Lately I have noticed a weird phenomenon…

I was trying to get in touch with a few artists recently for an exhibition opportunity. Some of the artists I really didn’t know very well so I went on to their websites to get a phone number so I could talk to them and reassure them that I wasn’t a “spam-guy” that “wants to buy a painting for his wife for their anniversary.” You know, we have all gotten contacted by that crazy scam that involves us artists sending them money so they can buy your art. And we artists are always so hungry for a sale we try to talk ourselves into the fact that this could be true.

Anyway, I went on the websites and I found something interesting… none of them had their phone numbers listed. None. Now this was a conundrum for me since I feel that if someone wants to contact me regarding my artwork I would have thought that finding my number from my site and calling me was the first thing they would do. And I get that a lot. Less frequently I get an email asking about a commission opportunity. Maybe I am showing my age, but for me talking to a potential client about a job regarding deadlines, pricing, etc. is easier than going back and forth in emails. Usually I can tell right away if a client is serious or is sticker-shocked when I talk to them. When I get an email I always hope they leave a phone number because then I typically call them instead of trying to answer all of their questions in type.

So I found myself emailing the five artists I was trying to reach, spending time “selecting the boxes that had fire hydrants” in them so they would know I was not a robot. Then putting in the wavy or moving characters so I was verified as a human being. Then I found myself waiting a few hours to a few days to see if they would see my note -which I had to write and verify five times – and call me back.

In this day and age of instant connection, isn’t this backwards?

So yes, you can tell I have always had my phone number on my site. I have asked around as to why there is a big secretive ploy to hide phone numbers and I have mostly gotten back that the reason is hacking. Hmmm… trust me, hackers can find your number much faster than I sent an email. I guess no one wants more robocalls than we get already, but I don’t think hiding a phone number is going to help that much. As someone that was very recently targeted by unscrupulous criminals I can tell you that they hacked my bank accounts, tapped into my daughter’s college applications, got social security numbers, contacted my children through social media channels and sent them lovely notes that will forever need therapy and then texted me videos on my cell phone. (You don’t want to know with what) They knew I was getting a divorce, where I lived, had kids in college and was an artist. They didn’t get all that from my website. It was such a fun experience that the FBI got involved. Yes- I said the FBI since the f**kers were from the UK. So trust me, if someone wants to hack you they will find you.

Sometimes my life reads like a Dateline Special.

But all I wanted to do was call a few artists. And it was a pain. Maybe you think after all my fun I would stop listing my phone number on my site too… nope. They will not win. I refuse. I guess I don’t have any answers here but getting opportunities for our artwork is hard enough as it is. Thanks to the criminals it is also a pain in the ass.

I know for a fact that our phones listen to us. My daughter even proved it to me. We deliberately had a conversation about socks that went on for a few minutes. That we liked fuzzy socks, that we wanted to buy some for gifts. Then we went on to our social media- Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Guess what? A few minutes later ads for socks kept coming up. Yes, this is a real thing- look it up. You will not be able to fight it unless you unplug your phone, hide in your house and never buy anything ever again. A true starving artist!

And Big Brother is not interested in buying artwork.

I would love to hear your feedback…

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