On both deviantArt and y!gallery, there is an artist of striking skill named Kato0. She is from an Asian country, and comes across as shy and unassuming in conversation. Myself and a friend, seeing her as the new artist on y!gallery, scraped together enough money to commission her while she was accepting sketch commissions earlier this year. As per her own ToS, she requested payment in return for what she said would be a quick sketch. People ahead of us got theirs, and people behind us, but we never received ours.
My friend and I caught her on Livestream to talk about the issue. Her reasoning was that she had trouble understanding our description for what we wanted, and she offered to draw up a sketch of what she had in mind. She did so, working out a clean framework in less than ten minutes. I declined it, as it was nothing like what we requested. I went on to explain the trouble areas (what didn't work and why) and offered to elaborate on whatever else she needed. She said it wasn't necessary, and promised to do another sketch soon. That was the last time we saw her.
Months passed, and she never reappeared on either site. Another user who had been similarly billed and not provided for contacted me to ask if I'd heard back, and I had not. I used her Paypal email to contact her, and left her messages on both pages, to no reply. In paying her, I made the mistake of being too trusting and sent the payment through Paypal as a gift, to avoid fees, thereby preventing me from demanding a refund, as the system has it registered as not being a payment for services (not) rendered. With her checking out of both sites and the money gone, it is now December. This commission was arranged in late June.
She has an art site that she operates on in Korean, which I checked several times, to find it updated multiple times a day, so she hasn't lost her internet and hasn't gotten hurt. She merely has been ignoring my messages, and has not contacted either of us since. The reason I felt it important to warn others is that her art is so striking, anyone might be tempted to offer her money for her work. In fact, not five months after my last request for contact, on her front page at y!gallery, another person had already expressed interest in buying a commission from her.
I was advised by a y!gallery mod to post here, in case she does resurface and again begins to offer commissions. If she ever returns to either site, after having vanished for so long, she'll have plenty of new victims to draw or not draw for at her leisure. Please, do not be fooled. I lost money I could have used for multiple other things, because she seemed sincere, but the truth is that I didn't know her, and I gambled that money and lost. I will probably never see it again, and odds are, she won't return. Don't offer this person money, even if she is capable of being legitimate. If she isn't in the mood to perform the service you paid her for, she will skip out on you.
UPDATE : I have located all the messages I sent to this artist, and have taken screenshots, for posterity.
Original comment on y!gallery - first contact
dA Note - second contact
Email - final contact
Thanks to a helpful comment by shukivengeance, I was given access to the artist's (Korean) Facebook, and have since sent her this message:
"At this point, ma'am, I'm sort of tired of following you all over the internet. I've been very nice, and very patient for multiple months, to no reply--I am tired of being patient. I paid you in June for a commission, and never heard another word from you. I contacted you on multiple sites, and have been ignored. You owe me $25 Canadian for the commission you never completed, which I no longer want. If I do not get the money back, I will be informing deviantART and y!gallery that you took money from me, and odds are, you will be banned from both as a scam artist. I would rather not have to do this. Either contact me or send back the money. I will not ask you again."
Though at this point I don't expect a response, at least I tried one more time.