MosaicBlues: February 2015 .entry-content { font-size:25px !important; }

Monday, February 23, 2015

Interview


Last January. I had the great honour and pleasure to be interviewed by Robert Lisac, a talented Mosaic Artist and Teacher from Slovenia.

I will tell you later about his work ( Actually, I will let him tell you about it...). 

Robert and I have not met yet, as a few thousand miles of ocean separate us, but I hope to be able to meet him in person not too long down the road so the two of us can share our passion for mosaic around a bottle of French or Slovene Wine !

Flying Kiss by Robert Lisac


Beside his actual art creation, Robert writes a very interesting mosaic blog and is also very active in the Twitter Community...

But for now I will let you enjoy my Interview by Robert Lisac.
 
Frederic Lecut in his Studio
I am a modern mosaic artist inspired by the Arts of Classical Rome and French and Italian Renaissance. 

If you enjoyed this post, please Subscribe to my Newsletter to get the last news about Materials, Techniques and Sources of Inspiration of modern and antique Mosaic Artists and Patrons !
 

You can also see more of my work at mosaicblues.com.



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Anatomy of a tentative Scam





How to Scam an artist... and fail at it.

On February 9, 2015, I received an email from Nathan Ebaugh, Finnish retail businessman dealing with Art.



The whole thing was a scam...



Nathan had visited my Pinterest Board “Art Direct from Artists”. He wanted to purchase some of my mosaics and some masks from Brazilian artist Andy Ferrari. I put him in touch with Andy so he could directly deal with her.

After we agreed on prices, Nathan asked me to have my mosaics shipped to Helsinki, Finland through his US shipping agent Richard Kirk from Wichita Falls Texas. He would pay for the art and shipment with his credit card. I would just need to pay the shipment.

What would really happen was that he would pay me with a stolen credit card. I would wire money to the Shipping Agent (They do not take credit cards) to have them come pick up the Art pieces. And I would not hear anything from anybody any more.

Of course the credit card being stolen, I would get no money, the credit card payment would not be valid, but I would know about it too late. And I would have lost the money I had wired to the (Fake) Shipping Agent.



There were several red flags in this story :

  • No Websites either for the Client or the Shipping Agent.
  • Email addresses on gmail and outlook. Generally, established businesses have dedicated websites and email addresses.
  • The fact that the Shipping Agent only took wire transfers
  • The fact that Nat did not have a Paypal account (You do not need an account to make a payment through Paypal), and that he told me Paypal did not work with his credit card.
  • Specially the fact that he was asking me to find someone else who could use a credit card terminal to receive his payment.
  • Finally, I never found any Shipping Agent of this name in Wichita Falls...


I suppose the same person was handling the 2 email addresses. While this was going on, he was trying the same scam with Andy, who did not fall for it either. However, this kind of scam probably goes on. Beware !





Never send any money for shipment of your goods, unless you are protected. Once you wire money, there is nothing you can do...




Here are some of the details of the whole tentative scam :





This is the first email I received : 

Name: Nathan Ebaugh
Email: natebllc@gmail.com
Phone: 9027819872
Comments: Hello Sales, Am a Retail Business man i will like to order for some of your goods to my store in Finland,let me know if you can ship to my store in Finland and also accept credit card? Regards. Nat



We exchanged more emails and I understood he had seen one of my Pinterest Boards “Art direct from Artists” and was interested in purchasing Mosaics and Masks displayed on it. 
The masks were creation of Andy Ferrari, so I got him in contact with her. 
When I googled Nathan I could not find him. I asked him details about his activities and told him I would accept credit card payments through Paypal.

Hello Nat
Thank you for your inquiry. 
I ship mosaics worldwide, I have pieces in France, Australia and Dubai, I can ship air or sea. I make a strong wooden crate for the mosaics and they travel very safely.
I cannot directly take credit card but you can use your credit card to pay through Paypal.
Could you please tell me a little more about your business ? Do you have a web site ? 
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely 
Frederic Lecut.



I was a little surprised he had no website address, but after all, people have been doing business without website for centuries... His English was not exactly proper, but I thought that was normal for a Finnish guy. (After all my English is not perfect either...) As we agreed of the sale of 4 pieces, Nathan asked me to contact his shipping agent Castle Shipping Ltd in Wichita Falls, Texas, to ship gods to his address in Finland. I contacted the shipping agent and here is the answer I received :



Dear Client,
My name is Richard Kirk ,under the umbrella of CASTLE SHIPPING LIMITED.I am the pickup agent in charge of your customer's order, We can see in our data base that the customer with the ID # LK8230CL8 is from Finland and i can see that we have shipped to them before. Below are what we will need to quote you:
The pick-up address:(Where goods will be pick up) Dimensions: Weight: All you need to do is to pack the order down and we shall come over and have it repack for pick up. 
Richard Kirk - Castle Shipping Limited, 474 7th Street, Wichita Falls, Texas 76301




Everything seemed legit and professional...
I submitted Weight and Dimensions to the Shipping agent and received a professional email with a quote :

Dear Client,  
We would be glad to provide you with cost for shipment from the pick up location 610 Mitchell St, Headland, AL 36345 USA.Due to recent new custom regulator on some goods in Finland, the freight charges has increase which we believe Mr Nathan should be aware of. For a shipment moving from 610 Mitchell St, Headland, AL 36345 USA to Vesakkotic 6719 FI-00630 HELSINKI FINLAND , with the total weight and dimension you provide, below is the quote as requested. 
Customer ID# LK8230CL8
Your quote request # is 003649842. 
Shipping fee: $1420.00
PICK-UP ADDRESS: 610 Mitchell St, Headland, AL 36345, USA
Delivery Address: Vesakkotic 6719, FI-00630 HELSINKI, FINLAND
The freight costs includes: Collection from your Yard - Customs clearance - Transfer fee - Air Freight - Duties - Inland transit to Finland - Insurance - Import Permit - Door To Door Delivery in Finland - ETC
We have greatly reduce the price of your customer shipment. We accept Wire transfer as a means of payment, you have to let us know when the goods will be ready for pick up in other to schedule a pick up for the shipment as we normally have a lot of shipment request.We can ship to any where in the world and we will be grateful to be at your service.Thank You and we hope to serve you.
We make it a simple task, Whatever the journey, Wherever in the world.
Thank you
Richard Kirk
Castle Shipping Limited - 474 7th Street, Wichita Falls, Texas 76301

As I thought the quote was little high, I contacted my Shipping agent who quoted me $860. I contacted Nathan about that, but he told me he was used to dealing with Castle Shipping and would rather pay full price for their great service... After all, it was his money !
   
Hello Frederic, 
Thanks so much for getting back to me with the cost of my order and shipping cost from Castle Shipping, am quite please with the cost of order and shipping cost from Castle Shipping,with Castle Shipping fee i wont be paying for any more tariff,tax or charges,also i sincerely appreciate you getting another shipping quote for me through DHL,there are some charges they don't pay for which i will have to pay when the goods get to Finland that why i want you to make use of Castle Shipping for the shipment,more over the shipping address is difficult to locate in Finland which has cost me lost of goods and goods been return so please feel free to make use of Castle Shipping. 
I will like to proceed with the order by sending you my valid US issued credit card details to charge for the order and shipping,please let me know the details you will need to process my credit card. 
Thanks 
Nat





I replied this was no problem but that I could not proceed his credit card directly and that he could pay me with his credit card through Paypal


Hello Nathan 
Like I told you from the beginning, I cannot process your credit card myself, however, you can use that credit card to pay me through Paypal. You just go to their site and enter my email address. I would rather you pay directly the shipping company, but I can do this for you if you would like to. 
Paypal is charging a 3.9 % fee to process the international transfer....

I finally received this answer :


Frederic,
Thanks so much for getting back to me with the final cost of my order, am quite please with the total cost, i will be please if you can get a close source of yours who has a credit card terminal machine to charge my credit card, i will be paying for the sub-charge fee for the charges,please bear with me on this i don't have an account with Pay Pal and it doesn't work on my credit card.  
Thanks 
Nat


Now this was a little strange. I was not going to go ask someone I knew to use their credit card terminal, so this was my answer to Nat :


Dear Nat
I should be able to use your credit card through Paypal myself. If you provide me with all details of your credit card, I can do this for you. I will need credit card number, name on card, billing address, expiration...





Since then, I have not heard from the little Weasel...



I am a modern mosaic artist with a studio in Headland, Alabama, USA and Saint Valery / Somme in Northern France. Although my work is mostly inspired by the Arts of Classical Rome and Greece I am also highly interested in modern artists working with unconventional materials. I enjoy sharing the latest news about them in this blog.

Veiled Black and White

If you enjoyed this post, please Subscribe to my Newsletter to get the last news about Materials, Techniques and Sources of Inspiration of modern and antique Mosaic Artists and Patrons!

You can also :

See more of my work at mosaicblues.com. 
 
Follow me on Twitter @fredericlecut and/or on Facebook.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Making of a Mosaic Portrait


In 1954, in le Bois de Cise, France, Claude and Marie took a moment to contemplate the Ocean.



60 years later, a few computer manipulations brought up a first model.


Because this work would be executed following my preferred reverse method, I inverted the image to define the colours.




As I intended to take this work with me to France in  a regular suitcase I built it in 2 separate parts, each face separately, to later assemble them in France.



August 27, 2014.

In September, I started to lay off the tesserae of Claude's face.


September 7, 2014.

Mosaics are not made at the same speed. Work goes slower at the beginning, then speeds up and slows down at the end of the laying. 

Once 20% of your tiles are in place you use them to support the next coming tiles. A mosaic grows following a process similar to a crystallization

You start in several places, gluing a few tiles. You then wait for the glue to set before you can use these tiles as support to glue more of them.

September 16, 2014

Once 90 % of your tiles are down you are left with only little spaces and gaps and you slow down to carefully adjust the shape of each tile to fit them inside existing gaps.



October 20, 2014.

Early in November, Claude's face and chest were complete, and I started laying his background.


 
November 8, 2014.

I transferred him onto another working table, so I could start working on Marie's part.



November 15, 2014.

Mid November, I started to lay Marie's tesserae.




November 16, 2014.



I was now progressing on both faces on 2 different tables : completing Claude's background, progressing on Marie's face and chest.



November 25, 2014.

I completed Marie's face on November 29, and from then on I concentrated on her background.

December 1, 2014
At the end of November Claude part was complete. Portrait and background.

December 1, 2014.




I completed Marie's part on December 3rd. 

I laid them down side by side to get a first idea of what they would look like together...


December 4, 2014.




You always feel a little anguish at that very moment... But well... I was quite satisfied.

Claude, Marie and Luana flew to France with me on December 16 and on December 18 I went to work in the new mosaicblues Studio. 



December 18, 2014. Pre-grout.

And unveiled them on December 19...

December 19, 2014
The flipping of a reverse method mosaic is always a magical moment. When you build it on mesh as I did this one, you actually can get a good idea of what your mosaic will look like once complete. Still, you never really know until you're done !

The "Unveiling" is the last operation : the actual mosaic appears to your eyes...

On December 24, the Claude & Marie mosaic was complete, assembled and framed.



December 24, 2014.


July 1954

Claude and Marie's mosaic is 33 x 28" (82 x 60 cm) and only weighs 22 lb (10 kg)
Have you ever thought about it ?  Portraits make outstanding birthday or anniversary presents and mosaics last forever ! 

If you would like to discuss or commission a portrait, or any other type of mosaic, you can either call me at (334) 798 1639 or drop me an email at  frederic.lecut@gmail.com.


You can also Subscribe to my Newsletter to get the last news about Materials, Techniques and Sources of Inspiration of modern and antique Mosaic Artists and Patrons !



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Coffee Mosaics !



After the 2012 World Largest Coffee Bean Mosaic by Russian artist Arkady Kim...



Mexican Artist Carlos Torio's mosaic  'La Ceremonia de la C├ípsula’ is composed of Espresso coffee cups of various colours. 



In his work displayed in the Gallery  Mad is Mad in Madrid, Spain, the Artist expresses his beloved concept of the eternal return through the recycling of empty coffee cups.

Re-cycling as Re-turn...



I am a modern mosaic artist with a studio in Headland, Alabama, USA and Saint Valery / Somme in Northern France. Although my work is mostly inspired by the Arts of Classical Rome and Greece I am also highly interested in modern artists working with unconventional materials. I enjoy sharing the latest news about them in this blog.

If you enjoyed this post, please Subscribe to my Newsletter to get the last news about Materials, Techniques and Sources of Inspiration of modern and antique Mosaic Artists and Patrons! 
 
You can also :
See more of my work at mosaicblues.com
Follow me on Twitter @fredericlecut and/or on Facebook.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

60 years later


In July 1954, Claude and Marie were enjoying a warm afternoon at le Bois de Cise...











In July 2014, Claude asked me to make a mosaic based on this picture... I went to work in Alabama, and delivered the mosaic in December, for Marie's Birthday...






Can you really think of a more awesome birthday or anniversary present than a mosaic portrait? Paintings can be gorgeous, but so can be Mosaics, and they last forever ! Some of the oldest art we have are Greeks and Roman mosaics !

I am a French Mosaic Artist. I live and work with my 2 dogs, 2 cats and many chickens in Alabama and have a second studio in France. You can see more of my mosaics on my mosaicblues pages. If you would like to discuss or commission a portrait mosaic, or any other type of mosaic, please call me at (334) 798 1639 or drop me an email at  frederic.lecut@gmail.com.




You can also Subscribe to my Newsletter wher I share with you the last news about Materials, Techniques and Sources of Inspiration of modern and antique (Specially Greeks and Romans) Mosaic Artists and Patrons !