ululare (ululare) wrote in artists_beware,

Hi, everybody. I'm new to this community and relatively new to the world of commissioned artwork (as you'll probably be able to tell from this post), and I had a situation I was wondering if the more talented artists would be willing to review and assist me with. I know it's partially my fault because I could have cut it off already, but at this point I'm a little nervous about the whole thing...so:

I became an acquaintance of someone who lives in my town, a man of about 60 years of age, and he seemed very nice and interested in my artwork (I have some drawings hanging up in the library I work in). He was very polite and quiet but enthusiastic and asked me if I would meet with him sometime to discuss a project that he had in mind that involved drawing, something I could contribute with. Phone numbers were exchanged and I called him, and we met for coffee.

He seemed very polite, still enthusiastic, and told me that so far the project he has in mind is still developing and he didn't want to tell me too much because he was afraid that it would affect the creative process. Kind of weird, but whatever? The concepts he gave me to draw were fairly simple and not at all limiting, so I told him I would do some sketches. I told him it would take me a while because I've already been commissioned to do a mural, and he said okay. I asked him if a week or two would be okay, and he said that was fine, to call him when I had something to show him.

Cool, right?

But then he started calling me himself. He called me once, and left a voicemail that was a little irritating, I think it started with, "Hellloooo, earth to ululare....hellooooo", which was irritating in its own right. I called him back, no answer. Two more voicemails, each getting a little more annoying - "I seem to recall I met a beautiful, talented girl who I asked to draw some things for me..." - "Earth to Astronaut ululare...come in...!".

I called him back but never got him, twice, then gave up for the weekend. Yay, Monday.

So he shows up at my other job, at the local grocery store. He stands in front of the door to the desk I work at and blocks the way for my coworkers manning the safe, asks me questions about why I haven't called him more and if I have anything to show him, and what have I been up to, and why am I so busy? In the meantime, I'm dealing with customers, doing my job, answering the phone, trying to understand what he's asking over transactions, and trying to convey my apologies via my eyes to my coworker who keeps having to ask him to move out of the way. He said he wanted to meet on Friday to see what I had done. I said, okay, I'll think about it and see what I have to do, and he said he'd call me. I planned on calling him tomorrow to ask him to let me finish the mural and contact him when that was done, removing a lot of stress from my life and our interactions.

Only he showed up at my job again today. He told me I looked sad. Cute, but sad. I was put off from the beginning, my heart sank the instant I saw him, and I'm sure he could tell I was a little resentful. He kept telling me I looked sad, like he wanted me to pour my heart out to him, although I told him I was just tired. He asked me if I was on drugs, and I almost lost it at that point. I told him that I needed to finish the mural, so with my apologies I would have to postpone our meeting. He couldn't seem to understand that the mural needed to be done to generate publicity for a future event, "That's not until September, why does it need to be done now?". I was getting irritated and it was beginning to show. I told him that I needed to get back to work and that I had made arrangements to do the mural first, it's half done, and they're paying me. He has not mentioned money at all, and I need to finish the mural, because, well...it's my responsibility? It came first. They're paying me. They've already paid me an advance. I don't see what's not to get.

So what does he say as he leaves?

"I'll call you."

I have no idea what to do except say, "Sorry, I would prefer if we forget about this entire thing, I've signed no contract and there has been no word of payment. You can take the sketches I did, and do whatever you want with them, as long as you leave me alone."

I have no experience with things like this. If I was a boy, I know he wouldn't be treating me like this, calling me "cutie-pie" or "beautiful". I don't need anyone calling me beautiful. Maybe he thinks he's just complimenting me, but it makes me so uncomfortable.

But I don't know if I'm overreacting. My flist says I'm not, my family doesn't seem to think it's a big deal (his behavior). I'm really grateful to anyone who has even read this far, let alone thoughtful enough to comment for me. I'm really sorry this got so long. I don't mean to be whiny. I'm just a little worried. Thanks for reading, really!

EDIT: I just wanted to thank everyone for their advice. You're all wonderful and you all had some great points. My boss(es)/coworkers have all been made aware of the situation. I'm almost afraid the guy will come to bodily harm. I haven't called him because I haven't heard or seen him. I'm hoping it stays that way - forever! But I will update if something does happen, good or bad.
Tags: advice for artists
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