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Beware: Jace Wallace / Wakkawa

WHO: Jace Wallace / Wakkawa

WHERE: http://jace-wallace.deviantart.com/ & http://wakkawa.tumblr.com/

WHAT: $150 digital painting commission

WHEN: November 26th, 2014; sketch received and payment sent December 12th, 2014

Initial order: http://i.imgur.com/8VBVvr0.png

Proof of payment: http://i.imgur.com/QV4EzFw.png


Well, it's finally time for the official A_B post. I asked for advice back in June, and since the situation is more or less "resolved", it's time for me to put it all together and post this as a warning to others.

I commissioned Jace at the end of November in 2014, the same day he put his commission post up. He's an art idol of mine and I'd wanted art from him for ages, so I jumped on the opportunity. He always seemed very professional to me, so a $150 commission seemed like a good idea at the time. The original commission post said they would be finished by Christmas (2014), and he sent me the sketch WIP on December 12th. http://i.imgur.com/Jy4btWg.png
The WIP at this time: http://i.imgur.com/Vs5UUDe.jpg

At that time, he said his plan was to send out more WIPs that weekend and have them finished the next week. http://i.imgur.com/TpYsWTe.png

After that message claiming that WIPS would be sent out that weekend, I didn't hear from him again. In fact, he seemingly disappeared from the Internet altogether. Not too strange, possibly, considering it was the holidays. However, he had made a firm promise of a deadline, and with the commission being $150, I was a bit more wary than I normally might have been. I let the Christmas deadline come and go, but on January 10th I noted him asking for updates: http://i.imgur.com/keQ7LmU.png
As it is still, it went unread and unopened.

I continued not to see any activity on DA, Tumblr, or anywhere else. I was getting worried, mostly due to the $150 amount and the fact that I have been burned before. Since I hadn't seen him open my note, I decided to email him in hopes of getting an answer that way, on January 24th 2015: http://i.imgur.com/rvEROmB.png And I never got a response to that either.

On January 30th, I sent Jace an email and a note on deviantArt telling him that I would be opening a Paypal claim. http://i.imgur.com/dDiUr7J.png

As I say in the message, it was mostly to get the money back in case he was unable to access the computer as I didn't want to let Paypal's claim window come and go. Even with Paypal's claim window having been increased to 180 days, I felt uncomfortable enough to do it at this time given his complete lack of responsiveness.

Jace must have seen the claim, for he mysteriously reappeared just a few days after I opened the claim. I received the next WIP on February 2nd, 2015. I cancelled the Paypal claim at this time, despite the fact that he made absolutely no note of it or that he had even seen it. http://i.imgur.com/S3umDjv.png
The WIP he sent at this time: http://i.imgur.com/ZTqd2N0.jpg

It was quite off putting to me that he made no mention of the claim or the wait much at all. But, then again, I felt a bit bad for filing the claim in the first place -- especially with his reasoning of mental illness. I figured, since he had given me an updated WIP, he would have the piece done pretty quickly. My response to him is here: http://i.imgur.com/kiuiFpu.png which he never responded to either.

More radio silence. I sent him a note on May 15th, 2015: http://i.imgur.com/8gJHWmT.png to which I got no response. (I do believe he opened/read this note.)

The next time I heard from him was in June of 2015, strangely and conveniently after I sent him a note telling him that I would be contacting my bank about the money (given that Paypal's claim window had then passed for me, by a few days) and posting an Artists Beware post about the situation. http://i.imgur.com/RXa81Ov.png (He was still active on tumblr during this time.)

His response, with a slightly updated WIP: http://i.imgur.com/fwz0yd0.png
The WIP at this stage: http://i.imgur.com/UHguQJN.jpg

This was when I posted asking for advice on A_B. I was mostly just pleased to actually have him RESPONDING to me again, and at this point I assumed that if I went ahead and posted the A_B on him right then, I would NEVER get the piece. So I tried to get him to agree to a deadline. He then agreed to have the piece finished by the end of July, 2015.

So, another month and it would be done.

Obviously, that came and went. Surprisingly, he took the initiative to note me on his own on August 1st, telling me that his tablet had broken. (I had already seen him post about it on his Tumblr, which he was continuing to update regularly with paintings and posts.) Again, pleased that he was CONTACTING me and not ignoring me, I accepted his claim that he would have it done the next week. http://i.imgur.com/1Nk8ri2.png

Aaaand that didn't happen, either. He did not contact me again past that point, AT ALL. (I send him another note on September 3rd, 2015: http://i.imgur.com/BbhcdiY.png )

In fact, the only way I got him to contact me again was rather direct and annoying. On top of updating his Tumblr regularly while ignoring my messages, he had gotten into the habit of streaming quite regularly on his Twitch account. Sometimes games, sometimes painting personal works. I subscribed to the channel, and was receiving emails whenever he started streaming. At first I was just happy to see him working on something, and didn't interact with him. However, when he continued to ignore/"not see" my messages, I decided to bite the bullet and reach out to him during a Twitch stream.

On October 25th, 2015, I entered his Twitch stream and inquired after my commission. He had his mic on, so I don't have a record of his responses, but here's the chat: http://i.imgur.com/jOrPowU.jpg

Basically, he reassured me and told me a very long story about how he had gotten locked out of his DeviantART account AND the email account associated with it, so he hadn't been able to log in at all. He promised to email me after the stream. He sent me an email that night and he attached another WIP and claimed it was pretty much done, just needed to be cleaned up and tweaked. (Note: this was quite a small screenshot that didn't allow me to see closer details.) http://i.imgur.com/d7KZdbe.png
My response: http://i.imgur.com/vW59uJl.png
The WIP he sent at this stage: http://i.imgur.com/3kNQwSj.jpg

And, again, that was the last I heard from him. I actually let him be for a while after that email, mostly due to how incredibly fed up I was at this point. Plus, he said it was close to being done, so I figured it wouldn't be long. Again, wrong.

I emailed him on January 12th (3-4 months later) asking if he had any updates on the piece or on his situation. http://i.imgur.com/Lr2bYa6.png
I got no response. He continued to be active on Tumblr, quite regularly posting text posts and art.

So, on January 27th, I emailed him. http://i.imgur.com/1uUNoke.png

Of course, I do realize asking for a refund at this point may seem out of line to some, but like I say in the email I figured it would be the easiest way to resolve it. I didn't want to wait around forever to get the finished piece and would have been satisfied with the file as-is and a partial refund, even 10% of 25%, ANYTHING so that I could FINALLY take it off my list and forget about the heartache.

On January 28th, 2016, he emailed me and claimed the piece he had sent in October was the finished piece, minus the rendering of one hand. He then claimed he would send me the finished file as soon as he smoothed out the hand. As well as a quite P.A. comment about the fact that if this had been for a freelancing company, it would have cost me $2000. http://i.imgur.com/V2OP8si.png

Half an hour later, he sent me the .psd of the 'finished piece'. It is almost entirely unchanged from the screenshot from October. And, to my dismay, it's quite rough and not as refined as the sample piece he used for his commission post. There's a part in one of the character's irises that bleeds into the eyelashes, really badly. The ear is a block of unrendered, unfinished painting. The male figure is very rough and untouched compared to the female figure. Overall, the entire thing is quite sketchy, quite unrefined, and quite unfinished -- when compared to his sample.

At the very least, it is not what I would hope for after over a year of waiting for a $150 commission that had a much more refined example.

Here is the final file he sent me: http://i.imgur.com/91E4qbU.png
Note that it's barely changed (if at all) from the WIP from October. Over 3 months for that lack of work done on the piece.

Here are some closeups of a few of the problem areas I identified: http://i.imgur.com/ePJmE2v.png

Again, here is the image he used in his commission post: http://i.imgur.com/t0PaIRP.jpg

As it is, this situation is "resolved". I'm NOT happy with the piece, but I sincerely doubt he will ever give me any partial refund (the piece is, after all, 'finished' according to him) and I don't care to see how long it would take him to refine the piece more (I'd prefer not to wait another full year, really). And while I feel the end result is not in line with what he was offering, my complaint is about his unprofessionalism rather than the art itself. Art is subjective, and though I may not be happy with the piece, it is "finished" in his eyes. My gripe is his refusal to keep in touch, the constant ignoring of my messages, and the continuously broken deadlines.

In the end, this is a beware to all other artists and commissioners out there. Do not commission Jace Wallace. I have no clue if he plans to ever open commissions again, but if he does, it's not worth it. This is hands down the most frustrating experience I have ever had with an artist. It's not even the year+ wait that bothers me -- I've waited that long before, I'll wait that long again.

But EVERY time I attempted to contact him, I was ignored, unless I had made a direct claim that I would be pursuing action against him, or I approached him directly IN PUBLIC. (There were a few times when I commented on his submissions on DA or profile on DA, but he has hidden the comments at this point.) He set deadlines, and then he broke them with nary a word. He made excuses, avoided contact, and continued to be active on Tumblr regardless of the owed work.

At least with other artists I've had this problem with, they disappeared entirely. With Jace, he was still active on Tumblr almost this entire time, just deliberately ignoring my messages on DA, Tumblr (where he was active, WHILE HE WAS ACTIVE) and via email. In the end, I feel disrespected, insulted, and disappointed - and I don't want anyone else to go through the same situation.

EDIT: The final email he sent to me, after I submitted this A_B post and informed him I would be doing so. http://i.imgur.com/GDdiT2M.png
Artist's beware has moved!
Do NOT repost your old bewares. They are being archived.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 6th, 2016 07:47 pm (UTC)
This beware is a really huge disappointment. I'm a huge fan of Jace's work, and have been hoping to get an image from them since I discovered their work years ago. I'm really sorry you went through this. That close up of the eye just made me cringe.
Feb. 6th, 2016 09:00 pm (UTC)
Honestly, that's my major feeling as well: disappointment. Thank you, though. I'm glad to at least help others see what they might go through if they do ever open commissions again.
Feb. 6th, 2016 09:09 pm (UTC)
Couple of notes to add since this was posted (not sure if it warrants me editing the post?): I emailed Jace when I submitted this post and let him know how disappointed I was with the commission experience, as well as the art to a lesser extent. He didn't reply to a single one of my concerns about the experience, but simply told me I was crazy for not liking the painting, and went on about how I was simply zooming in too far and that his paintings are only meant to be viewed at 20-30%. The full resolution of the file he sent me is 2250x3000, which is large, but not that large compared to other print-sized pieces I've got from other artists. If you DO size it down to 25%, it's a mere 563x750, which is tiny on my screen. I really don't feel it's unreasonable to expect the image to look decent at 100% view when it's supposed to be a fully rendered painting. The eye is visibly messed up even at a lower percentage view.

Also, though I didn't remark upon it at the time, he actually missed several key details of the character's design that makes it clear he didn't continue to look at the refs. So it's not even accurate to the character itself.

Regardless, I'm not really interested in pursuing contact with him any further and am simply counting this as a lost cause in the hopes that no one else will deal with this person.

If I should go ahead and add this to the post, just let me know, mods. I can screencap his last email if needed but it is more or less as I said.
Feb. 6th, 2016 10:54 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's a terrible excuse. :/ And really depressing to hear from someone like him. I just completed an image that was about 25 hours of work and it's 3300x4200px (11x14 in)and 300dpi. There were spots where I saw something zoomed in, and I didn't just leave it, even though you couldn't tell it was a mistake when zoomed out.

It's really frustrating to hear an artist of this quality level who is just ignoring his work, and also giving that kind of reply, especially about you not enjoying something that wasn't to the level you paid for. If he decided that it was too much work for the price he was charging for that level of finish as in his example, that's on him, not you. :/
Feb. 6th, 2016 11:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's a really weak excuse :/ ugh. Sorry you went through this mess.
Feb. 7th, 2016 12:00 am (UTC)
This is an absurd excuse, really. If you are doing work for a client, it makes every little bit of sense to make sure every pixel looks good and presentable. If the silent treatment wasn't enough a beware, an excuse like this definitely is. It just shows laziness or the artist dosn't really care about your business.
Feb. 7th, 2016 03:14 am (UTC)
Adding the screenshot of his final response to my email informing him I would be making an A_B post and expressing my disappointment with the experience: http://i.imgur.com/GDdiT2M.png

(Mods, let me know if I need to edit/remove or add my email to him as well.)
Feb. 7th, 2016 03:24 am (UTC)
You can add it to your original post.
Enn Shaw
Feb. 7th, 2016 05:25 am (UTC)
:/ That's messed up.
Rachael Walters
Feb. 7th, 2016 03:37 pm (UTC)
I find it shallow he used his fans as an excuse, yes they like the work but did they pay for it? NO, if the one who paid for it is not happy with it he would change it unto you are and the zoom-in issues surely can be an easy edit.
Feb. 7th, 2016 05:50 pm (UTC)
yeah no - the "final" image doesn't look nearly as refined as the example. The Male face looks super blocky and blurry at the same time and these are mistakes that actually transfers to the zoomed out image.

Disappointing to say the least. Also in a reply to the final answer you got from him; It's not your fault he charged the price he charged, so to complain about only getting about $3 an hour is not your problem and kinda guilt trippy.
Feb. 7th, 2016 09:11 pm (UTC)
I'm not exactly sure how viewing an image at 100% is 'zooming in', isn't that the size it should be viewed at? Either way, the quality of the finished product does not measure up to the example at all.
Feb. 7th, 2016 09:52 pm (UTC)
Eesh, that eye close up makes me sad, that's such a easy thing to fix and its so very obvious.

Feb. 8th, 2016 09:27 am (UTC)
No that final image is beyond finished. The bleeding and unfinished ear can be seen easily when zoomed out. It's so easy to fix too.

That response of his doesn't do him any favors either in that last screenshot. It reminds me of a client I had that told me about their past designer whine about making changes since "it was fine enough" in their view and felt "humiliated".

As for his $2000 jab, yes, it would be for artists who are on time by meeting deadlines with HIGH quality work. Not something with a bleeding eye and unfinished ear. If he pulled this in the actual industry, he would've been fired.

Beware very well warranted.

Edited at 2016-02-08 09:29 am (UTC)
Feb. 10th, 2016 07:15 am (UTC)
if he's only making 3$ an hour off his work, that's his problem, not yours. you can't decide halfway through a piece that it shouldn't be up to par with the example YOU provided. also, if he's really going to make jabs about industry prices he should know that the standard industry size for a finished piece isn't 563x750? this artist absolutely needs to work on his professionalism and ego. beware well warranted.

Edited at 2016-02-10 07:15 am (UTC)
Feb. 10th, 2016 12:37 pm (UTC)
Wait, did he /choose/ to do a painting of two full bodies as opposed to just one, as is shown in the example?

It's hard to tell with seeing just his responses to the initial order, but what I'm taking away is that he chose to do both forms of your character, therefore doubled the workload for himself without making any adjustment to the price, realized his mistake, turned out something with twice the amount of characters as the example but half the quality, and tried to place the blame on you for it (ergo the $3/hour remark + the 20% zoom excuse). Yes/no?

Regardless, he has way too much experience to be pulling stuff like this and treating commissioners this way. This ain't his first rodeo!
Feb. 10th, 2016 05:43 pm (UTC)
Yep. The commission was for a single full body, but the character I provided him with has the two versions, and he decided to draw both. He never asked or mentioned this to me, just provided me with the sketch that had both. You can see in one of the DA notes that I expressed surprise he would draw both. Never anywhere did he mention that he would be doing shoddy work on one figure due to adding it on, or anything like that. In fact, in my last email to him I mentioned that if I had known he would be giving me shoddier work due to doubling the figures, I would have just asked him to pick one -- he didn't respond to that at all. I probably would have been happy with it if he had dropped the male figure and just focused on finishing up the female figure, but he never even asked if he could do that or... anything, you know? It's all very strange.
Lindsey Dworshak
Feb. 11th, 2016 05:38 pm (UTC)
I don't understand the artist? I would understand if he had approached you with the idea of drawing both for less refinement, so you could approve you decline the idea, but to just go against the order you paid for and get mad about it?
Feb. 12th, 2016 03:07 am (UTC)
tbh, the 20% zoom/the image not being meant to be viewed at it's fullest resolution is actually a very common practice since the image itself is meant to be practically viewed at your screen's resolution or for print.

that being said, that's absolutely no excuse for leaving in errors that are visible at the image's intended resolution and the artist should have fixed those as opposed to sending you a very rough and incomplete image. his errors and pricing isn't your fault and it's his obligation to complete the piece as to the commission agreement.

sorry you've had to deal with this. =/
Feb. 12th, 2016 03:20 am (UTC)
Yes, I'm aware of that. As an artist myself I'm used to drawing at massive sizes so that it looks better when sized down. And one of the artists I commission most often does speedpaints that she usually posts at 50% due to the large size of the file. Brushstrokes and things are visible at 100%, but the image still looks GOOD at 100% even though it's massive. With this piece, however, viewing it at 20 or 30 percent makes it friggin' tiny -- and it's not like I have a massive monitor or anything, but less than 1000x1000 is pretty small for a "fully rendered" 2-character painting. So, 100% wasn't that big on my screen at all, and the mistakes were super obvious and visible from that percentage and from a smaller percentage that was more in-line with my screen's resolution, too.
Feb. 12th, 2016 07:32 pm (UTC)
oh man, I must've missed the part where it was less than 1000x1000- that is /tiny/ and would be very easy to clean up.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )


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