ART SCAM, The beginning, a deep sea

Art scams are vile. They’ve been around forever, and as long as there are art and money, there will always be someone peddling some type of art scam.


POST IMAGE: “Say What?!…” Selfie 2020 
OUTFIT: Nirvana “Nevermind” Graphic Shirt, vintage, cut by JWJ
ACCESSORIES: Black Magnetic Ear Plugs

As an artist navigating the internet in 2020 and beyond, I feel like a plane crash survivor alone in the vast expanse of what feels like the universe between myself and civilization. Adrift at sea with the wreckage, without signs of any rescue to be seen, the feeling of small is almost too large to breathe.

But I breathe, look around, and breathe some more. Assess the situation for what it’s worth. Am I overreacting? Could the shore just be beyond that crest? But it’s getting cold…

In grade school, I was taught life-preserving techniques at the local indoor pool during gym class. I grew up in a sailing capital on at the mouth of a bay. I imagine schools in other parts of the country may not have had such learning experiences in their curriculum, but I’m grateful for learning how to swim while fully clothed and wearing shoes, as though you found yourself swept into the ocean by a hurricane or another natural disaster.

I already knew how to swim and loved doing so very much, but this class was for learning basic life rescue techniques. I pray I will never have to invoke upon the skill of treading water for days upon eternity. But recounting that day and that feeling of the deep abyss below, slowly wrapping its weight around your ankles as though it were sizing you for cement slippers, gives me goose flesh all over.

selfie Justin W John

ABOVE IMAGE: Quarantine Selfie 2020
OUTFIT: Pancho’s Happy Bottom Riding Club Shirt, vintage, cut by JWJ
ACCESSORIES: POP ART! Talk Bubble Hat by Trevor Wayne
Blue Bandana, vintage, Artist’s personal collection

Sometimes that feeling grabs at me while I’m sitting patiently in the comfort of my single serving continental aisle seat on an economy Airbus passenger jet 1000. Outside, the ground plummeting below, inside, my stomach somewhere near my toe; I lean back two degrees and fall asleep with my headphones barely muffling the airplane turbulence and attendant chatter.

I’ve lost Wilson, and the waves are getting bigger. Right back to that spec-in-the-universe night terror, that used to wake me up in cold sweats as a child. I would see the vast expanse of all the dust and stars and know somewhere amongst the noise was me. So tiny. The thought of all too much insignificance can drive a person mad.

But to every Yang there is a Ying. And down the river it goes. And just like that, flip the switch.

Art scams are vile. They’ve been around forever, and as long as there are art and money, there will always be someone peddling some type of art scam. 

As artists, we wear pretty much all the hats we can. Detective and sleuth, or just a basic bullshit sniffer cap, should be part of your regular uniform. There isn’t a day that goes by that, I find myself weeding through the garden of trailing lies and buried deceit, complete with its thorny parts and covered patches full of suckers and sweet talkers.


Like great showmen, they put on their show and dazzle you with their promises of fame and fortunes beyond your wildest dreams. But when anyone promises you that, stop just there. Red flag one, man down, man overboard, call a medic, strike you’re out!

You’re going to have to develop these skills over time and even I myself have not fully developed all the necessary ones. First and foremost, never let someone take you for a fool. 

call, “bullshit.”
It’s that simple.


The most essential part of overcoming the swindlers is to learn their language, know how they talk, what they promise, and figure out their lies. They play them off as fact, but first, you have to recognize the lies that they package as destiny.

Now, one thing I know for sure, no man can predict your future. You are in control of your future, so take that heart. The second you fall for his fallacies you relinquish control and you may as well just turn out your pockets now.

No one knows what is going to happen tomorrow or the next day. If anyone promises these things to you, without the caveat of it as an unguaranteed potential, then call, “bullshit.” It’s that simple.

These men and women prey upon the hopes and dreams of the dreamers. And we as the dreamers can easily get lost in our thoughts and mistake them for reality before we’ve put in the work.


Do your homework. Use the internet, that’s what it’s for. It takes very little effort to do a google search and find information on people these days. But with that, make sure the sources are reputable and not solely written by the very people you are researching.

I’m going to start sharing all of the emails and offerings that come my way here on my blog. It will serve for several purposes. The very first purpose is mostly to get them out of my system and not let the idea or potential for glamouring the notion fester inside my head. To keep me smart and head in the game.

The second reason is to help other artists that might be currently dealing with the same or have previously done so. It’s a way to vent, but let it not all be for NOT. To hopefully spark conversation in the arts community and have each other’s backs.


The Department of Homeland Security

Well, I see lots of somethings, so I’m going to be better at doing my part. I’m going to just copy-and-paste the emails I receive. I think this way it will serve to make them easier to search out on the internet and also stay utterly transparent about everything. If there are any personal details regarding sensitive information, they will be omitted.

more to come

I’ll be honest, I’ve nearly fallen for these scams and often let them make me feel special, or like there was a chance. But I’m way over that, and frankly, I don’t think anyone should have to waste their time over such matters. So for all the time that they’ve wasted of mine, now there will be something to come of it. An art project in and of itself. THE ART SCAM PROJECT.

I’ll just leave it as a working title. But I’m starting it as my repository and index of the scams that have come across my way. It’ll be easier for me to reference this way as well as to make such information public and open to the internet to let others know such information in making their choices as well. Maybe this is a bad idea, or possibly this already exists, and I haven’t found it yet. Either way, I’m over it.

I’m over the number of emails I receive and people trying to sell me their fake promises to try to earn a buck off me. I’ve been too nice for too long in my life, just how I was raised. Well, I’m over being the nice guy and just letting people off for being bullshit people with bullshit standards for operating and bullshit ways of earning money off innocent people. 

So stay tuned for my first profile I will bring up for this collection of scammers.



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