Thursday, December 29, 2016

Super Art Scam Alert!

It first came to my attention yesterday when DMV artists Viktor Epkuk, and then Anna U. Davis both posted on Facebook that their artwork had been illegally appropriated and was being displayed for sale on an online website titled wallpart dot com - Warning - do not go there: there have been reports that the site itself may have malware and can infect your computer just by visiting it.

The list of DMV artists whose work is offered for sale (as "prints") on this site grew; Sean Hennesey, Erin Antognoli, John M. Adams, and others... and someone noted that:
my flickr stream is on there. This is the weirdest site, it seems to pull images automatically without any sort of human intervention - there are stock images there with huge watermarks, google images, images from ebay, images from wikipedia, images where the "title" is actually the copyright and credit, it's a random assortment, and my favorite part is the "we respect copyright, if you see your stuff just email us these 50 things and we'll take it down. Maybe. If we believe you.
 Viktor Epkuk went into research mode and notes that:
For other artists whose works are caught up in this theft scheme and for those looking for cheap art posters. DO NOT FALL FOR IT. 
Wallpart is an elaborate scam site created more to steal your data than art.
Graphic Artist Guild released the warning below in 2015. "It now appears the Wallpart is actually an elaborate phfishing scheme, devised to trick visitors into entering in their personal data. Comic artist John Ponikvar summarized his findings on his blog, Peter & Company. The site features a prominent “Report Violation” link, which appears to collect the personal data from anyone filling out the form. As Ponikvar reported, the Report Violation form “…is actually the main purpose for the site’s existence – they completely anticipate artists being upset about their work supposedly being sold, so they developed a system to exploit those who complain.” Additionally, the site‘s source code is larded with malware and malicious code; one of our board members reported that her personal computer was hijacked by the website as she was looking into the site’s functionality."
Read that report here

What to do? First, do not fill out - or even visit the website - but if you have, and your work is there, then report the violation to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center here. 

There have already been complaints and Hyperallergenic reports that:
Artists and photographers are up in arms over a website that is selling cheap posters and prints of their work, without their knowledge or permission. Called the Poster Shop and located at, the site is tied to an incomplete address in Sydney, Australia, its phone number follows a British format, its packages ship from China, and according to Kotaku the domain was registered by a man named Sergo Zuikov, who lives in Moscow. It has been the subject of many articles and forum discussions warning artists and would-be buyers of its shady ways, and a petition calling for the site to be shut down has garnered over 62,000 signatures.
 See and sign the petition here.

Artists interpret "blue" with 140+ diverse works

Strathmore is experiencing a different kind of blues this winter—beginning January 7, the arts center presents La Vie en Bleu, its 26th annual juried exhibition, featuring 146 works by 101 artists in the D.C. metro region and beyond. A complement to Strathmore’s season-long exploration of blues music, Shades of Blues, the art center tasked artists to interpret “blues” however they like, using their medium of choice. More than 1,000 works were submitted, and the resulting exhibition is exceptionally diverse.

This is paired with the companion exhibition, Crossfade, an exploration of technology and perception featuring up-and-coming artists from Baltimore.

More information below. Images from Bleu can be found in DropBox for your perusal.