Thursday, November 20, 2008

About Oil Painting

Note to regular readers: Technically, this one is probably not a scam, per se, because the spammer who sent this to me actually has a business [in China] selling oil paintings, but since oil painting is my profession, the subject is close to my heart.

The Spam Mail

Dear Sir or Madam,
How are you? This is Helen from Guangzhou Dengmeiying Oil Painting Co., Ltd. We are a professional oil painting manufacturer with 9 years' experiences, Offering 10000 various kinds of oil paintings and monthly output up to 1000 Pcs. Our own artists and painters can paint to your requirement. We also can make your own pictures. All sizes and styles available, 100% handmade oil paint on canvas. high quality guaranteed and competitive price.To know more about our company and products, please visit our website: we have many high-quality oil paintings, please let us know which type you like, We will be happy to give you a quotation upon receipt of your detailed requirements. Hoping we can start a good cooperation.
yours Helen
Website: &
Address: Overseas Chinese Commercial City,
Gongyi Road Huadu District Guangzhou, China
Zip: 510880 Email:,
Tel/Fax: 0086-020-36991919 Mobile phone: 0086-15913120206

My Response

Dear Helen,

How am I? Thanks for feigning interest. It's always a pleasure to receive e-mails out of the blue by saleswomen who are concerned about my well-being but are not quite sure about my gender. For the record, should we continue to correspond, I am a 'Sir,' though not in the British sense, as I have not done anything as important or as remarkably world-changing as Sir Paul McCartney or Sir Mick Jagger. And also, for the record, I am not a Madam. I can't even get my own children to clean up around the house, much less get a team of young ladies to compromise themselves for my financial benefit.

But maybe you meant something different.

So, you are from an Oil Painting Company in China. I have an Oil Painting Company in America. What a coincidence.

My Oil Painting Company has only one employee. I see him 7 days a week, every time I look in the mirror. He works hard creating new, unique works of art. He has almost 30 years' experience as a self-employed artist. Oh, and he is also the boss. He looks back at me an tells me "Your raise becomes effective when you do."

I am intrigued by your solicitation of my business. That is remarkable marketing on your part to search the internet for web pages that contain the words "oil painting" and then scavenge the e-mail addresses so you can send them spam about your business that sells oil paintings.

Personally, I can think of nothing more useful than spending my limited art income buying paintings from a company that employs underpaid, method-trained human equivalents of color Xerox machines — who bring nothing to the art world other than a glut of cheap facsimiles marketed to the average trailer monkey that wants something to offset that octagonal, faux-walnut, laminated-particle board end table beside the Naugahyde sleeper sofa; something that will look nice as a backdrop for Budweiser cans and empty 5 liter Almeden wine boxes.

Did you know many of my colleagues have had their own artistic creations downloaded right from their own blogs and websites and copied — brush-stroke for brush-stroke, including the signature! — by companies such as yours, if not indeed by yours? When I look at the pictures on your website I am forced to admit it is difficult to compete with a cramped cubicle full of sweating Chinese workers making several copies in assembly-line fashion. I have never even painted one Mona Lisa, much less twelve at a time. By the way, my friend Leonardo painted the original. He was pretty good, no?

I must say, I like your marketing catch-phrase "We also can make your own pictures." Either that is just bad Engrish, or you're trying to throw me a hint that you will soon be copying my work. Thanks for the heads up.

They say Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... Well, you guys take it to a whole new level.

There's a word we use over here in the USA for such flattery: stealing.

Please stop copying other artists and then selling them to entrepreneurs in America by the boatload so they can do Starving Artist Sales at the Ramada Inn. That just bugs me.

As you say, "Hoping we can start a good cooperation."

You can start by stopping.


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  1. Hahahaha!!! you are genius!!!
    I get mad when I get emails like that and always delete them since I can think of saying anything striking.

    Good reply!!

    I would love to see their faces hehe!

  2. Thanks for the laughs, David. You rock.


Feel free to post a helpful comment.

But, please do not post the full content of similar e-mails you have received. It is appreciated, however, if you post a comment with the name, e-mail and company/address of similar spammers. Thank you!

(Posting full texts of e-mail you receive doesn't help with Google searches, since comments are not included in Google indexes.) If you post the whole e-mail, it will just be deleted when I get around to it. Thanks.

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