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  • Writer's picturekilncreations

Art and Scams and AI con't

I promised you a part two, what we didn't know is that the last two weeks would be so overwhelmingly busy in a great way.

But I want to dive back in with vim and vigor so here goes.

Scams we all fall for and how to avoid them.

I won't talk outside my scope here, because there are cult scams, MLM scams, therapy scams, seminar scams, self-help scams, schools can be scams, restaurants, attractions you name it. I just want to focus on art-based events and classes and how bad players create a promise and take your money without delivering.

What is an art- based scam?

There are many ways an art-based business might scam you. But we are going to focus on what we offer. They might produce unrealistic, manipulated images to promote an event or class, using a technique, color, or product that is impossible to create in the time frame allotted, for a newbie or even at all in this universe.

Take my terrible example here. I took a mug that I personally painted on the left and manipulated it on the right.

Mug on left is dark blue with runny spots of orange, blue, and white. Mug on right is Light blue with runny spots of dark blue, white, and hot pink
A real mug and it's AI counterpart

I can tell you the colors I used (Tu Tu Tango, Bluebeard, Blue Isle, Stoned Denim), I can tell you the application (Peacock- flux, stroke and coat and stoneware glaze), I can tell you how long it took (20 minutes) and how I finished it (cone 6, medium speed). I can also tell you what I did to the right (Added pink spots, upped the white tones and used a filter). What I cannot do is tell you how to achieve the right in person with pottery glazes. That hot pink doesn't exist and that washed out look could be achieved but it would be a minute and a few test tiles to figure it out.

What about this takes this from "bad photo edit" to "scam"? If I doctor the photo and promise you the outcome from the right, that would be a scam. 100% a scam.

And at this point if you're thinking "Why am I reading this, I know what a scam is and how to avoid it," I want to ask you truly, if I didn't tell you the one on the right was fake, would you know? If I presented this to you and said I was teaching this class, would you take it?

I have built up a trust with my clientele. Anyone who has taken my classes knows I will never say I am the best painter, potter, or business owner. I do not guarantee results outside the scope of what I have tested and know works. In some of our posts we outright say "Your project might not survive the kiln. Should it crumble, we'll help you do it again." I mean that fully and completely.

Since you trust me, if I told you we could all make a mug like the one on the right would you believe me? If you did, you would have fallen for a scam. There's no blame on the consumer here- you trust me, the photo WAS real, until I altered it, there's no 6 fingered man or fake hieroglyphs to tip you off. I would be in the wrong for promising what I know is unachievable.

I can see how all of this is reading very bleak and dark. I mean, my 7-year-old can produce AI images. And there are very few tells in something so small as a mug.

How do you protect yourself- and your wallet- from art scams?

The first and foremost point in protecting yourself from an art scam- and really a LOT of scams- is to go to the venue in person. At our store, that mug on the left sits on a shelf in the front. Along with 5 others like it in different color schemes. You can touch it, ask us about the colors, see other samples, feel that they are handmade and more. If you see me post a class that looks like it cannot be human made art, come see the sample. I promise you I have one because I refuse to teach a class blind.

Critically think about the venue. My shop is small- We have 42 seats and rarely run an event with all 42 available for purchase. It's just too tight. If I post pictures of 100s of people smiling in my tiny shop, that would be a scam. This applies for any venue. Which can be hard if you aren't local to the venue.

That's where my next tip comes in. Read the reviews. I have hundreds of reviews on yelp, google, facebook, maybe even reddit from our 23 years in business. And they ain't all rosy. Because we are a human shop, run by humans, who caters to humans, sometimes we fall short. Those reviews are there. One notable one from a mom in 2020 who was mad she paid $120 for an event for 4 people and her mugs didn't turn out the way she wanted.

I will gladly tell you the full story in person, but for the purposes of this "Is Kiln Creations a Scam?" article, I refunded her and took the mugs back. Then I used those mugs for years as examples of what happens when you don't listen to instructions. I'm human, I didn't give her good enough instructions. She's human and didn't listen to the instructions. She left a review and I responded. It all just proves that we exist and are operating on good faith that we will do our best to be clear and you will do your best to enjoy the ride.

If I had 5 stars, 100% every time, not one complaint or exclamation, I wouldn't shop with me. No one is everyone's cup of tea. Some people like coffee. When you see a new venue pop up with pre-written review raving about their products and service and not one 1-3 star review, baby you are ripe for a scammin'.

At Kiln Creations, we are operating a real business in a real neighborhood, we truly believe everyone who walks through the door can benefit from creating art, and we stand by our product and policies. We're not AI, just regular I (and on bad days we're a little short on I if ykwim.) We won't scam you, and if you feel like we are, let's talk about it.

My email is open.

More importantly, stay safe out there. From art scams, and all the other scams.

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