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A cautionary tale

Last weekend I went for a walk and passed a driveway with a sign saying art, antiques, etc were for sale so I thought I'd have a look. Saturday is a good day for Garage Sales!

Teacups, model trains, pedal organ, ... I said hello to the chap and we chatted. I was carrying a piece of paperbark which I'd picked up because I've just made an illustration of a character dressed in that very material, he commented on it, and the subjects of art and illustrations then came up. He told me that he and his wife have a gallery and in fact have had several galleries, and that he is an illustrator too. When I asked about their gallery he said they have one in the city and organise artwork to be hung at a major hotel in Sydney.

I said that I'd probably be coming to see them one day because I paint and have planned to chat to several hotels about my work.

After yarning with his wife who was lovely to chat with, we exchanged details; I offered her a post card with mine on them (I always carry a batch with me for when folk ask me what kind of painting I do) and when I suggested she could keep as many as she liked, she asked if she could take them all to try them out. Sure, I said, never having had anybody take the lot before, but happy for them to see how people in their gallery respond to my work.

We arranged that she would ring me in a day or two to book in a time for them to come over to my place to look at my paintings in the flesh. Exciting!

So the next day I Googled them to see what their gallery looks like and to find out exactly where it is.

Up popped headline after headline about artists who had been ripped off by them, a NSW Supreme Court case where a chap owed $71,000 sued them and they were closed down - they have had several galleries close leaving artists in the lurch for over $118,000.00 at one stage - then have re-opened elsewhere - several papers ran articles about a large number of artists who had never been given their portion of sales or had never been given back the artworks themselves and whose phone calls, letters, emails, and even court orders where ignored!!!!

Wow!!!!

I am glad to move through life trusting and enjoying people, but am also grateful we have the facility to discover unwise business partners thanks to the efforts of those who have suffered at their hands and have tried to do something about it, journalists who report on them, and Google where the information is available.

Phew!!!!!!