September 15th, 2010

Artists Beware: Commissioner - Arokh3

I was approached by an Arokh3 on FA, who was interested in commissioning three pieces of art from me, but refused to talk about his commissions via private notes like everyone else (I actually make it a rule, too). Instead, he requested for my messenger info, and started chatting away at me on AIM, below is the transcript of the conversation:

Litespd567: This is Arokh3 from FA. But maybe you're afk. ;x Or playing Reach

Eeeeeera: hey Arokh3 ^^ yeah sorry about the weird AIM name :) a friend used to call me that. no I am not afk - busy organizing commission info and replying to notes. it's always like this on the day I open commissions x_x to be honest I was in quite a shock when you said you wanted 3 slots

Litespd567: Well thanks for letting me know you opened, anyway, because most artists refuse to do that... 'Check my journal for when I open', but there's like 50 journal updates a day from people I watch, I can't read them all, so I don'!

Eeeeeera: btw I may be slow to respond from time to time due to aforementioned activities - feel free to keep messaging on, tho :)

Litespd567: Oh pssh, how many slots did you open?

Eeeeeera: well when I promise to let people know when I open commissions, I try to keep my promise - sometimes I forget, though. x_x just honest mistakes. because when people have the courtesy to contact me beforehand, it wouldn't be very nice to leave them hanging. :)

Eeeeeera: I technically only opened 5 slots this week, so I had to overbook the three people who made reservations, since all 5 slots filled within a few hours

Litespd567: ahh o.o; Should I not ask for 3 then? :<

Eeeeeera : oh it's quite alright. it may just take a while to finish all of yours is all. :)

Litespd567: How long would you say if I commissioned you today?

Eeeeeera: well I do have all the other commissioners to take care of as well. I am hoping to finish those 5 within a week and a half, then there's a piece for Leftcross, then 3 of yours. your three pieces alone will probably take 4-5 days

Litespd567: *noddles* There's something we should work out early so we don't waste each other's time incase we disagree. =p I'll only pay any given artist a max of $50 in advance at any point in time (that's total, not per pic), though I really prefer to pay after. I've gotten over 1000 commissions now, and I'd be happy to show 'em all to you as proof I'm an 'Expert Commissioner' =p

Eeeeeera: yes I've taken a quick look at your gallery. :) you've got quite a collection. but from my perspective as an artist, letting people pay after has created more issues than it's worth in the past. it's not that I don't trust you, but I simply want to keep the rules straightforward and uniform for all my commissioners to streamline the work process. If you have doubts regarding my work ethic, you could ask the people who have commissioned me if they've ever had problem with me.

Litespd567: Oh pssh, the gallery isn't anything. Those are just the clean ones. c.c I regularly bribe artists to get ahead in lines XD so they don't want those posted. otherwise the other people would see and get mad >.>

Litespd567: Anyway I don't have doubts. You have your policies and mine are just as valid. Nothing to do with trust.

Eeeeeera: to put it simply, if I make an exception for you as far as payment policy goes, that means by principle, I have to allow exceptions for people who ask for it, period. and quite a few people have asked in the past, I always let them pay after; I can name may be three people who were prompt and always held up their end of the promise. the others all dragged their feet or "forgot"

Litespd567: Why would that be the case though? That's kind of silly. So you're saying that people with bad credit should be able to go into a bank and ask for a loan with super low interest, because somebody with good credit had a lower interest rate? Unfortunately that's not how most things work! =p

Litespd567: Eheh, well my turnaround time isn't horrible enough for you to need to bribe me to get in front of the line, I don't think. Besides, I would prefer if you didn't - as far as regular commissions go, it is first come first serve (unless someone has a payment issue, in which case their piece is put on hold)

Litespd567: Anyway, I did say I'd pay up to $50 in advance

Eeeeeera: Well when it comes to loans, banks can look at credit reports. For commissions, I don't have anything aside from the commissioner's words to go by.

Litespd567: do you have skype?

Eeeeeera: And who would ever say "I may have trouble paying you when your art is done?"

Eeeeeera: I do but I only use that for family, sorry. :)

Litespd567: It's not for talking/video. It's for screen sharing. I'll just show you my commissions folder, and chat with artists, let them know you're watching, and ask them to explain our business. ^^

Eeeeeera: I don't like to talk on the phone in general. Handing you my messenger names was already a special treatment, just fyi... ;)

Litespd567: Well thanks. ;p But, anyway, no there'd be no voice or webcam involved.

Eeeeeera: I would prefer not. :) I am sorry for any inconvenience on your part. Like I said, it has nothing to do with trust. You don't have to show me your commission folder to prove your point.

Litespd567: So... it's not that you can't get a 'credit report', it's that you just won't go through the effort? c.c

Eeeeeera: Umm, no. I think I made my point about the policy being a matter of principle. Sure, I can check your "credit report" - but if I make an exception for you, it sets a precedence, and it means I have to check the credit report of every commissioner who asks for an exception.

Litespd567: Can you give a reason why?

Litespd567: Nevermind, don't worry about it, cancel my slots. I'll spend the money on an artist who wants to do business with me, which it seems you clearly don't.

Eeeeeera: I simply don't want to give any of my commissioners preferential treatment - I think I treat everyone politely and respectfully, and I expect nothing more (or less) in return. It is not a question of money or whether or not you can "prove" your worth. For the same reason I won't let you bribe your way to the front of the line. It's a matter of principle.

Litespd567: I didn't ask to bribe you.

Eeeeeera: *shrugs* if you think so. :) it's been nice talking with you.

Litespd567: Can't say I'm not disappointed you're not willing to apply real-life practices to your business! I really liked Sikhoten's pic when he showed me.

Eeeeeera: I didn't say I don't want to do business with you either. I simply said as an artist, I expect commissioners to follow my Terms of Agreement for service. I am not going to make exceptions for people, even if they have money to shower me with. Sorry.

Eeeeeera: Your reserved slots have been cancelled. Feel free to contact me via notes if you require my services in the future. If there's nothing else, I bid you good night. :)

Litespd567: I won't be doing that unless you improve your customer service.

Eeeeeera: Asking for people to violate their TOS in favor of your convenience is not good customer service. It has become clear you are not someone I will ever enjoy doing business with. Sorry and good night

I have heard from several people that this guy isn't a scammer per se, and does pay for his commissions. But this kind of attitude is simply atrocious. Artists beware!

Artist: Kitsubaka

EDIT: Kitsubaka has contacted me at last and after a long conversation on AIM, she has promised that 1) She will no longer be taking commissions in the future so there's no reason to avoid her, and 2) She will do her best to make amends to her past commissioners by either finishing the artworks she owe in the near future or issuing refunds when she has the money.

Please hold to these promises Kitsu. I will now announce the matter as resolved. Wish you good luck in everything. :)

Artist Account: Kitsubaka

First and foremost let me say that I take no pleasure in making this entry, because she used to be a friend. We once chatted a lot and sorta did some art trades.

On Oct 28th, 2007, she held a round of quick commissions due to a financial emergency and needed some money (See 10-28-07 Original Journal - thanks stolenmilkcrate for digging it up!)

I really wasn't looking to commission people at the time, but I signed up anyway (mainly to help a friend, I didn't really care when she gets to do the artwork... I don't usually mind long turnaround times, but... read on). It was a $35 sketch for two horse characters.

Months pass by - initially, I gave her a reminder about once every few weeks, to see if there were any status updates. At first, she was fairly responsive to my notes/comments, but after about 6 months she started ignoring my attempts to communicate altogether. Now, I can understand if she is just busy with real life stuffs and didn't have time to work on art, but this was not the case: Not only was she constantly posting artworks she had done for herself, she continued to draw new art for her friends as well as taking on new commissions even though my piece (along with several other people's) were still overdue.

Since she refused to respond, I only poked her at an interval of every 2 to 3 month (may be she was just stressed about something... I dunno). Fast forwarding to August 18th, 2009, I poked her again about my 2-year overdue commission when she held another quick round of commissions (See 8-18-09 Journal Entry), and finally got a response. She made a note of my name (and kept it on file when her computer crashed a few entries later - note the number of people in the comments who said she owed them art: Anyare in particular signed up for the 2007 commission round with me), and I haven't poked her about it ever since (since I figured she might actually remember this time) - and nope, still haven't gotten my artwork.

If you look at her journal entry, you'll see that she has taken on plenty of art trades and commissions since then. Her gallery is in no shortage of new artworks. And I do honestly feel bad about asking for a refund at this point, especially considering she always seems to be tight on money (though frankly, that's not my problem... and look what I got myself into when I tried to help)

Not that we talk much anymore, but ah, how one bad business practice can change a friendship.