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Awww, He Doesn’t Want To Play Any More

Sometimes you throw the spam in the shredder, and sometimes you decide to dangle the bait in front of them and resolve to mess with them a bit. If nothing else, it has the potential to be amusing.

This one started when Hollis Kitchin¹, a friend of mine from Comics Camp, mentioned that she’d gotten a probable scam email (visible above, click to embiggen). Dude cold-contacted her, dangled a possible seven grand purchase, looking for large artwork on a rush basis. You can put the text of this email into the search engine of your choice, and come up with a zillion examples that are practically identical, and all fraudulent. Artists that engage in good faith end up out pieces they could have sold, on the hook for shipping, possibly taken for additional cash, and sitting on a large, bounced check. These scammers suck.

So I asked if I could play with him. I emailed our fraudster as if he’d emailed me first, and copied as much of his language back at him as I could manage:

Thank you for storming on some of my works and finding them impressive and intriguing. I sometimes doubt that I am good at what I do, but since you say it is undoubtable that I am good, I must thank you for the compliment.

I would be very pleased for you to purchase some of my works as a surprise gift to your wife in honor of your upcoming anniversary. An image of my only available work is attached, which I will hold for you, but there is another buyer interested so if you wish to purchase it, you must be willing to act quickly.

It is quite a large piece (approximately 2 meters by 3.5 meters), and so would require specialized shipping and handling. I will have to enquire as to the costs but please look at the picture now to know more about my piece of inventory. The title is “The Tenderness of Memory Is a Balm Always”.

I would prefer that you make payment by check only.

Fast sale time required? Check! Specialized shipping required, so a confederate who needs to be paid in cash will collect the art from me, which the buyer will helpfully bump up his purchase price to cover? Check! Pay by check which will bounce? Check! He must have been salivating over his imminent success, so much so that I’m not sure he ever looked at the image of The Tenderness of Memory Is a Balm Always. When you click on the link, be sure to scroll allllll the way down and two the right, and zoom in. Here’s the detail if you need it.

He asked for more samples! Now I had to come up with stuff that was vaguely plausible, while still being totally ridiculous, and also kinda crappy because I felt like providing him kinda crappy images; I also didn’t want to give him anything resembling high-res that he might not have found on his own. Also, I wanted at least one of the images to be ferociously inappropriate for his claimed purpose of an anniversary gift to his wife. My response required the utmost care:

I am happy to put together a listing of pieces. It turns out that I have more than just “The Tenderness of Memory Is a Balm Always” (I guess you were not in favor of its dense layers of meaning) that I can sell to you. I went digging through my studio and found some forgotten art that was never picked up by a buyer who died and whose husband absolutely hated the idea of paintings (he called them “The Devil’s Images”) and thus they are still here. They’ve not been stored in ideal conditions, but if you put a frame and mat on them, I don’t think you’ll be able to see where the weevils gnawed on the edge.

I have attached images of three completed pieces within your budget of $1500.00 – $7000.00 ready for immediate sale:

“My Wife” is large and figurative²
“The Great Wave At Islip (Garbage Barge Island)” is large and seascape
“Study #37” is abstract and large

The first two are on stretched canvas and sealed. The third is on board, produced as a single line from a ball-point pen that I attached to a Spirograph I made out of old Legos and produced in a 38 hour fugue state while I was on a Jolt Cola bender. At the end, I had damaged all of the joints in my right hand and elbow and required three surgeries and seven months to recover, so I’m happy to let it go. To be honest, I think it might be cursed because while I was making it, it would whisper terrible things to me about ponies.

Each of the three is $2000.00, but I’ll let Study #37 go for $1000.00 because of the curse. As long as you don’t listen to it, you’ll be fine. For your budget, you could get all three. Actually, it would be a big help if you could because I’m still paying off the doctor’s bills from making that last one.

I tell you, when I got that second reply, I was over the moon; Hollis wrote up a press release to send him, one that purported to tell of my upcoming one-man show at a prestigious museum. Another Camper came up with a 3GB+ TIFF image that, once zipped, was less than 3MB, just to see if we could overload his computer.

Sadly, he decided that this scam wasn’t working and discontinued our correspondence. However, if any of you would like to play with him, “Ashley Jackson” is I hear he’s looking for large format art, and is willing to spend US$1500 to US$7000. Just remember to string him along and waste as much of his time as you can (or at least make it so he can’t bother to use his email any longer for all the crap he’s getting there) because he’s a lowlife that preys on artists.

Spam of the day:
Yeah, I think we’re covered today.

¹ Aside from fabulous watercolors of weather, critters, and whales, she also co-owns the best lingerie shop in the southeastern portion of Alaska, and possibly the entire state. It’s built into a former bank site, with the enormous vault still present. I would advise that if you annoy her, you not accept any invitations to sample Amontillado with her.

² In retrospect, I should have named it Ashley’s Wife.

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