Friday, October 24, 2008

Party Theme

Sometimes as artists we are called upon perform unusual tasks. Recently a company threw a party to celebrate some or other event, and wanted a cowboy, come country and western theme for the party. I was given the task of doing three large murals for them. Well I thought they would be murals that they would paint over once the celebration was done.

The company agreed to supply all the material as I felt it would not be useful to me in the future. I also allowed myself a week to complete the project. Upon arrival I was rater amused to find a few large rolls of calico sheeting, numerous jars of fabric paint, lengths of timber, saw, square hammer and nails. Oh yes! and a pair of scissors and a staple gun.

I say bemused because I stood and looked at this lot and asked myself "What on earth am I supposed to do with this pile of junk" A brief discussion with the responsible person soon enlightened me and I could either walk away or rise to the challenge. I was on my own, and as always needed the money so I decided what the heck!! "Get on with the job" Bitching won't help.

So if you can Imagine this Granny with a hammer and nails constructing wooden frames, working on the floor without any fancy work benches or vices, well that's how day one was spent. Once the frames were complete and the fabric stapled to the frames I painted the fabric with a white PVA and left it overnight to stiffen to a workable canvas sheet.

As you can see the frames were somewhat taller than I am so a lot of my time was spent standing on a ladder. Though it turned out to be a fun project it had its challenges, painting on a large surface without a solid backing left little room for error and was difficult at best.

Having missed day one as a result of my construction efforts, I was also under pressure to finish all three before the big bash. With all the mad rush and pressure to complete the project I forgot to take a camera and photograph my handy work. I thought I would be able to pop in the Monday and quickly take some photos. The company maintenance staff who were conspicuous by their absence while I was struggling to construct the frames had however dismantled everything and rolled up the canvas for possible use in the future.

One of the staff members did however take a photo with her mobile and was kind enough to give me a copy which is the one above. This was also unfortunately taken prior to the completion of that particular painting as you can see by the wagon wheels which I had done in rough with a dustbin lid and painted over later. The quality of the photo is also not the greatest and also only shows a portion of the painting.

Sadly however this story does not have a happy ending, when it came time to cough up the agreed up fee the company MD Reneged and refused to pay. His excuse was that the person who commissioned me to do the job apparently did not have the necessary authority to do so.

I find this rather strange as the person concerned was appointed co-ordinator for the party project and presented management with a budget that included the cost of the material and my fee. The company is a well known large hotel but due to pending legal action I cannot name and shame them here.

Whats even more confusing is that during his party speech the MD commended the co-ordinator on her fantastic effort specially with the theme. I was invited as a guest to the party and was congratulated by all and sundry including the MD for the paintings when I was introduced as the artist.

Well there goes the Christmas bonus, but I suppose a lesson learned. On the bright side though I have been approached by other people present at the party to do a few commissioned paintings in the near future. So maybe all is not lost.


BK said...

What can I say? "What remarkable work and painting you had done!" You had certainly risen to the occasion. The part on the payment is truly shameful on the hotel. Was any contract or black and white signed before the work? I sincerely hope that you can get the agreed on payment soon. Have a great weekend!

A. said...

What a disgraceful way to treat you!

Amy Lilley Designs said...

HOW CUTE ARE YOU????...a job well done and a HUGE lesson learned..isn't it always something????...all the best!

Margaret said...

Just get 1/2 your fee in advance :lol:

Lovely work! You are one talented lady!


Lynne said...

Oh my! I never imagined this story would end the way it did. I certainly hope it works out in the end because you deserve payment for all of your hard work. You did an excellent job, especially given what you had to work with and no assistance.

daisy said...

ohhhhhh! after all your hard work, they refuse to pay? tsk tsk sue them!

Page McManus said...

Since they didn't pay you for your work, can't you take possession of it? At least they won't be able to use the "freebie" later.

Jude said...

Looks like you did a great job and that company is very unethical, but Karma has a way of evening things out and you will be compensated one way or another. All the best.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Caroline,

That was appalling! Being commissioned, under an approved budget, praise for the work and then denied just compensation. That's abominable!

I'm so sorry to hear that this happened to you, after all that effort and difficulty of execution. Perhaps you should reclaim the murals if they won't pay for it. The guests who commissioned you for their portraits certainly know how to spot excellent talent and true artistry, they are the gems of this abusive planet. I just wonder how those in charge can have the gall to turn their backs on their responsibility after having gloated over themselves for a great backdrop?

I know artists are a patient and forgiving lot but I think this is too cruel to do to a very talented and skillful artist whose works have been valued and paid for by clients.

It does not diminish you in any way whatsoever. It only shows the treacherous character of those you trusted with your creative gift. You have remained true to your passion and the soul of your humanity; they have damned themselves with their deceit.

Congratulations to you, and I know you will be rewarded even more by the decency and perseverance that you have shown. Take care. :-) --Durano, done!

Ragtree said...

I am so sorry! Your work was beautiful and you were robbed (to say the least!)

I hope you recover what is owed you :( Can you even believe the nerve of some people?