie Chute Art Studio Harcourt House Gallery Blog 001

All the artwork speaks to this one large message: the human heart can endure much and rebuild itself after hardship. Side note, the rebuild process is never easy and always creates something altogether new. I call my work, “The Quiet Rebuild.”

Mark your calendars for “The Quiet Rebuild”!

Thursday, October 24, 2013 – Opening Reception & artist talk

Visit the exhibition in the Harcourt House gallery from October 24 to Novemeber 24, 2013.

Alexis Marie Chute Art Studio Harcourt House Gallery Blog 002 Alexis Marie Chute Art Studio Harcourt House Gallery Blog 005

Open Art Studio, Open Heart

It’s time for the Artist in Residence meet and greet at Harcourt House!

This Thursday night I will be opening my art studio in the Harcourt Annex for visitors. I will also be giving a poetry reading and doing a demo of my woodworking techniques. This coincides with Harcourt’s annual member’s exhibition; this year the theme is Kinetic. It’s going to be a great night! Also in store: a complementary BBQ on the grass in front of the gallery (YUM!) and a free life drawing workshop.

I truly love what I am working on in my studio at Harcourt House. My art is full of color and shape. Come Thursday, June 20th and see for yourself.

I truly love what I am working on in my studio at Harcourt House. My art is full of color and shape. Come Thursday, June 20th and see for yourself.

The body of art I am creating during my residency is called “The Quiet Rebuild” and is a visual picture of healing and rebuilding one’s life after hardship.

For me, the hardship was losing my second child to a cardiac tumor in 2010. Since then I have been slowly (sometimes extremely slowly) and quietly rebuilding my life. I have found that art became and remains an important tool and expression of my grief and search for hope. Everyone will find meaning in this artwork.

I am working with a lot of wood, both natural and manufactured in “The Quiet Rebuild.” Other materials I am using include yarn, Jenga blocks, paper, and acrylic paint. Oh and photography as well. I feel such an amazing connection with my art and am looking forward to sharing it with our local community within my studio, where all the magic happens!

The poem I will be reading speaks to the time I lost my son, whom we named Zachary. I am currently working on branding (burning) the poem onto wood panels. I will share more about the meaning of the poem and my wood burning technique at the demo.

Click here for specific  info about the Kinetic exhibition and Artist in Residence meet and greet. Hope to see you there!!

This is a fish-eye photo of my poem I am branding onto wood panels. Come to the Artist in Residence meet and greet to hear a reading of the poem and see my wood burning techniques first hand.

This is a fish-eye photo of my poem I am branding onto wood panels. Come to the Artist in Residence meet and greet to hear a reading of the poem and see my wood burning techniques first hand.

Art Market in ‘da House, Harcourt House

I cannot tell you how much I love my wonderful art patrons. You buy my work, attend my openings and generally cheer me on. Thank you!

This Saturday I will be exhibiting some never before seen artwork I created while I lived in New Zealand. I’ve got paintings made with the very sand and sea shells of the Eastern Beach where my hubby and I took up residence for two years. The work is colorful, textural and ready to be adopted into good homes.

I’m also offering some newer works and even showing a sneak peak piece from my upcoming solo exhibition entitled “The Quiet Rebuild” which will adorn the main gallery of Harcourt in a solo exhibition in October of this year.

For some art is a hobby. As a professional artist, the boundary between hobby and work often overlap and blur. But that’s fine with me. One of my newest hobbies, candle making, will debut at the Harcourt Art Market and I’m thrilled. If you are looking for a handmade gift with a creative twist, these candles are for you! Vintage meets chic style – but that’s all I will say for now. Come and see for yourself.

Art Market

An art and design show and sale

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

1:00 – 7:00pm

Harcourt House Gallery

10215-112 Street

Entry by donation

March in the Studio, Artist in Residence Update

Artwork and photograph copyright Alexis Marie Chute

Artwork and photograph copyright Alexis Marie Chute

Being the Artist in Residence at Harcourt House has allowed me to find my footing within my current body of art and take off running. The time and space they have provided me to develop my creative work is one of the greatest gifts an artist can receive. The people who work at Harcourt House are pretty amazing too!

Truly the time has flown by and with the close of March I tick off my fifth month at the gallery. Five months! On one hand I feel like, ‘Where has the time gone?’ but on the other I am amazed at the gift of time itself.

Art and photography copyright Alexis Marie Chute

Art and photography copyright Alexis Marie Chute

What exactly do I spend my time on you ask? Answer: lots of hard work and creative play.

I approach my artwork through experimentation with my chosen materials (wood, glue, yarn, acrylic paint…) while holding my concept loosely in my head (and my heart) to see where it all takes me.

For those of you new to my blog, the greater meaning behind my work is the idea of rebuilding ones life after hardship. My method is very akin to my materials and process themselves; I am experimenting using art to heal.

Art and photograph copyright Alexis Marie Chute

Art and photograph copyright Alexis Marie Chute

The images in this post are some of my very recent work. I began using Jenga pieces in some of my compositions and found this consumerist approach a fun twist while drawing on the concept of the game itself; build as high as you can until your structure falls over. When it does, which is always the case, you laugh and build again learning from your mistakes and constructing your tower even higher the next time.

I love a comment from Brand on my last Harcourt House Residency update. He said my work reminded him of photographic pixels. That notion blows me a way – I LOVE IT! It totally jives with the photographer in me. I am percolating ideas of how to incorporate that concept into my work and am excited about it.

As always, I LOVE company at my studio so please come for a visit! I purposefully have lots of seating so come talk art, life or whatever is on your mind. Contact me to find a time that works.

New Work, Residency and the Groove

As February stretches onwards, I marvel that I am over a quarter of the way into my residency at Harcourt House Gallery and Artist Run Centre. To say time flies is an understatement; time tornados by! Yet, I make sure to slow myself to appreciate every precious moment of it.

I wanted to share some of my new work that has been my labor of love since November 2012. Really, I have too much to share here and will soon create a new category on my website in the portfolio section. Stay tuned.

 

Copyright Alexis Marie Chute

Copyright Alexis Marie Chute

I have been working with wood, both sculpturally and on flat surfaces. Currently I am holding my breath waiting on a big order of cut wooden pieces to arrive – then I will be feverishly creating even more unique “city-like” designs (so I’ve been told they resemble by visitors to my studio). The long wait would be negated if anyone reading this is skilled with a _________ (insert word here that names a wood cutting tool with the precision to cut very small squares) – if you or someone you know is able to give me a hand, please get in touch!

 

At first I wasn’t quite sure how my paintings relate to my wood creations but when the Harcourt House Executive Director, Derek Brooks, popped in one day and explained to me the correlation – I finally got it. It’s true, apparently, that artists can be too close to their own work to notice connections sometimes.

 

Wood sculpture 01 art copyright Alexis Marie Chute

I am in the groove working in my studio. It’s a romance with my materials and I am constantly exploring new ways of creating with them – truly a fun time.

Vote for my Images, Exposure Photography Festival

Artists Lens - Alberta Society of Artists - Alexis Marie Chute - Exposure Photography Festival 07

Exposure is a photography festival in Calgary, Banff and Canmore Alberta running from the 1st to the 28th of February, 2013. Their catch phrase, “Photography is the Medium of Our Times,” is entirely true from my perspective. You just have to drive a main drag in the city to see billboard after billboard of images lining the street.

Image is king.

I was recently in Calgary to attend the opening of the group exhibition “The Artists Lens” put on by the Alberta Society of Artist’s. Three of my photographs stood on easels at the center of the room, bathed in the beautiful spot lights of Artpoint Gallery. It was a pleasure to rub shoulders with the local art crowd of Calgary and even if you missed the opening, you can still visit Artpoint Gallery until the end of the Festival to see “The Artists Lens.”

Artists Lens - Alberta Society of Artists - Alexis Marie Chute - Exposure Photography Festival 08 Artists Lens - Alberta Society of Artists - Alexis Marie Chute - Exposure Photography Festival 06 Artists Lens - Alberta Society of Artists - Alexis Marie Chute - Exposure Photography Festival 04 Artists Lens - Alberta Society of Artists - Alexis Marie Chute - Exposure Photography Festival 03 Artists Lens - Alberta Society of Artists - Alexis Marie Chute - Exposure Photography Festival 01

While in Calgary, I received word that one of my photographs was being displayed on a digital billboard, a perk of being a finalist in the 2013 VISTEK Emerging Photographer competition. Near the airport, my husband, kids and I found the billboard! My photograph of marbles shone brightly on the overcast winter day – it was surreal.

Exposure Photo Festival Alexis Marie Chute VISTEK Emerging Photographer 2013 01 Exposure Photo Festival Alexis Marie Chute VISTEK Emerging Photographer 2013 02

There is a People’s Choice Award to be had by one of the competition finalists – and it involves a quick online vote.

 

If you enjoy my work, I would sincerely appreciate your vote!

 

Artists Lens - Alberta Society of Artists - Alexis Marie Chute - Exposure Photography Festival 05

Upcoming Fine Art Photo Exhibits

CURRENT

Winter Salon

Group Exhibition

Photohaus Gallery

14 West 7th

Vancouver, British Columbia

Opening Reception: December 14, 2012

Exhibtion runs the month of December, 2012

View the online gallery for the exhibition to see the works exhibited.

 

 

 

2013

Artist Lens

Group Exhibition

By The Alberta Society of Artists

Artpoint Gallery

1139-11th St SE (Adelaide St.)

Calgary, Alberta

Opening Reception: Friday, February 8, 2012 from 5-9pm

Exhibition runs the month of February

 

 

2014

Unfulfilled Precognition

Solo Exhibition

Kiwanis Gallery

In the Red Deer Public Library

4818-49 Street

Red Deer, Alberta

Opening Reception: Friday, November 7, 2014

Exhibition runs: October 21 to November 23, 2014