I'm trying to deal with the fact that one of my pieces was broken during a recent show in Boston. Here is what my box actually looks like....
From the inside, one of the scrolls has been knocked loose and some of the little bee-bodies are coming out. The inside is easy...I can just glue the scroll back in. The bee-bodies? I'm the only one who will know that they're missing...still, it does matter to me that they're gone.
All told, my box is not in a million tiny splinters...I mean, there it is -it still exists. But it is DEFINITELY, and without a doubt, broken. When I sent it, it was perfect. I don't send them out unless they are perfect. You can clearly see in the first picture where my box hit the floor. The paint is broken, some of it is missing, and the pigment in the acrylic skin is also broken off. I haven't peeled anything off yet to see how the joint is. I don't really wanna know. The other corner is rounded (so it must also have taken some impact) and a small scuff took the pigment off the photo. In the third photo --it was hard to get a picture of, but the surface/varnish scratched and pocked. And the hinges are looser than they formerly were, and the box is dented.
If you look at any of my boxes it looks like the paint on the edges is separate from the photo-skin, but in fact everything on either side is all one, smooth thing. So in order to make this as it originally was, I would have to sand off the entire back side of the box and re-do it. and I won't do that. Because the integrity of the box isn't there...it's looser, and not being sure of the future of the joint on the bottom left, it just makes more sense for me to try to recreate a new one with a new box that is solid and un-banged-up.
I'm still upset about it as this is my favorite thing I've ever made.
So I get home from work on Friday night. and find an email in my box from the gallery owner saying that her insurance company wants to talk to me on the PHONE. Because it's "oddly quicker" (gallery person's words) than via email.
here is my reply:
Hi ________, It doesn't make sense that they want to speak with me over the phone when all of my information would be electronically generated. Additionally, email leaves a communication trail that phone calls don't. And insurance companies are well-oiled machines...skilled at managing the lowest possible payouts to people who file claims, whereas I have filed precisely one claim in my entire life, 36 years ago when I was 24 years old. So, no. This needs to happen via email, where I can see what is happening and give thoughtful replies that are not steered by an insurance company. Another thing is this...I don't actually think I should have to go through this. I applied for the show and listed the price of the box on my application. You accepted it, and other galleries and museum curators have juried that particular box into shows at the same price. I have also shown other boxes and for all of them, I have set my prices carefully, after doing research, AND with the assistance of an experienced gallery owner. Here are a couple that are up on PhotoEye. http://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?Catalog=zg429 http://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=ZG474&i=&i2= If you would like, I will ask the gallerist who helped me set the prices if she will vouch for me/my work/our pricing decisions. But...I think this isn't right. I sent the box in good faith, and it was broken while on display there. I believe the person whose child broke the box should have paid for it. So that is where I am at right now. Thanks for understanding. smith
Why do I have to justify my prices to the insurance people AT ALL? I have this idea that what they want to do is get me on the phone and ask me questions such as this:
How much does the paint that is actually on there cost? $5.00? oh, ok...so + $5 now how much did you spend on that bee hive? nothing? ok, so that is + $0. And they will somehow wind up justifying sending me a check for $100 because that is the "value" of the individual materials that went into crafting the thing.
But what about all the other stuff that goes into all artists' creations? What about the LIFETIME I've spent becoming the best at what I do? What about the $ I've spent over the years just to get here? on schooling, on supplies, on experimenting so that I could actually get something that looks like this? What about just the time it took to make this? How do I quantify that? What about the value that exists because the sum of the parts is greater than the individual bits that went into making it? What about the artistry? What about the fact that this box, and all my boxes are containers of meaning. That they are important things, that I cannot just let this roll off like so much water off a duck's back?
I'm tired. Like sick and tired of taking all the financial hits. WE ARTISTS pay for EVERYTHING. We pay and pay and pay. I've accepted that, to a certain extent. That the power is lop-sided for most of us...that's just how it is. But the very least galleries can do is not damage the work. They charge us for applying, they have us pay for shipping to AND FROM the gallery and we provide them with free cool-as-shit inventory for a month. But I am NOT paying for it when they break my things. Nope. Not. Happening.
If this isn't resolved in a fair way I am taking it public, will post it on Facebook, will say who the gallery is, everything. Because no. I can't take it anymore.