- I post some images on Fine Art America. It is a print site, from what I have seen the quality is slightly better then OK. but it is easy to upload images, and seems to be good advertising. Someone bought a tiny 8 x 10 print from them, scanned it, blew it up larger, and then tried to sell my work on a website for $250.00 a print. The site was from Ghana. I have no idea who would pay $250. for a print of my work when you can get an original for that, but anyway. Some things you can do to prevent it - Google yourself every once in a while and check to see if you are listed on websites. I google myself often, not too much though, you don't want to google yourself so much that it interferes with your painting time.
- Never ship a painting until the check clears!! This one may sound like a no-brainer.....it's not. One artist I know, who is quite famous, only a few years ago sold a painting for $200,000. I think he figured at that number, he was safe not to get ripped off, so he sent the painting out before the check arrived. A check shows up for $180.000. Be careful he told me - it never stops.
- I was represented years ago by a gallery on Cape Cod. He outrageously over priced my work. He sold a painting of mine called Curtain Call, which is one of the long 12 x 40's for $10,000. The price on it was supposed to be $6,500. He told me he sold it for $6,000. and paid me $3,000. I found out because it was a small town and the buyer was a friend of the father of one of my friends there. The gallery had gone out of business by the time we found out. Watch out for gallery owners who spend more time talking about themselves then you. This should have been a giveaway with him, and I missed it. The gallery is there to make money from selling YOU! If the conversation is all about them, you have a good chance of getting screwed.
- As anyone who follows this blog knows, I put some paintings up for auction. Most auction sites encourage a return policy. All of my work is in fact 100% guaranteed. If someone buys it and doesn't like it, they can return it for a full refund. The problem with that is, that anyone can buy a painting, get a high resolution scan of it made, and then return it saying they don't like it. They can then sell large prints of it. I'm really not sure if there is anything that can be done about that one, we just have to trust people to do the right thing.
- This one is silly. Personally, I don't worry about "someday" when I am rock star famous, but if you are - work on wood panel. The majority of famous art thefts were pulled off by the thief cutting the center of the canvas out of the frame with a knife, rolling the painting up and running off with it. This is not as easy to do if you paint on wood.
- Get everything in writing!!!! One of my first jobs out of art school was illustrating a children's book. It was an independent, and I was dealing directly with the writers. I thought it was a given that my name would appear on the cover....I was wrong. I didn't have it in the contract and only the names of the two writers appeared on the cover. My name was in tiny print on the inside cover. Lesson learned the hard way.
"Legal Guide For The Artist" on Amazon