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Comission Artist Woes

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Barrington Boots:
More one for those artists amongst us.

I comissioned some art for a D&D game earlier this year and the artist has stopped communicating with me. Their last update to me was almost 7 weeks ago - they've not responded to a couple of messages since then not have they updated their Instagram (their only active online prescence I'm aware of) and their Etsy store has either sold out or had all items removed.
I'd approved the art all the way up to base colours stage, all looked great, and had previously seen from their Instagram stories that the work now looks pretty much finished so it seems odd they'd go quiet at this point. I'm concerned then that something dreadful may have happened in their lives and I've mailed them saying if there's any issue they don't have to explain, just say so, but no response to that.

Unsure what to do - if something is wrong I don't want to pressure them further, but I also can't wait indefinitely. Suggestions anyone? 

The Legendary Shark:

If you haven't paid anything yet, just let them know you're dropping the arrangement and move on - there are plenty of fine artists around here.

If you have paid - I don't know. Either cut your losses (if you can afford it) and move on or consider the legal route (which will cost more money).

Barrington Boots:
I have paid upfront, and it's money I can *sort of* afford to lose but I'd rather not. Definitely no need to go legal!

I'm conscious if the artist is having problems of some sort then the last thing they need is me initiating a chargeback, but don't want to be a mug about it.

Colin YNWA:
I guess the other factor is there any time pressure? Is there any pressing need / timescale for the art to be delivered or can you allow them more time to try to resolve any issues they may have.

The fact that their Etsy store is cleared might be concerning as to whether they have pulled up sticks?

The Legendary Shark:

I guess one could assume some personal problems causing an interruption in your transaction, or a complete end to it.

If you're in a hurry to get the artwork, go elsewhere and then, if the artist does come back you can request a refund, a different commission, or a reduced rate seeing that now you'll have two pieces of art when you only wanted one. If you're not getting any response, that sounds bad so I'd suggest you move on and hope s/he gets get back to you sometime but don't spoil your own project by waiting for something that may never happen. Expect the best, plan for the worst.

Heck, if it's not too difficult a project I'll have a go at the picture for you myself, gratis. I've a couple of daubs posted hereabouts - so that's how good/bad it'll be and I'd enjoy the challenge. Buy me a pint some day if you like it.

Or be sly and do an art comp here, or somewhere, with your brief and a fifty quid prize. Artists love winning things, and they love fifty quid notes, so that might be mad enough an idea to actually work.

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