This is the third post in the series about Good Galleries Gone Bad by Victoria Lansford.
Let's get smart and business savvy and take these words of wisdom to heart, they're worth their weight in gold (even if you work in other materials).
In this post, Victoria describes her experience when she wasn't paid for her work and her next steps to handle this difficult situation. If you missed the beginning of the story, the first two posts were:
Good Galleries Gone Bad - Don't Let This Happen to You by Victoria Lansford,
Victoria Lansford creates one-of-a-kind wearable art in precious metals and unique stones. She is also the author of the book, Metal Techniques of Bronze Age Masters: All Chained Up, and producer of the related DVD series. Future posts include tips on preventing delinquent payments, steps to take if your gallery is not paying on time, and more (including the opinion of Lansford's lawyer Chris Balch).
Note: The opinions expressed by the author, Victoria Lansford, in this post are hers and hers alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASKHarriete or Harriete Estel Berman. No endorsement or refutation is intended or implied.
FROM THE PEN OF VICTORIA LANSFORD:
Ironically, soon after connecting with Jen and also with Zaruba & Zaruba’s former manager, Andrew called me with effusive apologies for not paying. He claims to have an investor lined up and will pay me on May 21. The date came and went without a check, and the phone message I left with his employee was not returned. It’s frustrating not being able to count on that money. To paraphrase Boris Bally’s earlier post on this issue, I’m an artist, not a bank. I don’t lend money to other businesses.
Even more painful than the loss of income is how I feel about the pieces that I had sent to Twist of My Wrist. I consider them stolen and am listing them as such on my website. While Andrew has dragged things out and made his cash flow problems mine, I know that my artwork sold.
Some appreciative, yet unsuspecting customer is enjoying my one-of-a-kind pieces for which the artist was never paid. Or my work could have been sold, stuck in some storage box somewhere, or melted down for the metal and the stones cut out. The thought of all those hours of my life (that went into those pieces that are gone) haunts me and remains in the back of my head each time I work at my bench. They were not merely cheap imports that I wholesale; my vision and my passion are bound up in them wherever they may have gone.
"Stardust on My Sleeve"
Russian Filigree Hinged Cuff Bracelet
22K Gold, Fine & Sterling Silver,
2-3/4” long x 2” wide x 1/2" high
(Quotations around title indicate that
it is taken from song lyrics)
© Victoria Lansford 2001
Both Jen and I relied on having contracts to protect us. From a legal standpoint, they do, but that doesn't mean that they don't require enforcement. Since Andrew Zaruba's repeated promises of payments by specific dates have not been fulfilled, I have filed suit against him and Zaruba & Zaruba. I'm in Georgia but will file in the gallery's state, Maryland, which may mean that I and/or my lawyer will have to go there if the suit goes to trial. Suing Twist of My Wrist is trickier since the owners have disappeared, but I haven't entirely given up. I keep the problem in perspective and will balance the amount of energy I put into it with doing what I love, creating more art. Still, I have a responsibility to pursue these issues for myself, my family, who depend on me, and my community of artists. Stay tuned for more updates on ASK Harriete ....as this case develops.
FROM THE PEN OF HARRIETE:
I asked Victoria to tell us lessons she has learned and how to prevent this situation from happening to any other artists and craftspersons.
Next week she is going to offer us practical steps to implement if a good gallery has gone bad.
This post was updated on January 18, 2022.