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commission has not been paid for?!!!

So... a good friend growing up asked me twice via text to paint him something. He had specific suggestions for what he wanted, trash polka style. I had no idea what that was. I googled it. and told him it was not my cup of tea. he said paint me an original with baphomet. he will pay me 400$ I said ok. I took pictures of my progress and sent them to him during the process. I even brought the painting to him unfinished and asked him what i should add, change remove... etc. Every pic of the painting i sent him. he said "amazing" at no time since the original texts where he said "Ill pay you 400" did he bring up money. i sent him a text saying, " you can pay me whatever you think is fair and gave him my paypal account. He said we can talk about it after its finished. I finished the painting drove two hours to give it to him. He never brought up payment. It has been over 2 months and he does not bring up the painting or payment. How do i proceed without damaging the friendship? 


  • You probably can't proceed with out damaging the friendship. If he was truly your friend he would either pay what he said he would pay or return the painting with an apology...In the future 1/3 up front. 1/3 at halfway point or when client approves the progress around midpoint. And 1/3 on delivery of finished work. Write up a generic contract stipulating these payments and the price of the work to be completed and have the client sign it. 
  • Hi nrmorrisll, In my view, the friendship is already damaged- by your friend. You mentioned on a couple of occasions he never brought up payment, were you embarrassed to bring it up? You also said at one point- you can pay me whatever you think is fair- this put you in a weakened position. Jmac51is spot on with the advice above. This might either need to be chalked up to experience, or have an actual conversation with this person about the situation- texting can be ignored and can be a very ineffective form of communication in situations like this. Stand up for yourself and your art, speak to the person, request the originally agreed on payment then let it go. It's seems this person is taking advantage of your good nature, or he didn't like the painting and doesn't know how to tell you. Either way, for the friendship to remain intact there needs to be some honest conversation. This is just my opinion given on the scenario presented, there may be other factors involved. Best of luck with this.

  • nrmorrisll

    in my view $400 would probably about cover the material and transport costs. He is getting the creative effort for free. My advice is to hand deliver an invoice setting out itemised cost elements in the production of the work. Offer progress payments if it helps. Be up front and offer to take it back if he doesn't like it.

    If nothing else, this is a good lesson in business practice.

  • With friends like that, you don't need enemies.  I think this is why most professionals require a non-refundable down payment . . . 50% down is not uncommon.  In addition, they charge for travel.  Hang it in your studio as a reminder why you've developed a tougher attitude.
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • So, who's buying the drinks then?


  • Maybe he was browsing through this forum !  ;)
  • Congratulation @nrmorrisII . This is very good news.
    @dencal    I buy the drinks. As I am still waiting for the masterpiece to come, I have to have a drink from time to time...
  • I'd never paint on commission - I can't stand the stress of pleasing someone else.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited June 2016

    I'd never paint on commission - I can't stand the stress of pleasing someone else.
    Interesting.  Very unique observation and true.  :)
  • I'd never paint on commission - I can't stand the stress of pleasing someone else.
    I wish I had thought of it when it would have done me some good!  :)
  • David

    Michelangelo complains a lot. He never has a cent and his patrons don’t pay him. He goes months without pay while he works like a dog, and eats like a dog, in the Sistine Chapel. His father asks him for a little help and Michelangelo writes back: “I don’t have any money. What I am sending you now I tore out of my heart and it doesn’t seem right to go begging.”
    And so on all through his letters.

    The text does clarify that Michelangelo died a millionaire with four farms through good habits and patronage.



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