Art Inquiries To Take Seriously

Art Inquiries that Pass Muster have many of these qualities:

  1. Proficient grammar and natural writing style in the initial email
  2. The email mentions a specific work
  3. The writer follows up upon learning my studio sales policies and shipping policies
  4. Signature and email relate to each other – for example Jane Doe’s email might be jdoe@example.com
  5. The writer includes a phone number
  6. When I look up the writer in a google search, the information I find matches what they mentioned in the email

How do you tell whether that email you’ve received from your website is for real? I’ve been fortunate enough to sell a few pieces of artwork via my website. Of course more than my fair share of fraudulent or scam emails come my way too.

Recently I sold a painting to a law firm in California via an Art Consultant who contacted me through my website. Here are some photos that Art Consultant Phillip Mehas shared of the piece installed at Haynes and Boone, LLC.

Ruth Armitage work in situ

Doesn’t this contemporary art complement the lobby?

Another view of the lobby and its new artwork

It pays to be cautious when dealing with unknown parties on the internet. Even though I felt pretty sure this inquiry was not a fraud, I didn’t ship the work until after the payment had cleared my bank. I handled the shipping myself and worked with the buyer to make sure it would be reasonably priced.

In this case, the consultant found my work by searching the website of the California Watercolor Association. I am a Signature Member of that group, and they link to my website. The client was searching for a watercolor, but fell in love with this work instead. It is gratifying to know that my work is making this office shine!

Check out this article by Agora Gallery on recognizing fraud or scams. While we don’t want to alienate a potential buyer, artists must always protect themselves from online scammers. Usually when I make my policies known, scammers realize that they can’t work with me and I never hear from them again.

My Basic Internet Sales Policy:

  • Unless I know the buyer, I require payment by Paypal or a similar service. I do accept business of personal checks, but only for the actual amount of the sale, and I don’t ship until the check has cleared.
  • I give a separate quote for shipping based on actual delivery address, or deliver if it is a local sale.
  • If possible I try to speak to the buyer on the phone.
  • My tone is prompt and firm, but polite.
  • The buyer is encouraged to ask questions and I try my best to make sure everything is clear, from shipping to returns.

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