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Ahoy!

As a friend of an artist I commissioned before approached me and mentioned that I came off as obnoxious, pushy and rude for giving out criticism after my last commission went a bit awry, I'm really confused and sad now, because I never intended to come off as that. I really find her to be a nice person and like her art, so I planned to stick to her as my "to-go"-artist.

To clarify:
I commissioned a cover for a story I wrote, paid 40 dollars and gave every detail in the notes. After waiting several months, I received it and while I really liked the quality, a few (important) details were forgotten and/or ignored, and I got the impression that she works chaotically. As I wasn't entirely satisfied with it, I asked her if she could do the changes and that I want to talk to her about a different topic later (the criticism) and she agreed to the changes.
Then I sent a note with all the criticism and friendly advice, which she thanked me for and explained herself professionally, which I found excellent, because I always fear that the person on the other end might rage at me. So considering that she is still young (No offense, but my experiences tell that it are mostly the younger ones who can't take it well), I found it very impressive! And now I have to hear that she actually took it very harshly.

This is my note for everyone who is interested:
http://fs5.directupload.net/images/170505/6e8r9i9g.png

To be frankly, the only sentence which I could find rude is the assumption that she works chaotically, that she did those things where she wasn't entirely sure on her own without asking me first and where I asked her to think about my points, as I would it find really sad to lose her (As if I would be her only customer).
And now I'm asking myself what I have done terribly wrong that the artist thinks of me as a jerk and that I would think I would be too good for her art. After trying to get out more information of the friend, he told me that Americans take it differently.

So my questions are:
Where did I appear as a jerk and is this sort of a mentality-thing, where it's considered rude in the US of A to give out unwanted criticism? Because at least here in Germany if you are presenting your work to the public, you are simultaneously free to be criticized and shouldn't complain about that, as long as its friendly and constructive.

Advice is really appreciated, as I would like to keep good business relations to artists I commission and not destroy them because they were actually offended by something.

THX 11-38 in advance!


EDIT 1: Edited for clarity.

EDIT 2: Cut isn't working, so I'll just point to my first post in the comments, which contains further explanation and replies to some comments.

EDIT 3: After receiving a confusing answer from the artist to my apology so I have finally no idea what to think and/or do, I'll just leave her alone. I consider the matter resolved - sort of. Thank you for all your answers, as they really helped me showing my wrongdoings and how to behave in future commissions!

EDIT 4: Now my commissions were deleted (also replaced with a simple placeholder-image) from her site with a text that I harrassed and treated her bad, she would fear for her safety and no refunds would be eministered. She also blocked me from commenting and messaging her, making me wonder how I am going to get those images back in case my HDD dies.
Now that's what I call an overreaction...
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Comments

snowhawk
May. 5th, 2017 10:52 pm (UTC)
I can't put a lot on the artist here...

There are a whole lot of people in America, and they all have varying levels of what they can personally deal with. Some of this has to do with where they're from and how they were raised. Some is just because they might have some stuff going on in their life that they don't share and you don't see. You can't rely on one American you know, or even a small handful, to tell you if something is offensive or not. Especially if they are older than the person you're going to be talking to.

And really, if you have to ask: assume it is.

Had I gotten this, I might have responded like the artist at first: seemingly happy about the advice. That's from me being raised in Tennessee. But I would be on my side of the monitor, quietly seething, because I do see the note as rude, and not friendly. The fact the artist is still communicating with you in anyway is more than I would have done. I have walked away from customers in my retail jobs, rolling my eyes so hard they should have popped out of my head, or just needing to go out back and kick the dumpster.

A lot of it is in your phrasing. I know some of this is cultural; I worked closely with a German when I modded a certain chan board, and that was a big sticking point in communication between him (the server guy) and us (the moderators).

I'm also put-off by the emojis and the use of informal language. Anytime you are dealing with a business transaction, any sort of smiley or emoji or what might be silly with a group of friends can come off as condescending, so they're best to avoid, period. Artists are not here to be your friend, they're here to provide a service.

Tone does not come across in text. I know mine is not going to come across right here. Most artists I know, don't particularly want to hear critique from a commissioner, because it's like, "If you can do better, then do it yourself." Comments on the lines of "Hey, can you do X instead of Y here?" are great, though.

Like someone else said, the comment about the price for what they were getting was, to me, offensive as well. If the artist is young, they are probably undercharging, and that's like admitting you are more than willing to take advantage of them.

The advice you gave, about sending WIPs and confirming with the customer that everything is correct before posting, is good. The rest is... unnecessary.

mortymaxwell's post was best. It's to the point. That's all you need.
exo_formicidae
May. 6th, 2017 07:11 pm (UTC)
so glad someone else also saw this!

The text itself came off as unwanted advice, but with the added chat speak and emojis it came off as very condescending. To me at least. Also - for "making it right" with the artists, I wouldn't push that. I am not sure how you apologized, but if it's anything like the first note it might have done more harm than good to be honest.

something like "sorry if the previous note came off as rude, that was not my intention. Hope to work with you again in the future" is all you need, so any mention of the friend or such just leads to chaos or potential drama. Always keep communication between the original parties. And if the blocked you, cease contact as they don't want to deal with it then. (Not saying the artist blocked you, just that going via a friend is a super bad idea).

Also as other's have mentioned, it's not a US thing. As a Norwegian our stereotype is cold, blunt and emotionless - but after that first note I would rather not work with you in the future. Mostly because of the sentence build-up and emojis.
uaz_469
May. 6th, 2017 07:21 pm (UTC)
To my defense:

I had commissioned her once before, which went very well and contact was always friendly and jovial before the note. I consider myself experienced enough to not use a wide load of smileys and strange phrases with a completely new artist (If some stranger would talk to me like that, I would be annoyed as well) and I "adapt" the tone of my notes to that of the artist's ones. So I thought that it wouldn't be a problem.

So you can safely assume that if it would have been my first time with her, I definitely would have been more informal and calm.

The apology itself was informal and didn't mention a friend.

Edited at 2017-05-06 07:28 pm (UTC)
exo_formicidae
May. 6th, 2017 08:47 pm (UTC)
okidoki! then I don't really have anything to add :)
kayla_la
May. 7th, 2017 12:52 am (UTC)
Heya! Please be more careful about editing your comments. We get a notification for every single edit, so it's gotten a bit spammy with you editing multiple comments multiple times.

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