Friday, March 19, 2010
An Art Commission Horror Story
Everything seemed to be going well. I bought the canvas before I got his check (mistake number 1) and started working out what I was going to paint. I was pretty excited about working on my first commissioned painting! Then I started getting emails from him asking me to come to his condo so that I could see where he wanted to put the painting. He thought this would give me a better sense of what to paint. He lived about a hour away from me so I really didn't want to make the trip and didn't feel like I needed to see what his couch looked like in order to complete the painting. I graciously declined his invitation and thought that would be the end of it.
I started getting more emails, each one getting more and more creepy, each one always ending in an invitation to his place. He started talking about how wouldn't it be great to have dinner at his condo and be able to look at my painting in the living room. At this point the check had still not arrived. I, being completely naive (and really needing the money), still thought that this was a legitimate commission. So I sent him an email saying that I felt like the arrival of the deposit was contigent on my coming over for dinner at his place and that I didn't feel this was appropriate, so please mail me a check or I would not do the painting. Suddenly, I had a check in my hand with an apology for the delay. I thought I was back on track, but boy was I wrong.
What followed were a series of emails from him talking about how wouldn't it be great if we got married and could tell our grandkids about the painting I made for US or how it would be great for us to host cocktail parties and show our friends OUR painting. I finally sent him an email saying that I no longer wanted to paint the piece, that his behavior was inappropriate, and I was ripping up his check. I was very blunt and to the point. Next followed a barrage of harassing and insulting emails that took about a week to finally stop. When it was finally over, I was exhausted and shaken by the whole ordeal.
Images: Detail of a current commissioned painting in progress and a full body image of the same piece. 20" x 24", oil on birch panel. The final painting will be covered in encaustic wax. This client has so far been a dream!