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There's been a fair few posts on Terms of service and other legal bits that artists need to take commissions, but what about afterwards? I'm sure many people have many happy customers who have enjoyed their work for years but there's always a chance that something will have gone wrong with something after it's completed.

How long a guarantee should an artwork have on it? How long after purchase would you expect an artist to compensate you/replace/repair/refund if your purchase turns out to have a fault? (By fault, I mean an actual fault, ie it falls apart or fades suddenly for no apparent reason, not "waahh that stud is a millimeter off, it's ruined")

What sort of things would you consider an artist has to cover, what would definitely not fall under it in your opinion?

Is it strange to guarantee something like an illustration?

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( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 9th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
I think it is parallel with how much you pay for the product. If I were to commission a 50$+ custom sculpture, I would expect it not to have pieces fall off, and arrive chipped and what not. After spending so much, of course I am going to want an artist to fix their mistakes.

However, and I've had this happen once or twice, I've picked up charms at a con for maybe 5$ and had it fall apart in nearly the same day I purchased it. I felt less inclined to do anything about it, because it was a tiny 5 dollar piece and didn't mean anything special.

As for illustrations, I would assume it shouldn't arrived damaged, though its hard to say if that would be fault of the artist or the shipping company. Again, if its a pricey commission, I think it would be wise for both parties to consider shipping insurance, once the commission has gone past a certain price bracket, to guarantee they get their monies worth back for something like that.
Jun. 9th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)

Personally I think that a $5 charm shouldn't fall apart anymore than a $50 custom sculpture should. Realistically though it does happen.

Though I can see how price would make a difference to some people.
Jun. 9th, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
As someone who sells charms I hope someone would come to me after that, it shouldn't happen even with charms. If it does then the design needs to change. I had this happen with some of my first designs until I understood that the wire I was using would unbend and move inside the clay. Since it took 2-3 weeks to happen for the one I made myself (I'm a light user, it was on my bakpack) I had sold several before realizing it. I redid ones for the people that came to me about it no questions asked! It certainly shouldn't be "expected!"

That said, if it was months down the line with rough and heavy use I wouldn't be as charitable. Even keychains bought from the store don't hold up past 2-3 months with heavy use.
Jun. 9th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
I think a lot of it has to do with the fact in both instances they were artists I had not dealt with/ heard of before, and wasn't wanting to risk causing a potential problem over 5$, not knowing how they would react.

I do understand that nothing should be falling apart, whether its 5$ or 50$, but Just like I usually don't return inexpensive things to stores, I'm not one to hassle an artist about it either.
Jun. 9th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
Most fursuits are for active use, so many artists offer some form of warranty repair after being sold. Generally that means normal wear and tear not due to abuse. A popped seam or a separated eye piece for example, most artists have no problem fixing. But torn fur, broken parts that could not happen in the course of general performance, stains, etc. would not be covered unless the artist is generous.

As for how long, that depends on the artist. A 1 year warranty is common, but many people will at least try and help fix the suit as long as it's being actively worn.
Jun. 9th, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
I think it depends on the medium, and if the buyer was aware that this was a possibility. Take custom my little ponies for example. A dyed pony can look amazing, professional, etc. But over time the dye leeches into other things and fades. Anyone researching the method ought to be aware of that. That pony will not look the same 2-3 years later as it does when first made. If the buyer is aware when commissioning but wants it anyways then no, there should be no guarentee. It's not unlike purchaseing and displaying a mint pony with light "fading" pink hair.

Paintings too get a little iffy, because their archivability does depend as much on proper framing and storage as on the materials. If left in the sunshine fading is a given.

Sorry for my ramble...I'm just not sure it's specific enough. I would warrenty myself against defects (like, I would def. relaminate any badges I made when I still though 3 mil laminate was OK if asked to...)but I wouldn't replace a charm that someone bought from me, used heavily as a cellphone charm for 3 months that got a chip in the paint simply because that kind of thing can't last forever no matter how you make it. Normal wear and tear is part of the game If the chip appeared the same day though, yes, I would totally fix it for free. (or like in the example above, yikes!)
Jun. 9th, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC)
I ask the customer for all of their information (email address, telephone number, business card if applicable) and ask that we keep in touch in case anything ever happens to a painting that I sell. Also, I will need their contact information in case I ever need to get all of the work back for a retrospective show. Depends on the situation and the work being sold, though. If it's a major painting, I'll take all of their information... if it's a drawing or a print, I'll probably just ask them for an email address so I can put them on my mailing list, but otherwise... if something happens afterward, it's usually out of my hands. Serious art collectors will usually have insurance to cover their collections.
Jun. 9th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC)
If I get a piece of art and I approve that I am happy with it, once it's in my possession then it's my problem if something happens to it. If something like a badge would delaminate or something...at max I would say 6 months
Jun. 9th, 2010 11:04 pm (UTC)
I don't cover 'fading suddenly' or anything like that, you have no idea how the client has stored a picture over a series of months or years; and if it fades suddenly, it's likely to have been kept in direct sunlight (bad bad bad, even with 'non-fade pigments' in some mediums).

I include care instructions in my receipt email. Get the piece framed. Look after it. I use non-fade mediums wherever I can but it's a once of a kind of original and there's a reason why galleries are so uptight about 'perfect temp / perfect humidity / perfect lighting,' and it's not because artwork isn't fragile.

I think it's quite different for 2-D vs. 3-D art, sometimes, anyway. But overall, I take no responsibility for damages my client might inflict on a painting once it's in their possession. If it's not being kept *in* a gallery, where they can maintain perfect temp / humidity / lighting, or worse, not being kept *in* a frame with glass or perspex, then it's up to them to choose what to do.

The other thing is, in rare cases, some 2-D artwork is meant to age naturally and quickly. And in some cases, this actually increases the value, and doesn't decrease it. I do know a couple of professional artists who deliberately use mediums like newspaper to paint on (i.e. a fading, crumpling medium that wants to fall apart) as part of the appeal of their artwork. It's transient, it lasts as long as it lasts, even with protection.

I doubt this 'transience = value' is as common in 3-D artwork.

To date, after about 5 years of sending out artwork, this has never happened.
Jun. 10th, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC)

I'd disagree that fading necessarily equals direct sunlight, I brought a bunch of dA magnet prints, they've been kept out of the sun the whole time (they spent most of the time packed since I've been decorating my home), and within a year or two those so-called archival inks started going funny, especially light blue which started going a garish pink colour.
Jun. 10th, 2010 03:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, no, when it comes to digital printing, it's really hard to get really long-lasting, colour fade materials. I mean, most artists using traditional mediums can spend thousands of dollars buying mediums that don't fade under light, but many printers won't always spend thousands of dollars on ink cartridges for the same privileges.

Technology is getting a lot better, but when it comes to some prints - especially those printed on magnets, which often need a different process and are affected by the magnets themselves - things can fade a lot faster. :/
Jun. 10th, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC)

My point was merely that fading isn't always necessarily because of direct sunlight. Sometimes even materials that are supposed to be fade resistant will still do funny things, I also have a mug that had it's white bits turn a funny cream colour after it was washed and it's supposed to be safe to wash.

Everyone does their best to ensure something lasts a long time but sometimes you find out a year or two down the line that your material manfacturer's claims don't match up to the product performance.
Jun. 9th, 2010 11:24 pm (UTC)
I think this becomes a very gray area at times, but it really should come down to the artist knowing the media and doing every thing they can to work with it in a way that has some longevity, AND to inform the buyer what to expect from it.

If the buyers gives the needed facts on the media, and the buyer is using the item as expected, I think 6 months is a fair time frame to repair something that unexpectedly breaks, fades, or otherwise is majorly damaged. If the buyer hasn't been treating the item in ways expected, and it ends up fading, falling apart, I don't see why the artist should be required to fix it.

I print waterproof stickers, and I always give buyers a quick note that they do fade after about 2 years if put on a car that will be sitting out in the sun daily, and that they should clean the surface they want to put them on, to avoid water getting underneath the sticker and causing damage. I feel by giving that information up front, I shouldn't have to replace a sticker that someone fails to put on properly becoming damaged.

Jun. 9th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)
I haven't had to mail out a lot of work to people, since until recently I liked holding on to the originals....

but I'd say if something were to happen in transit, depending on what exactly happened, I might be willing to compensate the customer. If it was something that I could have prevented, like I forgot to secure something so it was damaged somehow, then I'd refund the customer. If it looked like the delivery guy decided to play Frisbee with his dog using the picture instead of an actual Frisbee despite my countless "Do Not Fold" warnings on the packaging, then I'd try to repair it (if possible) or compensate them somehow.

I sort of figure once it's in their hands and knowing that it got there in one piece, then whatever happens after that isn't my problem, since I warn anybody of obvious things (don't get it wet, keep it out of the sun, etc.)
Jun. 10th, 2010 12:01 am (UTC)
I keep work files for 1-2 months after finishing the commission, but generally, I stop offering changes after about two weeks. At that point, if you haven't noticed the Big Glaring Flaw, then there's something wrong with you; not the image. I only keep the work file for that long after because I just typically don't delete that stuff until I think about it, ie- when that folder becomes a cluttered mess again.

A commissioner can request the work file from me as long as I have it. I'm not sure what they might need it for, but some people like to have it.

I also tend to keep a working resolution version of the image that's available upon request. Usually, those will get deleted at the end of the year (as a space-saving measure, more than anything. Some of these files get huge, and if I've got several hundred of them clogging up my hard drive, it kills performance).

"Low-Res" files are kept indefinitely, barring any system failure on my end. By low-res, I mean shrunk down to around 1000 pixels on the longest edge, but not compressed, so as to maintain quality. A person can come back to me at any time and request another copy of their image. As long as they know the year and what it looked like, I can send it to them.

With digital work, that's really as far as I can go on any sort of guarantee. I don't much do traditional work these days. There's far too much hassle with post and insurance and all that crap.
Jun. 10th, 2010 12:39 am (UTC)
I don't think an artist should be expected to reimburse or anything if the colors fade or something along those lines, unless they've used cheap paint. I think they should be responsible for explaining what supplies they use. A customer could have a painting sitting in direct sunlight, or spray cleaning supplies near, etc.

For the most part (with flat art), I can't think of too many faults that aren't there until after the sale that could be artist's fault. Unless there was a clear intent to cover up a problem, or an obvious problem that the artist didn't point out (both of which are present at sale), doesn't seem to me the artists' responsibility.
Jun. 10th, 2010 01:06 am (UTC)
Illustration - I basically guarantee delivery if it's online. Not really anything else would make sense I don't think.
Jun. 10th, 2010 01:15 am (UTC)
I would expect something that gets to me shipped broken to be fixed, especially if it wasn't packed well enough, such as a drawing that is only in a manilla envelope.
Jun. 10th, 2010 02:09 am (UTC)
As an artist, I can only tell you what I do. I'll be interested in seeing what cusomers say here!
Bearing in mind I have three main products to sell, which are original traditional media paintings, Prints, and jewelry:

Generally I don't offer a warranty exactly-- instead I am very clear about the materials I use and how they can be expected to wear with proper care. e.g. when I use archival materials, (or not, in the case of feather paintings). With exception to my jewelry my art is not functional, and as such I approach it much as Moonvoice above commented. I provide information about what it's made with, how the materials last, and the proper care. After that, it's in the customer's hands to either take care of it.. or not. Once at a convention I sold a feather with a raven painted on it and told the lady the proper care (I also provide a printed sheet with this info). I saw her not an hour later walking around, playing with it, and the feather was utterly separated and the art value destroyed.

For my jewelry, again I provide a great deal of info on materials used and proper care. It is hand made though and must not be abused; so as such I cannot offer a warranty on it, but I offer to do touch ups and little fixes if it's clear that the customer didn't abuse it.

So far I have had one case where a customer left one of the sculptures I painted for Windstone in some strong light and the pigment faded. However since the pigment I bought was toted to be archival and the sale of the sculpture advertised it as such I re-painted and fixed it for no cost to the customer.

tl;dr version is this: I try to use the best quality materials I can to make something that will last and be high quality for my customers, and I am also up front about how to care for items and what they are made with; The rest is in their hands. Doing this from the start has seemed to eliminate nearly all complains I may have had over the years. However if something DOES come up, generally it is worth the customer's satisfaction to fix it, even if I'm not obligated to.
Jun. 10th, 2010 03:03 pm (UTC)
I do have a piece of your exceptional jewellery, and your care instructions were very thorough. I would be shocked if people didn't pay attention to them. If something happened to it, I would be sad, and either try and fix it myself, or pay for someone (such as yourself, if you had the time) who could.

But at that point, if I did something to it, the key words there are 'I did something to it,' and it's my fiscal responsibility to keep a piece of artwork in top condition.

Jun. 10th, 2010 06:58 am (UTC)
Depends on the price. And you should set up an agreement or contract after a certain price. Some artists write up a contract for ANY price. All terms are agreed upon, both parties sign, THEN work begins and you both are bound to that contract.

Things like this:
If you or the client are worried about what happens AFTER the art is done, that should be in the contract. Like if something was commissioned in copic markers, famous for fading fast, that should be in the contract- either that the client accepts that and will take his/her OWN steps to preserve the piece, or the artist will also send a archival print along with the original.
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