Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Heavy-Duty Spammer

An outfit from Scottsdale, Arizona, that calls itself Xanadu Gallery has been spamming artists whose email addresses are on the Web. The spam is titled: "Boston Artists' Workshop | Learn How to Get into Galleries and Sell Your Art." It claims to be about "an exclusive marketing seminar in Boston." We got more than a dozen copies, to our various addresses, including those on forms and reserved for specific purposes such as subscriber upload of images.

The owner, J. Jason Horejs, has used "scraper" or "spambot"software to copy all email address from our site -- and other artist or art-related sites probably -- whether they belong to artists, art organizations, municipalities, state governments, universities or churches, and no matter where in the world located. He apparently cannot distinguish Boston from Bosnia from Botswana nor artists from State Purchasing Agencies.

Yet the seminar he is offering promises to teach artists how to "take your art career to the next level and start selling your work in galleries." He claims he'll provide his customers an "inside understanding of the gallery business." If what he teaches is any reflection of his own marketing methods, though, you might want to look elsewhere. Honest galleries will never respond to spamming or misrepresentation. Ones looking to take advantage of naive artists might, though.

At the request of an artist, I once researched Xanadu and his advice. Don't have time to go into how the gallery works right now other than to say it is a novel way of garnering a profit for the owner but not for the artist. Much of his advice to artists was the same tired stuff everyone who is not a raw beginner knows, but some of the details had little bearing on reality. For instance, he said that one of the ways to make your work seem like a cohesive body was to use similar frames. Every legitimate gallery owner or worker and every art school graduate knows what is wrong with that statement and what it reveals about the person who would make it.

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