In November of 2007 Khai Ratner, aka shivra
, aka Arvish, aka Shiv posted on one of the fursuiting communities saying that they needed some fursuit supplies, and were willing to trade art for them.
I happened to have what he (or she, I actually have no idea) needed on hand, and wanted a drawing of one of my characters, so I agreed to the trade. I also gave him a whole bunch of tips and advice about fursuit building. On November 20th I shipped everything out. After about three weeks, having heard nothing, I e-mailed to ask if the stuff had arrived. It had, but he had forgotten who had sent it and had lost all my e-mails. I should probably have started worrying then, but I can be absent-minded myself, so I didn't think anything of it. I re-sent my reference pictures, and Khai promised me that he would have something for me the next day. He didn't, but did by the day after, so I wasn't too fussed. Just some very rough stick-figure-ish pose sketches, but I approved one of them.
I never got a response to my approving the sketch. About a month later I decided that I was getting a little impatient, so I e-mailed and asked if there was any progress. I got no response. About two weeks or so after that I e-mailed again, just asking if there was any progress, and if he had an estimate on when it would be completed. Still no response. A week after THAT I sent a somewhat irate letter. I'll give the actual text of it here:
"Considering that I've already sent you everything on my side of this
trade, could you at least have the courtesy to respond to my question?
I don't mind waiting, but I would like to know how long. If I don't
get a response of some kind soon I'm going to be forced to consider
you a dead-beat. Please, just let me know how long you're likely to
be, that's all I want to know."
That got me a response, finally:
"Hey! sorry I've been in new york for a while. I'm not one to not reply to things. :X
I've got a few deadlines to do and then I'll finish up what I've done for you. You wanted a reference or just a general image?"
At this point I was getting kind of pissed, honestly, but I tried to keep it polite and answered the question about what I wanted. Three weeks later I yet again e-mailed, just asking how much longer it would be. I got a response with line art that was pretty decent. The message said only "How's this look? Ok for color?" I said it was lovely, and it was fine for color, and also said thanks. Maybe I would get my art after all!
So I sat back to wait. Three months later, in April of this year, I finally got tired of waiting and yet again asked if there was any progress. Khai told me that there wasn't any, but that I was at the top of his list for completion asap. I said thanks and waited some more.
A month later I asked again if there had been any progress. No response. Two weeks after that I asked again. No response. Two weeks after THAT I sent an e-mail saying that this was getting absurd and would he please let me know when I could expect my art.
He responded with the following:
"I did send you the lineart and asked about a color ref, if you didn't get
it, here it is again.
Now, let's see... when he said he's lost my original e-mail, I re-sent my references, including a color ref. When he sent me the line art, he said only "okay for color?" and did NOT ask for a color ref. So I have just been LIED TO. I will admit that at this point I got slightly sarcastic. Here's my response:
""How's this look? Ok for color?"
That's what you said, and I said yes. You didn't ask anything about a
color ref, what I quoted there was the whole message you sent me with
the line art. I gave you a color ref when we first discussed this,
so I don't know why you suddenly need one, particularly as after that
message with the line art, you then sent me a message saying you would
finish it asap. In April. Two months ago.
If, for some bizarre reason, you really do need a color ref again, here it is."
That was at the end of May. I got no response to that message. But he had my ref for certain this time, so maybe I might still get my art. So I waited some more. This last week (July 6th) I e-mailed one last time, asking him to please let me know how it was coming. He said that he apologized for "all this" and that he'd just pay me for the supplies.
So fine. I'll take the money. I'm beyond pissed off at this point, I wanted art, not a few bucks, but whatever. So I said yes and gave him my paypal, expecting payment that day. Or maybe the next? Well, it's the day after THAT now, and given the fact that I've had no response, and given the past history of ignoring me, brushing me off and outright lying to me I'm sick of waiting. Two days is plenty of time to send a paypal in, and if he couldn't send it that fast he could at least reply to my e-mail and let me know.
Maybe I'll get the money eventually. Maybe I won't. Maybe seeing this here will get through to him, he's a member of this community. At this point I honestly don't care, I'm never going to see the art I wanted, and it's not enough money for me to pitch a fit over, but I figure I should share this, so that nobody else has to go through this crap with him. I could happily wait eight or nine months for good art, if I was told up front it would be that long, and if I was kept up to date and not ignored or lied to. But given the ignoring and lying to, and given that I was given the rather strong impression that it would be much, much sooner than nine months later, I'm not at all happy with this transaction.
Edit: I have now been paid, so this not a case of ripping off somebody or cheating them. I did not post this as some sort of attack or smear. I realize that the artist had the best of intentions at the beginning, but you know what they say about good intentions. And if an artist is going to behave in such an unprofessional manner (and I have now had two
private messages saying that they are aware of or have suffered from similar behavior from this artist) then people ought to know about it so they can enter a transaction informed, rather than ignorant as I was at the beginning of all this.