He was a classic conman, a smooth talking angle worker. I met him when he brought some paintings to Australia, the work of some serial killer or other, he was selling prints, riding the serial killer fashion of the day. Yep, serial killers were in fashion, he noticed and sold stuff off the back of it.
He exhibited the quite probably fake pictures in a gallery attached to a restaurant and bar I played in regularly, stayed in the hotel upstairs, I got to know him quite well. He knew I wasn't buying any of his nonsense so we spoke honestly to each other, then he turned on the bullshit when anyone else was around.
He told me that ignorance was his friend. People in one place knew what a product was worth, people in another place thought that product was worth ten times that price. He paid attention, moved that product from the knowledgeable place to the ignorant place. He told me that a product he called "smut" was cheap in the U.S., expensive in Mexico, so he moved smut from the U.S. to Mexico. He told me that hand made sandals were worn by peasants in some South American countries, he moved the same sandals to Europe and sold them as indigenous handcrafted excellence.
Then when someone was listening he told stories of escaping South American militia, crapping in a plastic bag for three days so the dogs couldn't track him, enough ugly detail to sound pithy and real. The folks lapped it up, wanted in on whatever deal he had going. The idea of a fast buck always guarantees an audience.
He departed before dawn a couple of days before he was due to check out. Of course he hadn't paid for his hotel room, bar tab, restaurant tab, he hadn't paid for anything. No one seemed too upset, he'd left us all with some hilarious and unlikely stories, and a little education. The man was an entertainer, he'd paid his bills with his twenty four hour a day live show. The man was an artist, his entire life on exhibition, even if all the works were probably fakes.
I loved his show, his performance, his con. A more honest man you'll never meet.