Tony Harris Destroys Art Rather Than Give it to Customer Who Wants a Refund (UPDATE)

Comic book fan Seth Talley contacted Bleeding Cool with a problem. He told me that he had three art commissions outstanding from comic book creator Tony Harris, of War Heroes, Ex Machina, Starman, Chin Music and Roundeye, totalling $1200 over seven years, as well as funding for Tony Harris’ Roundeye on Kickstarter and had been trying to get a refund.

Seth told me that Tony’s agent had told him he hadn’t worked on them and to deal with Tony directly regarding refunds but that Tony hadn’t replied to him in some time. I approached Tony Harris directly who initially offered no comment, but then sent back a longer reply, with images ostensibly of a commission for Seth. He wrote,

Well I had been working on this as well as others for a while but since he doesn’t want it. I’ll destroy it. And I have spoken with him repeatedly. His money goes back and I’ll destroy the painting.

I mentioned that I was sure someone else would love it, to be told,

Not gonna happen. It’s ruined now. And Seth is responsible

It seemed that he contacted Seth too, who told me,

When I reached out to you that was the first response I had gotten from Tony that wasn’t in person for years. And honestly his reaction was right around what I expected it to be. That being said I wanted to let you know that as of right now… I have not been refunded. After I got in touch with you… Tony replied to an email I had sent him on the 26th showing immense displeasure and stating that he would be refunding me. I then had a secondary email from him asking for a name on Cash App. As soon as I saw the messages, I created a cash app account and sent him my name. After that I received a response letting me know in no uncertain terms that he would prefer me burning the art of his I owned than to have me own it. I did not reply. I waited for two days afterward to see if he would be sending the refund. I received no notice of such and then I sent an email on Tuesday… laying out the amounts owed 1200 for the commissions and 400 for the Kickstarter, so that I would fulfill his wish of not owning any of his art, and I gave him the cash app id again and asked when could I expect the refund. I received no response so I wanted to send a message to you again to see if you could help me.

I know at one point Tony sent you an email with a portrait of the character Roundeye stating that he had been working on that for me, he forwarded me the same email where he detailed that if I get my money back he would burn the piece… That was a piece to be for the series Roundeye and he stated as such on Twitter and Instagram when he originally worked on the piece….

…further I know that as of January he has a flame tattoo on his right hand that would be visable in the progress shots if he had been working on it for me. I do not want to cause that much trouble. It has been 7-8 years and I just would like my money back.

But checking in with Seth a few weeks later, this had not yet happened. I understand Seth is not alone in this. Worth restating when it comes to commissioning artwork from major artists, to check with others regarding your expectations of timeliness..

UPDATE: After no update for weeks, without hours of this article running, Seth received the full $1200 refund from Tony for his original commissions. 

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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