Recently, some of my artwork came up "missing" from a place that I loaned a few pieces to. This time, it was no big deal really, and also kind of flattering in a weird way. And to be very honest, these particular art pieces were done quickly and with little effort in creating them. In fact, I would slightly cringe after seeing the art in the public space later on. But now, those paintings are nowhere to be found. After some unusual circumstances, some he-said-she said, and unanswered questions, it's pretty safe to say the paintings are long gone. This isn't the first time this has happened though.
A few years ago I loaned a production company a painting for a TV show on a major cable network. The painting, half of a two part series, was an older piece that I created about 10 years prior. The other painting in that series was sold in New York City, in 2011. The borrowed artwork was used to help decorate a house in a TV episode, just like many other home improvement/flip this house type shows out there. Once they finished production, I suddenly had trouble hunting down the artwork. Day after day, I spoke with different people involved to try and figure out when & how I could get the painting back. After weeks of trying to locate the art, and dealing with lots of bullshit, I gave up. Long story short, the art was "missing" and was most likely never going to be returned. I guess I could have filed a civil claim, but in reality I don't care enough or have the time to sue a company for a damn $600 piece of art. It really bummed me out though, since I had a longer history with this specific painting. It was framed nicely too, dammit.
Fast forward to 2015, a few days ago I happened to run across the TV episode on Netflix by chance. I quickly scanned through the episode to see if I could catch a glimpse of the painting. Sure enough, in one of the scenes the "missing" artwork appeared on my screen.
I guess the lessons I learned from all this are: 1.) I should be very careful about the projects I get involved in. And especially careful who/where/how I loan my work for display going forward. 2.) And if I'm truly not into it, its okay to pass on any opportunity. It's okay to say "nah, not interested, but thank you!" Otherwise these situations can get very awkward and problematic, obviously.