A little background-- on September 15 2011 I commissioned a talented new artist for a fully rendered digital painting. I was asking for a very complicated piece of art (character, props, background) with the intention to hang it up in my living room but I was pleasantly surprised to learn the artist agreed to do all the extra details at no extra cost. Probably relevant to know that I gave no deadline and the artist asked to be paid only upon completion, despite being offered to be paid in advance. Also might be relevant that they expressed distress on finishing commissions (not always specifically mine, in general) a few times throughout the ordeal and I repeated that I am patient, no deadline. There was no TOS given at the time, just a verbal agreement through FA notes.
Fast forward many months later and I receive an FA note in my inbox telling me that although the character is about half done (but no color on the most recent WIP I was shown) and the background was speedpainted, they are giving up because they've spent too much time on it already and they can't do it any more, for lack of skill with digital painting (their words, not mine!). I am then asked to pay the full amount, or failing that "whatever I feel its worth".
I am at a loss for words. I understand that I should pay an artist for their time, I understand they were undercharging themselves (pretty much the reason I hired them in the first place, it was a good deal) but I have absolutely no use or desire for half a painting. I can't finish this myself! I'm not going to hang this on my wall and enjoy looking at it, he doesn't even have all his limbs or a tail. I feel as if I should offer some form of compensation to keep my name clean/be nice, but I'm getting nothing useful out of this transaction and anything I offer would be such a pittance for the amount of work they've put in it anyway (not to mention paying for this sort of service really rubs me the wrong way). Let it be known they do say there is a possibility of them continuing when they feel they are ready but... I am not interested in that option, considering what's happened so far (and related to that, does this mean that if I say I'm not interested, -I- become the one who cancels, therefore changing the whole flavor of this dispute?).
This would be very black and white if I cancelled on them, as that would be my fault for losing my patience. In my own fursuit TOS I make it clear that if I as the artist cancels I'm responsible for not making this my client's problem.
I have a whole pile of FA notes and WIP screenshots, if you want to look at that sort of thing. I am probably missing bits and pieces from their journals as I didn't grab any of those because up until this morning I didn't know it wasn't going to work out :(
Thank you all for your help! This is such a valuable community :)
I've made a decision and contacted the artist about my choice.
By popular demand, here it is. Please, no names if you know who this is! I've already declined to buy it and both of us are rather upset about the situation, I'd prefer to let it be.