April 29th, 2014

Advice please?

Hello everyone I has this issue which has been bothering me for a year. My friend and I work on commissions together and there was this customer who wanted a reference sheet from us. What he asked for was extremely complicated and detailed but thankfully it was completed to his liking. The customer made an agreement with us to not post it, since it was supposed to be a surprise and he would tell us when to post it.

Months flew by and there was seriously no word from him at all, I decided to ask my friends for opinions if my friend could post the old commission into the gallery because as an artist my friend has the right to post despite the agreement made (which that what was told to me). So after my friend posted the reference sheet the customer leaves a shout asking my friend to answer his notes. The guy was clearly upset and mentioned our agreement along with the fact he fears his character idea might get stolen (which is impossible since it has his name on it), so my friend took the image down and we all agreed that we get updated from him which he said he will. Of course our conversation was 3 months ago with no updates at all.

We honestly do not know what to do, like can my friend note him every once in a while or will that upset the guy?

UPDATE: So I sent him a note and got replied with this

AHHH yes, I am very sorry that Yoü have had to go through this pain and having to wait. I sincerely apologize and I hope Yoü are doing well for this year. My suit has been accepted by OneFurAll and will be made soon hopefully. If Yoü could please not post it yet it would be lovely. I would like to know though if Yoü have got your business cards ready so once I receive the suit I can hand your card out.

D: Well I never mentioned a business card and surprisingly his suit is going to be made by OFA which holy crap I didn't think they would accept such a task. So yeah I'm glad he was very apologetic for his lack of updates and such.

Using Artist Beware as a threat?

Hey guys. I've had a problem with a recent customer of mine using Artist Beware as a threat/last resort to get their way. I have used this community to look up questionable clients as well as artists, but I'm very aware of the permanent damage an Artist Beware post can do to one's name, resolved or not. I feel that's been used against me in this case.

The situation I'm in is this: I take custom repeatable pattern commissions that can be printed on fabric, wallpaper, books, etc. I had a client ask me not to sell their design, which I didn't, but I had it publicly listed on my Spoonflower as part of my portfolio. I recently attended a few events that involved me sharing my website with potential clients and editors, and since surface design is an interest of mine, I felt the more work the better.

Fast forward to this week and I get a short email from said client asking me to remove the pattern since it's their character. I'm very aware of artist rights, and not having written over rights I'm fully allowed to have it posted on my shop. It's worth noting, however, that I make next to no sales and was not exactly worried about it selling. Not having it listed for sale, though, would mean it wouldn't be visible on my main page. Editors don't exactly spend tons of time scouring every page on someone's site. You can see where I'm going here.

It's also worth noting that said client and I were on good terms with one another up until recent events that made me uncomfortable to the point of distancing myself. Regardless, I tried to stay as collected as possible to get across 1) That I own the rights to the image 2) I had no recorded sales on the fabric, and 3) The shop is part of my portfolio, which is why it was posted. They acknowledged that Spoonflower would not remove the art, so they informed me that they would come to Artist Beware if it was not removed. Feeling as though my hand was forced, I removed the pattern from my site.

While I feel my actions are justified, I wasn't willing to run the risk them posting about me. So my question is this: When confronted with the threat of an Artist Beware post, what can you even do? This is such a small community and niche audience that I feel it's dangerous to even risk them going through with it. I'd appreciate any input.

Thanks guys!