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This is something I've been considering on and off for a long while while lurking the community and I finally decided to come out and post about it.

A good couple years back I ordered a commission from a well-known and respected local artist at a then-small college convention near me - two traditional pieces of original characters my ex and I designed for a visual novel we were working on. I believe we each paid $20-25 for them at the time. I also gave them the original design sketches I had of the two characters. The artist is open about them dealing with chronic illness - fibro and lupus, notably, and how some days they're physically unable to draw, so I didn't expect to have the art immediately, but I did hope I'd get it within a few months.

A few months later I emailed them to inquire about my commissions, I needed the design sketches back to reference from as well. They told me they were still getting through the commissions from the convention and that mine was next on the list. Awesome!

I never got the commissions or the original sketches. I feel like maybe I should have been more forceful but as I'm also an artist who struggles with chronic conditions that make keeping a consistent schedule difficult (albeit mine are nowhere near as debilitating) I feel like it might've been in bad form to nag about it. There's also the fact that this person is very well liked and respected among the local geek community, including several friends of mine, and I didn't want to be alienated or be accused of starting drama.

So this is still what I'm struggling with - do I create a beware and let people know that there's a potential caveat emptor attached to commissioning this artist (who does accept online commissions, so this isn't just a local thing)? Or do I let it go, and accept that shit happens?

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Comments

galagya
May. 22nd, 2016 01:12 pm (UTC)
Like others who replied, I have a chronic, serious disability(not the same as the person from the post, but still).

Basically, I see one of two things being the problem, here.

Either (1) they are simply ripping you off... or...
(2) they aren't handling their commissions well because of this illness, & their priorities are out of whack. They have not found the balance they need, put the special limitations they will surely need on themselves into place, etc.. Does this make sense...? I'm trying to basically communicate that this IS due to their illness, but more so, how they handle commissions knowing it.

To elaborate on (2), like with me - my condition makes me unavailable for weeks on end sometimes. I used to try to be like other commissioners, but I'd let people know that I "wasn't the quickest" to compensate. That was my problem. Realistically, I should have done then/from the start what I do now - say, straight up, that it might take weeks, or even months, period. I think in the back of my head, I wasn't sure if people would understand or just think I was being lazy or something, but... it doesn't matter. I needed to *change my business to compensate accordingly*. They may have done this, like I did, but again like me, they may very well have not done it /well/. & that can make all the difference. Next thing you know, as a result of this, they may battle a backlog, or be anxious about contacting you at this point/after so long, or... anything, I dunno. None are "okay", but all are human. So that /could/ be what is going on.

I think it'd be better if it was the latter, rather than the former, of course. Neither is good, I mean, they would both result in the situation you now have... but the latter would mean there was no malicious intent, & that you may well still walk away with something!

As for not wanting to start drama, I think there is a very easy way to keep from doing that. You already are doing it right. You did not post names, or make a big public fuss. Now, contact this person directly and discreetly, one-on-one. If you made a fuss in front of people, it would be dramatic. But contacting them after years for something owed is more than enough.

Honestly, they likely forgot about it completely by now. Especially if they have a stressful life and are plagued by illness, I'm sure that this isn't high on their priorities compared to the stresses of living.

Now, I am NOT saying that's how it SHOULD be. But I'm saying that's how it is. Just like if say, your mother died, you might walk away from not only commissions but things you love or hell, people you love, because you can't cope or you're having a LOT of trouble with it. It's not what SHOULD be done, but again, people are only human, & we're all flawed. It wouldn't be ideal, but understandable? I certainly believe so.

Still, they should strive to make things right if they aren't a blatant thief. So now, it's up to you to give them the opportunity.

You need to contact them.

Be polite. Be understanding. ...but also make your POV very clear, and be honest & to the point. You want to get along, but man, you want what's owed to you! Don't say things like, "you've had the time" at this point. Say, "I'd really like to get that".

Basically, be respectful. No drama, right?

If, after this, there is nothing... THEN be forceful. Of course, I believe in being respectful regardless, but you can be respectful & pretty brutally honest at the same time, haha. For instance, that's when things like, "you've had the time" would be legit, imo.

If nothing happens still, then that's that. Post a beware, let others in the community know, or... whatever. I'm not an expert on what to do when it gets to that point(I honestly am a super patient person so who knows lmao, never hit the "fuck it, I'm done" wall, myself). But yeah, do what you think is right.

If they ARE just... well, (2)... then I'm positive it will not get to that point!

But whatever you do, do SOMETHING! Speaking as an artist and someone with a disability, I want my commissioners to be satisfied and, dare I say, happy. End of story! If they are an artist, they'll likely feel at least somewhat similar. If they are a /con/-artist, well... not so much.

Best of luck to you!
galagya
May. 22nd, 2016 01:12 pm (UTC)
omfg such a long post I'm so sorry ahhh

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