Sherlock "Altaïr" Holmes (sushiandpie) wrote in artists_beware,
Sherlock "Altaïr" Holmes
sushiandpie
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Chip Brown, Columbus leatherworker

On May 3rd of this year, me and my friend theredshadow entered into a contract to have local leatherworker Chip Brown (Columbus Ohio area) make three leather pieces done in time for Otakon, which is at the end of July. My friend and I made sure to ask him whether the date was workable, as leather takes a bit of time to complete. He assured us both that the leather could easily be finished by that time, and so me and my friend put down a percentage of the money to assure us we were serious.

I put down $65 while she put down $42.80. I signed on for a leather belt as well as a set of bracers, while she signed on for a half cape to be worn on the shoulder. We visited Chip's studio on May 18th to finalize the deal, and Chip measured both of us for the pieces we needed. Chip was very friendly and open, and up until this time he was easily contacted through his email. He also gave us his phone number just in case.

Since I was busy with school, I assumed that he would keep me in contact, as was his responsibility. I sent him an email at the end of May telling him that I wasn't able to visit before the end of school, as I was rocking 20 credit hours, but was willing to pay whatever the final price came to. I never received a response as to the entirety of my payment, which I had the money ready and able to send. Chip also did not have a Paypal, and even though it was requested by both me and my friend that he acquire one for easy payment while we returned to our homes 2 hours north, in Cleveland, he did not seem willing to comply.

After waiting for a few more weeks in good faith, I once again emailed him, asking for progress of any sort. I also left him several phone calls and messages, none of which were answered. By this time I had become worried that something had happened to him. I finally asked my friend Lauren, melodious_me who had friends who had purchased from Chip before, to give him a call, as she was in the area and could rendezvous. He answered her call immediately, and she redirected him to me.

I had a brief conversation with Chip in late June, who assured me that the work would be done in time for the convention. He gave me the total for my order, which came to $280, and then promptly sent me an email with the same info. I replied and said that I was going to send the money to Lauren to give to him, as he still had no Paypal and a middleman had to be used. In the meantime he had not answered theredshadow 's emails or calls, and as I was relieved to hear from him, I didn't remember to ask. She still has no idea what the total of her transaction is, and she has both sent emails and called.

Chip claimed that his voicemail was on the fritz, which was why he could not respond to those. However, he did say that he received all emails that were sent, which leaves the question as to WHY he didn't respond to them in the first place. He also responded very snappy to Lauren's call, who I assumed was very direct in her demand that he call her and me.

At this point I have sent $200 of the $280 to Lauren, who is simply waiting for my word to drop it off. I am really upset that this transaction has gone sour, and I was wondering if anyone could give advice? I don't really want to pay Chip until I see progress photos, which he has supplied none, and even then if he does, I was planning on withholding the last $80 until there was a confirmation that the order had been shipped. Even though he assured me he would complete all three projects on time, he has been very hard to communicate with, and seems to be acting shady. I called him again tonight, basically saying that the ball was in his court and that I would very much like to hear from his tonight,

In conclusion, Chip brown of Brown Cow Art, though his handiwork is fine to look at, is a difficult man to contact, seems to be prone to avoiding customers, and is very disorganized. If anyone in the Columbus area even considers commissioning him, I would make sure that you keep him on a strict leash in terms of your business dealings.

Any advice would be profoundly appreciated!

Edit: Chip's website is here: http://www.browncowart.com/
Tags: advice for commissioners, artist-chip brown, beware, company-brown cow art
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