Monday, September 20, 2010

Become a Huge Success With the Greatest Hype in the World!

Virtually all for-profit contest mills promote their "calls-for-artists" with hyperbole and very few if any legitimate opportunities do. I'm immediately suspicious when I get an announcement that uses superlatives.

For instance, I just got one from a person calling himself Maximillian Gallery -- I'm pretty sure this is a sole proprietorship w/o regular employees. It wasn't over-the-top hype, but enough to make me look further. As soon as I read "the purpose of this exciting competition," I could tell the main function of the contest is to turn a profit for the individual behind it. I've got nothing against profit per se, but I hate to see artists taken advantage of. The secondary purpose, it seems, is to launch a business selling reproductions. There are no cash prizes; instead, the winners get "A Limited Edition print," with five copies going to the artists. Not clear what kind of prints or what size. There are other, lesser, prizes, also consisting of services by Maximillian, such as being mentioned in a press release and having an image on the Web.

The email offers artists 40 percent of revenue from Speed Racer™ art sales (the contest is for images of that cartoon) and claims "additionally, art galleries/art dealers and artists may benefit with ongoing revenue from licensing and publishing opportunities." A sixty percent commission is high in any brick and mortar gallery. Max seems to be online only and is also charging artists to enter, which a legitimate selling gallery doesn't do. The business about licensing revenue may be true but it is in there primarily to dangle dollar signs in front of a naive artist. There seems to be nothing about how the merchandise will be marketed! Wow.

The site itself looks professional at first glance. Under the logo are listed Los Angeles, New York, London and Paris. A little investigation uncovers no evidence of Max's presence in any of those cities, so why are those words there? It wouldn't be to fool the casual observer into thinking this was a big deal international gallery, would it? The contact page gives a P. O. Box in Beverly Hills. It's safe to assume their only presence is online.

The total number of artists they currently represent is three, one listed under the site link that says artists and that same person plus two others under the site link that says licensing. Not confidence inspiring.

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