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Who: Vani / VanillaKitsune / @ashketchumsays / stripesandteeth
Where: Twitter
When: Commissioned them June 15th, 2016

I commissioned Vani on their Twitter back in June when they were taking a lot of sketch commissions there. I bought two sketches and received initial passes pretty quickly, but since then it’s been very difficult to get in contact with them much less get an update.

Break down of events and screen caps below cut.

All screen caps are in the Dropbox folder below, and are numbered to be chronological, except for the proof of payment which is the first document.

-6/15/16: I DMed Vani on Twitter like their post said to do, and gave them references and paid promptly. I paid for two 11x14 sketch with shipping, but was later asked to pay for shipping again.
-6/26/16: I received preliminary sketches that were very rough and I approved them. I was excited to see progress so soon and was told they’d be finished promptly.
-6/29/16: A few days later I received a long DM from Vani saying that they would be attending AX and couldn’t finish the sketches before then. As an artist that sells at cons, I understood and told them not to worry. Afterwards I didn’t hear anything until August.

-8/14/16: I DMed Vani to check in and ask how the sketches were going and again received a long DM, explaining that things were rough but on an upswing. I trusted they’d work on commissions when they were able and left them to it until November when I saw they were going to MFF.

-11/28/16: I DMed Vani again after I saw they were going to MFF and tabling there as well. I asked if I could pick up my sketches at the con and they said they would have them ready for me. I ended up not being able to get away from my table the entire weekend and messaged them when I got home.

-12/5/16: I DMed Vani again apologizing that I couldn’t get to their table to pick up my sketches. At this point, I have not seen the finished sketches and have no reason to believe that the sketches have actually been completed and would have even been available for pickup. Vani tells me they can mail my sketches, and asked me to send $6. I promptly paid, completely forgetting that I had already paid for shipping initially.
-12/30/16: Vani posts a 10 page google document explaining their year and the struggles they’ve been through. I read the whole thing, and only gathered that they were stressed from taking too many commissions in between moving a lot and having financial struggles. They clearly state that they can’t deal with the stress of being contacted by customers, which admittedly upset me.

-1/7/17: At this point unaware of their post, I DM Vani one last time asking if they had mailed the sketches. I didn’t receive a response, so I publicly tweeted at them.
-1/11/17: I tweeted asking if they had shipped the sketches, received a reply from a random third party directing me to the 10 page manifesto.
After reading the whole thing I e-mailed Vani like they requested and tried to pick up where we left off on Twitter.
-1/25/17: No response to my e-mail, so I send another asking if they had received it. At this point I am not expecting a reply.

Speaking as an artist, I have been through similar situations that Vani has gone through. I’ve been in very tight spots financially and been forced to move and scramble to find housing. I honestly don’t mind waiting for artwork so long as the artist is able to clearly communicate delays and issues just as I would with my customers.

Vani very clearly can’t handle custom work but continues to take more and put themselves into this situation. They are now putting the blame of their anxieties and shortcomings on their customers who are simply asking when they can expect their artwork.

I’m incredibly disappointed and honestly even if I were to receive a refund or the finished artwork I couldn’t in good conscience recommend anyone work with Vani.
Artist's beware has moved!
Do NOT repost your old bewares. They are being archived.


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 31st, 2017 09:14 am (UTC)
Mod Comment
Your LJ cut is broken. Can you go in and fix that?
Feb. 2nd, 2017 07:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Mod Comment
Sorry, I just now saw this got posted. Fixed!
Jan. 31st, 2017 09:41 am (UTC)
What kills me is like

They did them. They did the damn sketches. All they need to do is ship the bloody things out. If they have time to write a 10 page manifesto on Why Their Life Is Harder Than Yours, they have time to finish and ship their owed work.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 31st, 2017 12:49 pm (UTC)
Yeah I get that its rough when your dealing with a lot of things but a 10 page manfesto to guilt trip people is just not done, Its not your or their other clients responsibility, they should reply to their clients.
Jan. 31st, 2017 01:58 pm (UTC)

I was hoping things would have changed with her over the years :( Sounds like the same ole thing. Sorry OP, that blows.
Jan. 31st, 2017 02:00 pm (UTC)
Totally not surprised by this. They haven't changed at all.
Jan. 31st, 2017 04:59 pm (UTC)
I read that google doc and was not impressed.

This especially...

"If it's not the stress from my current living situation that's making me anxious on the daily, it's waking up to 5 million people asking about their art or when it's going to be done. I just don't know. I can't give a straight answer because I am not the type of person who can just sit down and pump art out instantly. I'm not a machine. I'm pretty fickle, might I say. And that fickleness grows the more and more irritated I become with the constant nagging."

... makes me really angry. 1. If you lack the discipline to sit down and work on what you owe then you do not belong anywhere near a career as an artist, freelance or otherwise. 2. Clients are paying for a service, not giving you a free loan that you can pay back maybe sorta sometime if you feel like it and if the cosmos aligns with the planets during a solar eclipse on the winter solstice.
Feb. 2nd, 2017 02:17 am (UTC)
Exactly this. That essay was so very offputting, and showed her finding customers annoying('nagging'), rather than finding the situation she has gotten herself in, and her own actions annoying.

She did not take accountability and it's sad because she has not matured/improved in the last x amount of years..
Feb. 2nd, 2017 11:32 am (UTC)
"waking up to 5 million people asking about their art"

Only one way to solve that, make a comprehensive list of who owes what and start working on it. I can understand feeling overwhelmed, but it's not the customer's fault they took too much work (or finished too little). :/
Jan. 31st, 2017 06:43 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm one of the customers they have right now, sent my email in and hoping for the best.

I totally agree the manifesto was really not needed. Could have been summed up in a few paragraphs and really just sounds like they're trying to get people to feel bad for them to milk out more time to NOT do their work.

Not to mention, they blatantly posted so many things they should NOT have done. "I even had enough to spare to get myself a nice Christmas gift to myself, which was my new kitten I got thanks to my mom."

There is no such thing as spare cash when you're that broke. You don't go out and buy yourself ANOTHER cat when you owe other people so much.

I'm really doubting most of us will see anything as far as refunds, but I'll hope for the best.

((Edited for pronouns))

Edited at 2017-01-31 06:45 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 31st, 2017 08:31 pm (UTC)
this makes me sad cause ive witnessed all the stuff theyve been through and the fact that theyve been taking commissions that they cant do just makes it worse for them :(
Jan. 31st, 2017 10:37 pm (UTC)
You know what? At this point, I think there needs to be a master list of all the paying clients who are having difficulty getting their art/refunds from Vani. Because this is both ridiculous and frustrating.

And if that unnecessary, passive-aggressive 10-page sob story isn't enough (when they could've at LEAST contact their commissioners), the fact that they didn't want commissioners bothering them about their commission progress is definitely a bad move on their (Vani's) part.

I'm deeply sorry to hear about your frustration, OP.
Jan. 31st, 2017 11:11 pm (UTC)
I definitely agree with Latiro that they should put together a master list of what is owed. It'll be stressful but then at least they can sort out a priority list of what to do, who wants a refund etc, so that they can start communicating with people effectively. They would probably find it would alleviate some of the anxiety they are feeling as well if they can look at something and know exactly what's there. If the list was public and kept up to date, they would also likely have less people contacting them directly.
Jan. 31st, 2017 11:12 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry you're being yanked around when your art is already done.

And good lord, that "update." They really need to learn to separate the personal and professional aspects of their life. Morty's comment pretty much sums up all they needed to say.

Edited at 2017-02-01 12:59 am (UTC)
Feb. 1st, 2017 12:02 am (UTC)
Artist beware Vani
I'm also one of the folks on that long list waiting for a refund; contacted them as per the twitter "life story" have had no attempt at any contact back on their part; it's not hard to post a list saying this is where you sit in the queue for a refund.

I ordered this in December to pick up at MFF, met them in person and badge was not complete.

Got told they'd mail it to me. I had another con in Jan I wanted this for but that date was completely missed. It's now February and have had no contact on their part.

I'll promptly be submitting a PayPal claim!
Feb. 1st, 2017 01:11 am (UTC)
Re: Artist beware Vani
Yeah I was just about suggest that. I wouldn't wait for her to refund you or anyone else if you can file a claim I suggest you do so as soon as possible.
Feb. 1st, 2017 02:06 am (UTC)
When they were still being 'secretive' about being Vani, they were constantly going to conventions and skirting whatever commissions they racked up and that was roughly 5-6 years ago?

It got to a point where even their tumblr hugbox was suggesting they lay off the 'for fun' conventions to work on their queue, and they just don't want to do the work.

Life gets hard for any artist, especially if they seek to make a living off of their work, but at what point will they just stop and look at their situation for reevaluation?

It's been like 10 years or more of this behavior from them, hasn't it?

It might need a major hit in the wallet for Vani to stop and think for once. But despite the years of bewares and people warning about their owed work and stolen money, it just keeps going. :(
Feb. 1st, 2017 07:00 am (UTC)
I am in the same exact boat.
-Commissioned Vani in June
-No progress (not even a sketch)
-Multiple attempts to get updates
-Told it will be done for MFF
-No word after that

I even asked to downgrade my commission to a badge (and not ask for any refund or reimbursement) to make it easier for Vani. I did not need to do that, but assume it may help. Even that hasn't helped.

It is too late for me to file a complaint via Paypal. I know life is hard (been there, done that), but own up. I put refunds on a credit card before, haha!

And yes, that huge essay Vani wrote was definitely odd. I mainly read it as "Read this and stop emailing me."

Edited at 2017-02-01 07:03 am (UTC)
Feb. 1st, 2017 08:41 am (UTC)
I always found this such a shame - I really do like their work! But I kinda think they let the bum-kissers mold their behaviour. If you're always being told you're some sort of art god and that you're above the rules, why wouldn't you think the same?

I'm not saying that they think they are some sort of art god, but the "uh, I am fickle, I only draw when the muse takes me" attitude is remarkably juvenile - I know, because I used to have it myself! If art is your job, especially commissions, that simply isn't good enough.

It's actually one of the reasons I don't take commissions very often anymore - I would partly love to take them again, but they DO stress the hell out of me! I COMPLETELY understand why they would be overwhelmed, but... in that case, you NEED to stop. They need to find something else for money - they need to stop.
Feb. 1st, 2017 08:51 am (UTC)
So disappointed in them.
I will definitely be avoiding commissioning them ever.

This is the type of stuff that makes people sour or paranoid of commissioning other artists who actually act professionally.

I'm so sorry to hear you've had to deal with this OP

Seriously sounds like they need to consider another option for income.

Edited at 2017-02-01 08:51 am (UTC)
Feb. 2nd, 2017 04:52 am (UTC)
Oh yikes, what a shame. they're a really great artist based on a quick peek at their tumblr. What I don't understand is, sketches can be done almost anywhere, at any time! You can even pop them in an envelope with some cash and leave it in your own mailbox for delivery. No excuses!
Feb. 2nd, 2017 01:23 pm (UTC)
So whatever happened to Vani's so-called 'PR Manager' who thought they were a wonderful person who was just having some tough times and would definitely complete all outstanding commissions? That was what, 4-5 years ago now? Vani hasn't changed one bit.

Edited at 2017-02-02 01:29 pm (UTC)
Feb. 2nd, 2017 04:26 pm (UTC)
Could be wrong since this may have happened with her too, but are you sure you aren't thinking of Falvie? I remember her clearly having a manager saying those things.
Feb. 2nd, 2017 04:39 pm (UTC)
Nope, Vani had one too: http://artists-beware.livejournal.com/596422.html No updates since July 2012. Since it's now 2017 and Vani still has a massive backlog, it obviously didn't work very well.
May. 30th, 2017 09:51 pm (UTC)
It looks like they're trying the secretary/personal assistant thing again.

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )


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