I commissioned him at Anthrocon and he owes me two commissions which I paid for in full and one of which I have yet to give him details for (which was commissioned prior to this year's Anthrocon).
Since Anthrocon 2010, I've been contact Gunmouth to remind him about my commission from Anthrocon 2010 and ask him when he thought he might finish it. I just wanted to know when he thought he'd have it done. That way, I could just wait until then rather then messaging him every month or so. Indeed, the AC2010 commission was supposed to be finished at Anthrocon he wasn't able to get it done in time. The rough draft of the drawing was nearly complete but he had to trace it on good paper and ink it. I said, sure, no problem; I'd rather be patient and have you do it right than rush to get it done at the con. If you want to take it come and are ok with that then I'm fine with that to.
Since I've had problems communicating with him in the past prior to AC2010, I made sure to tell him that while I'm fine with being patient, even several months if necessary, it drives me nuts when I get no response to my inquires about the status of my commission. I made sure Gunmouth knew this and asked him to please reply and asked him if he could do this and he said sure.
Now, since the AC2010 drawing was close to being done, I thought he should have some news to tell me around a month after AC but he hasn't attempted to contact me or reply to my messages despite the fact that his FurAffinity account is active (he posts journals, favs artwork, replies to others comments on his FA page, etc.).
In short, the problem is that he doesn't read my FA messages and doesn't respond to them. I know he doesn't read my FA messages because FA allows you to check if they've been opened by the recipient. He never, ever checks them. I've even posted directly on the front of his FA page to get his attention and still he ignores me. If he has time to reply to comments on his FA page and fave pictures and even after almost a month since AC2010 he still hasn't replied, well, there's no excuse. It's not complicated or hard for him to reply to my asking him for an idea when an almost complete commission will be finished--in fact, it would have taken him mere seconds to reply but he didn't. That lack of responsiveness does not inspire confidence or trust.
I've been keeping track of the dates when I've messaged him since AC2010. I messaged him on July 4, July 19, July 29, July 30, and today. I've sent messages to his Furaffinity mailbox, posts on directly on his Furaffinity page, to his e-mail, MSN, ICQ, and AIM accounts, and on his Deviantart page. At first, I thought to wait two weeks each time and give him a chance to reply since he's busy but it's become apparent that he has no intention of doing so and is in fact purposely ignoring me for reasons only he knows.
Although he seemed sincere in person at Anthrocon about his intentions I can no-longer trust him because his subsequent behavior is not that of a responsible business person or human being. I see no reason why I should trust him to finish the commissions I paid him for if he willfully ignores me without explanation.
It is for this reason that today, after a month of trying contact him and waiting for a reply, I decided to ask Gunmouth for a refund. I thought it would be best since I know I'm only going to get more frustrated if I attempt to wait longer and based on my experiences with other people I think it's unlikely he's going to reform his behavior to satisfy me. So, rather than drag-on this problem I just decided to ask for a refund. I have little sympathy for people think it's alright to ignore paying customers.
Today, on his FA page and by e-mail I wrote:
"No offense but if you're not going to reply to my messages for an update I want a refund. Please send $190USD that I paid you to my PayPal account (*****@******). I've been as patient as I'm going to be. Thx.
I'm also adding you to the Livejournal artists_beware thread that I'll be updating until this is resolved. You're nice enough in person and I know you're busy but I can't work with someone who never replies. "
I think it's unfortunate that it's come to this because I'm perfectly happy to wait for him to be able to finish them (and I really do want Gunmouth to finish them) but only if he maintains a dialogue with me when I infrequently ask him how it's coming along and when he expects it will be done. Otherwise, who's to say he's not a crook who's trying to rip me off?! A person's word is only as good as their actions.
I've got commissions still ongoing from 2008 from other artists without issue and the only difference between them and Gunmouth is that they actually respond--maybe not always right away, usually within the week but certainly within a month. A healthy dialogue is important! Gunmouth, for all his artistic merit, has unfortunately failed to keep in contact with this customer. In short, as far as I can tell, he's being irresponsible at best and criminal at worst. After all, if you pay someone for a service they have a responsibility to keep you informed and reply within a reasonable time period.
Here is a list of some of his online locations though which I've attempted to communicate with him:
MSN: knockemupstinky(at sign thing)hotmail.com
# ICQ: 4337720
E-mail: (I'm not listing it for privacy reasons)
Other places where he's online:
Note: The names, links, and contact info mentioned in this post are in the public domain and found online on the internet so I have no issue listing them here.
Will be updating this thread as things progress.
[[UPDATE: August 2, 2010, Current Status of Dispute: in process of being resolved. Link to my reply to Gunmouth's reply to my initial post: http://community.livejournal.com/artists_beware/356583.html?thread=11512295#t11512295 ]]
[[UPDATE: August 3, 2010, Current Status of Dispute: in process of being resolved (making headway, cautiously optimistic); Link to my update: http://community.livejournal.com/artists_beware/356583.html?thread=11548647#t11548647 ]]
[[UPDATE: August 6, 2010, Current Status of Dispute: resolved. Link to my update: http://community.livejournal.com/artists_beware/356583.html?thread=11609831#t11609831 ]]
[[EDIT: April 5, 2011: Didn't change anything but removed my e-mail address and replaced it with *****@****. I don't like it being so easily in the public domain; should have thought of that at the time but was preoccupied.]]
[[ UPDATE: 2012 JAN 07:
SUMMARY: Gunmouth is a complex person and seems decent and friendly enough in person. His artwork is superb. However, new commissioners are advised to restrict themselves to at convention commissions only. If commissioners decide to commission him for a take-home, they certainly should only pay a small deposit upfront and the remainder only after the commission is finished. Unfortunately, Gunmouth, like some artists, is not particularly reliable when it comes to responding to commissioners via the internet. Although I think we both tried our best to work together, speaking for myself, I simply became too uncomfortable waiting and waiting and having difficulty getting replies from him. For his part, I'm guessing he became frustrated with my attention to detail for the commission--although, I though we had resolved that and I did try my best to accommodate his needs.
Unwilling to prolong my frustration, yesterday, I asked for a refund. Gunmouth thankfully replied the same day and has refunded me 4/5ths of the total, and will refund the remaining 1/5th after he has more money in his Paypal. I regret that will never have the commission completed as it looked very promising in sketch form. As I explained to Gunmouth yesterday, I simply become far to frustrated when artists delay and fail to respond to messages. I don't send them often but when I do, I don't like waiting weeks or months for replies--it just doesn't inspire confidence in the artist. It made me feel like I was being scammed and lied to or at the very least constantly being bumped to he bottom of the priority pile--despite the fact that I had paid in full already--such that it was questionable whether the art would every actually get done. Feeling my mood and confidence gradually deteriorate, I decided asking for a refund from now was the best thing I could do to prevent what might become an eventual explosion of anger on my part which of course would not help matters. So, I'm quite grateful that Gunmouth responded promptly to the refund request and I look forward to getting the refund completed. I regret we couldn't make this work.
One commission was still outstanding. It was supposed to be finished by Anthrocon 2011 in June but all Gunmouth had was a sketch to show me. It was enough however that I felt that progress was being made. A few months later, I contacted Gunmouth to let him know that I would be attending MFF2011 in November and that I could pick up the completed commission if he was able to get it done by then. At MFF, Gunmouth showed me the sketch and asked if there were any changes that I'd like made; he apologized for not having it finished but said he had been too busy to get to it. Having doubts as to whether he actually wanted and intended to finish my commission I asked him if he wanted to finish it or not and he said yes. He asked me if I wanted any alterations made and we made some small alterations to the sketch. I then asked him for a guess as to a rough date of completion. Gunmouth said he'd probably have something to show me around mid December. I waited until December 28th before I asked him for an update regarding the commission. Receiving no response, I tried again a week later but still no reply. Three days later, after noticing that three other commissioners had posted shouts on Gunmouth's FA asking for updates for their commissions and complaining about the lack of communication, I finally had enough and sent Gunmouth a request for a refund. The same day Gunmouth refunded 4/5ths of the money paid to my Paypal and messaged me saying he'll send the rest when he has more money is his Paypal. So, for the moment things are alright.
However, I am disappointed that I wont be getting that commission from Gunmouth. The sketch as looking promising and we seemed to be getting a long well enough--although I know better than to say we were friends. Although Gunmouth has been better at communicating with me since the opening of this thread over a year ago, there have been a few occasions where he simply did not reply at all.
Essentially, it's the combination of waiting so long but especially the spotty communication that caused me to decide to ask for a refund. As I explained to Gunmouth, I find it much too frustrating and time consuming to have to constantly pursue artists when they don't answer or deliver on time. Compared to some other artists I've commissioned, Gunmouth has not been particularly communicative online and so I didn't have what I felt was a healthy rapport with him.
At MFF, trying to take Gunmouth's needs into consideration, I told him that I'd be alright waiting for the commission to be finished by Anthrocon 2012 if he couldn't complete it by December. However, as I have explained to him previously, my waiting is contingent upon the artist replying to messages. As a commissioner I simply got to the point where I questioned if the commission would ever be completed. Although my dealings with Gunmouth have revealed that he can be a pretty decent person with interesting perspectives and useful advice, I simply don't know him well enough trust him to finish it given the way things have been going.
So, that is the state of affairs. Prospective commissioners should feel free to commission him but just be cautious and I think everyone will be happier if commissioners limit themselves to at-con commissions only.
Gunmouth, if you end up reading this update, I want you to know I appreciate you trying to work with me but I think we both agree it wasn't working and that my asking for a refund was the best thing. I know now I wasn't a perfect commissioner initially--with respect to giving too much detail with the commission--but I have listened to you and other artists and have made things simpler and shorter and I continue to work on things. It has been a learning experience I think for both of us. I'm glad at least that even if we can't get the commission finished that at least we can end on a semi-positive note.
[[ UPDATE: 2012 FEB 10]]
Got rest of refund about a week ago.
Not sure if Gunmouth was reading my messages or only their titles.
Offered to let him keep the rest of the refund in exchange for the incomplete drawing (the existing sketch version) since it seemed the most mutually beneficial and he said he needed money. However, Gunmouth did not respond to that which is fine if disappointing.
He is really a poor communicator. Trying to contact him is like pulling teeth.
I think he was just frustrated with the level of detail I wanted. I tried my best to work with him and even asked him at MFF2011 if he wanted to do the drawing or not with no hard feelings either way.
At-con commissions are probably ok but would not recommend him for take homes.
Things could have ended on a better note but at least we didn't argue.
Situation is now fully resolved and closed.
[[ UPDATE: 2012 JUN @ Anthrocon ]]
Spoke with Gunmouth in person. Wanted to try and patch things up as I felt we hadn't ended on the best of terms. I think we are both happier for the attempt. We talked about a few things and Gunmouth mentioned that the reason he hadn't finished my commission is that he realized that he doesn't like drawing hyper characters. Every time he tried to work on it he ended up working on something else. I also asked him why he wasn't always replying to my messages. He said his working style is more results oriented and that he prefers to only contact people when he has something to show them. So, our conversation all-in-all was positive. I asked Gunmouth about the possibility of paying him $20 to get the sketch he's already done and he said I could contact him prior to my next convention and he will bring the sketch so I can pay to get it. However, due to the fact that he doesn't enjoy drawing hypers (which I said I totally understand) and our disparate working styles (ie. concerning our views on online communication) I haven't any plans to commission Gunmouth again or to resume my uncompleted commission. So, all-in-all, I think we patched things up so that we both feel at ease.