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Question: Is it okay to contact?

Approximately ten months ago I commissioned an artist and have not heard from them since. In their initial commission journal they had a statement saying: "PLEASE NOTE that I usually cannot give updates on commissions while I'm working on them, since it's just too much for me to keep up with since I'm busy enough as it is. Though I will make sure to show you the commission once it's finished and make requested changes/fixes to it if necessary before I post it." Which I thought was a little odd, but I've commissioned this person in the past so I decided to go ahead and commission them again anyways. Five months ago they updated everyone with a journal explaining why there was a delay and that they would be getting back on track soon. The last commission they posted was four months ago, and the last piece of personal work posted was three months ago. They're completely silent on all of their other accounts so I haven't missed anything else as far as I know. Overall their turn around seems consistent, albeit slow, so I'm wondering if it would still be acceptable to contact them? I'm not asking for progress, just some kind of confirmation that I am in fact in the queue.

Also, this artist seems very anxious and shy so I'm worried about upsetting them. Part of me is afraid that any contact at all will cause them to get upset and refund me. Which I really don't want, because I love their work and was absolutely thrilled to snag a spot. Any and all advice is very appreciated!

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 22nd, 2015 04:36 am (UTC)
Contact them regardless. Open it up in a friendly way so you don't come over as an angry or irritated customer!

Explain that you know that you don't specifically want an update, but more a confirmation if it's still being worked on or not.

Quite frankly, if the artist is so anxious to the point where they would get upset and/or refund if the customer asks where their commission is (after 10 months) they probably shouldn't do commissions at all :x but that's just my opinion.

If they haven't uploaded any commission or personal artwork in three months they might have hit a block or something like that in any case, so it's worth checking up on!

Edited at 2015-02-22 04:37 am (UTC)
Feb. 22nd, 2015 04:58 am (UTC)

It's always okay to contact an artist for updates. Whether or not they'll give them to you is a different story.
Feb. 22nd, 2015 05:08 am (UTC)
I also think it's important to make it clear, as MonoxDragon said, that you're not asking for any sort of update or ETA on your commission & to keep the tone friendly & light, & the note brief. Perhaps just express some friendly customer concern about his/her well-being, since it has been so long since he/she posted anything.

I hope the commissioner doesn't take any note you send the wrong way, but you can't control how a person interprets what you write, especially if there are other issues at work (i.e. creative blockage, anxiety, problems that have nothing to do with the art & that no one has any way of intuitively knowing). But, you should be able to contact someone you commissioned, get some sort of information, & remind the commissioner that "hey! I wanna make sure everything is OK with you & I've paid you for artwork! :-) :-) :-)" <~~~~Probably a bad example of an actual quote to use; more subtlety would be best, imo.

Best of luck!!
Feb. 22nd, 2015 05:02 pm (UTC)
Many artists - including myself, including several in this community - have issues with anxiety and/or other mental health issues. But unfortunately when we take money for a service it is our responsibility to respond to our customers when they make reasonable queries on their commission status. As a customer you should not feel bad for doing it, not even a little bit.

As others have said though, if you fear that the artist will worry you're mad at them and thus jump to refund you, it's worth taking time to compose the message in a friendly manner that makes it clear you're just checking in whether everything's okay, no rush.
Feb. 22nd, 2015 05:07 pm (UTC)
I'd always be leery of anyone who outright states they won't be giving updates. If giving updates are that much of a hassle or anxiety-inducer, one should not be doing work that requires communication with clients. Clients have a right to be able to ask about the status of their work, and the artist has the right to say "Hey, don't contact me more than X often". Not basically shut things down entirely.

That being said, you are absolutely within your rights to ask about your work. If you want to phrase that as concern for the artist themself, you can do that. If that contact gets them anxious or upset, that is their problem, not yours--you are a paying customer and their own mental state has no bearing on a business transaction that they agreed to. If they are in a state where they can't function to do the work (hey, I've been there, done that), they need to be contacting their customers and making things right, not leaving it up to the customer to contact them. If they do get upset with you for asking about something you have purchased from them that they have not delivered, well, honestly that is not someone I'd want to be doing business with.
Feb. 22nd, 2015 05:42 pm (UTC)
I really don't think it's okay to try to deny a client the right to politely ask for updates. No matter how busy you are, it takes maybe a minute tops to let someone know the status of their commission and give a vague timeframe for starting/completing it.

It's well within your rights and okay in general to send a note to check in on how things are going.

Edit: LJ why'd you double post on me. B1

Edited at 2015-02-22 05:43 pm (UTC)
Feb. 22nd, 2015 05:42 pm (UTC)
I really don't think it's okay to try to deny a client the right to politely ask for updates. No matter how busy you are, it takes maybe a minute tops to let someone know the status of their commission and give a vague timeframe for starting/completing it.

It's well within your rights and okay in general to send a note to check in on how things are going.
Feb. 22nd, 2015 05:46 pm (UTC)
As someone who, on very rare occasions, has forgotten to add a commission to my to-do list and completely forgotten about it, it's fine to contact the artist and ask for confirmation that it's in progress. We do sometimes forget about commissions, and I'm always thankful when a customer sends me an email asking about it because it reminds me.
Feb. 22nd, 2015 07:03 pm (UTC)
"Hi there, [name]! I know you're very busy, but I commissioned you about ten months ago, for [brief project description]. I'm not asking for an ETA, I just wanted to make certain YOU were doing okay, as the last thing I've seen from you was from about 4 months ago. Are you okay?"

Just a suggestion :)

Feb. 22nd, 2015 10:28 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I don't think it's right for an artist to deny a client the right to inquire about their piece. As Wolf Goat as pointed out, a lot of people, in this community as well, deal with social anxiety problems, but it's something that one needs to be able to handle when they're taking money for a service- or, in my situation, I have a PR manager who handles all of my business communications and takes the anxiety off of my shoulders, we work like a well oiled machine.

I think you have every single right to contact them, but as others have suggested, it's best to come off as friendly and as disarmingly as possible. I really like Snobahr's suggestion/model, it's simple, it's polite, and most importantly, for someone with social anxiety, it draws the focus away from having to deal with a potentially upset client but with someone who is concerned and wants to ensure that the artist is doing alright. At least for myself, as someone with social anxiety, it's comforting because it acknowledges that there is a person behind the art, something that, otherwise, can feel really intimidating and stressful.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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