Posted by panchmaster from pool0336.cvx20-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net (22.214.171.124) on Thursday, October 17, 2002 at 12:22PM :
Nice little guy. Truth challenged though. I know he's put his honesty to work for the Assyrian Nation...and he's working it all the time. He's the kind of guy who will always tell the truth when it doesn't matter...then you'll be impressed enough to figure he tells the truth when it does. I was at least.
He always played it close to the chest...you'd ask him a direct question like..."you think you'll run for the presidency of the Federation"...and he'd say..."I don't know". They told me no hotel would give them a convention in Detroit, when they had one all along...sometimes I think I was supposed to relay these messages to Jackie. I understand...the stakes are high for whoever emerges as the leader of Assyria...why ruin your record by starting out honest?
Now here's a curious example. When Jackie flew back to Detroit for meetings of the Federation executive council...the one she said she should take me to...she told me later that she waited at the airport for two hours for Atour to pick her up before leaving in a taxi with a "Black" man. Now why that bit of information is important for me to know...I can't imagine, except that she said the Black man was very "taken" by her. According to her, lamposts and mail boxes also take notice of her.
Anyway she regales me with comments about what an idiot this Atour is...how unreliable, incompetant...she was always doing that...her way of isolating you from others so you'll get all your news from her.
When I fly back to Detroit for the CARE art show and visit with Atour and Janey...I just have to ask Atour if it was true that he never showed up at the airport...or was over two hours late. Both he and Janey are stunned...Janey tells me Atour called her from the airport wondering where Jackie had gone to...that he was standing right there at the gate waiting for her plane.
On this one I would tend to believe Atour because he is conscientous...engineers are like that. If he was late at all...it wouldn't have been by over two hours.
I never bothered to confront Jackie with this discrepancy...just noted it down, as I noticed many such attempts by these people to build themselves up and shoot others down. What a silly thing to get in a huff over...but why the lying? Someone wasn't telling the truth...but who?
Then there is the welded sculpture caper. I changed the design on the model of Hammurabi...made it easier to handle and ship. The first several had the king and chair cast from one mold, in one piece. When cast in bronze this would be set down on the bronze base...not welded, in case people wanted to move the piece or just lift it out of the box...bronze is heavy.
In the new version, the throne was cast separately as was the king's body. Now there were three pieces...you put the throne on the base, then seated the king on his throne...made it easier to move and handle and ship...but you wouldn't see the difference.
The first three went out to Atour's house for them to hand out to the buyers at some function...excite the crowd and what not. During a phone conversation, after he'd received the sculptures, he said he had a problem with my new design...I never did tell him what I thought of his Taurus kit falling apart in the driveway...but I was raised not to meddle with what I don't know anything about...something our leaders never learned.
Atour said the sculpture looked ugly because the back of the king was "hollow"...meaning the body was cast hollow, not solid.,.so that there was an empty space naturally at his back...this didn't show when you put his back against the throne...only if you moved the piece around, and even then, you didn't have to FOCUS on it. I replied that any sculpture you look at upside down...is going to appear hollow...or unfinished, that this was not the way most people contemplated artwork of this sort.
He said it didn't look good and he'd be happy to get the three of them welded at Ford where they had really good technicians...like they should have welded the Explorer to the showroom floor. I said we had expert welders at the foundry too...that I'd made that change consciously, that it didn't affect the appearance of the piece at all...and as all the others would be cast this same way...not to weld anything. And I have to say Janey agreed with me...told him so.
Naturally I was perturbed to see he'd gone ahead and done it anyway...when I went to Detroit. So...what do I do? Throw a fit and stomp out of the house to prove how angry I am? What about the monument then? Do I let my pique get the best of the situation and let this guy, as Nimrod before him, be the reason the monument doesn't get made? What's the priority...I knew going into these projects that I was dealing with functional illiterates and the culturally challenged. Was it their fault they were true to form? Still...a little respect and consideration for my wishes...where my own design is concerned would be nice. If I said nothing and let it slide, wouldn't it just be proof that it really didn't matter what you did with my work...I mean what could come next...and if I didn't protest now, wasn't I emboldening the little twerp to do it again...and to tell others it was open season on my sculpture..."he doesn't care"?
I didn't say anything, except to remind him that I had asked him not to do it...but would let it go...mistake.
And I would have kept quiet about it too, if he hadn't pulled his "Stupid President" trick at the convention...backing Jackie up just because she was pissed at me...I had done nothing to anyone at the Federation...just insisted that I had a right to come to that convention because I had been working with Jackie to do so...besides it was moot because they allowed me to come...and then handed me the contract the last night forcing me out because I wouldn't agree to not sell sculpture...to not raise money for the Hammurabi among other things.
In the conversation between Atour, Alladin and my wife and I...I asked Atour about the other artists being allowed to sell all along...even though they had been forced to sign the same contract...which they all received days before the convention. Had I known their rules before I wouldn't have bothered coming...not if I wasn't wanted that badly...but this was my one chance each year to meet my audience and potential customers...and raise funds for the Hammurabi which he and Janey had been also working on...why was he doing this?
It was obvious I'd caught him off guard...and then he shot back that the others had agreed to kick back a percentage to the Federation. Well then why not give me the same option...why not trat us equally? He replied that he wasn't going to repeat himself..."just sign or get out". Before getting out I asked three of the artists in their area if they had signed the same contract I had just been offered. They admitted they had and also said no one was enforcing it...okay...but how come they came with price all ready and prepared? If they had received their contracts in time to sign and mail them back, then they already knew before coming that they would be allowed to sell sculpture. Or if not before coming...just when did they figure out it would be okay to sell...when did they make up the price tags and affix them to their work???
I also asked them about the kick-back thing. To a man they said they'd never heard of such a thing and wouldn't have come if it was expected of them. As a sidebar it's interesting to note that at this year's convention there were no such limitations...no ban on selling, no kick back nonsense...as there hadn't been before San Jose...this was all cooked up to single me out...and why? Because Jackie was miffed. Who is the prima donna?
It was after the convention...after I could see the same dreary future awaiting the Hammurabi...years of work with abuse all the way only to be stopped at the end of it all and have another monument sit in storage. And there was no question I was going to sign any contract with people who couldn't honor their own anyway...as in the letter I had promising me a room at Chicago to display in...a letter revoked on the spot by the local thugs who said they didn't have to honor it because it wasn't, "from God".
I sure as hell was not going to agree to turn my monument over to Atour...a man who already showed he felt competant and empowered to weld my sculptures.
When it became obvious that the Hammurabi wasn't going anywhere...even though Janey now says I should have been patient, for what I don't know...I decided to tell the story about the welded sculpture and sue the rat bastard for it.
That's when Janey got really pissed...was shocked that I would do ANYTHING to risk Atour's job with the white man...you know, the guy we're supposed to have our souls validated by before we can expect any respect in the world, or from our own people...like he thinks HE earned...and every tax accountant and engineers of ours think he earned when he finally buys that German car and gets a "serious" job...also from the white man. How dare I???
That's when they change their story...like any ten year old caught and fearing punishment. They say now that it didn't happen at Ford at all...that a neighbor welded the sculptures in their garage...that he dragged his wedling equipment over to their garage and did the deed there. The welds alone would show a pretty sophisticated welding machine...the kind they have at Ford, but I doubt your average garage owner has laying around. Atour bragged about how their welders could spot-weld the piece from the inside without ruining the patina. That may well be, but who is liable one day if the weld breaks as someone is moving the piece and gets injured? A spot weld on one kind of metal may suffice...on bronze it's a different story. It isn't like art welders are flunkies from Detroit...welding bronze the right way is a special skill...it isn't just any old welding a neighbor can do. Besides, my original design wasn't welded to begin with...the figure of the king was CAST on his throne...it was one piece...not two welded together.
But more than that even is the question of respecting a professionals right to the integrity of his or her design. My express wishes were ignored...as if it was just a whim of mine, the sculptor...a whim easily supplanted by a whim of the auto engineer. Why would anyone respect the integrity in any of my work after that...why can't the next guy decide how to "improve" my work...or change it as he sees fit? This is JUST the kind of lack of respect for our own artists that permeates this community...that drives out our real ones because they would never stand for this sort of treatment...hell you CAN'T if you want to be taken seriously anywhere else...and why we have only rank amateurs remaining...just the kind of people these also rank amateur "leaders" of ours prefer to deal with.
So...let's give Atour his due...he is a little worried at what his Boss will say...how it looks. I mean at the very time Ford is on the carpet for its killer cars...here's a senior supervisor taking on sculpture design as well? Why don't we each stick to what we know best. What was also cute was that Janey said later that I made the king and throne separate because I wanted to 'save the money on welding"...to get rich on of course. In the original design there WAS no need to wled...they were one piece. The idea that I only insisted the pieces not be welded, after Atour gave me his "excellent" reason...was because I wanted to "save money" is also silly. He said he'd have the work done at Ford...I wasn't going to pay anyway...and as far as the next pieces...if I had agreed with him, they too would have been cast as one...no need to weld them together later on. But that wasn't the issue...I didn't charge them for the new molds I had to make when one of their "experts" said I had to change a design element. This whole..."crook" busines...and the accusations that we are all out to "make money"...that I wanted to respect my own design because I didn't want to, "spend money" to weld it...this whole money thing among us just shows how backward we are...how much we think the making of money makes the person.
As far as the neighbor or Ford goes...I don't really care who did the welding...I want to sue them for damages too, whoever did it. Whenever anyone brings a piece of sculpture to a foundry for casting or welding...the foundry HAS to know who owns the piece. It is a crime for them to reproduce a piece that isn't signed...or doesn't have some indication that the person who brings it in has papers to prove ownersip. The person who welded these three sculptures, had no business doing so...especially as Atour didn't own any of them. Neither Atour nor the "neighbor" were authorized by me to weld the pieces...neither did those owning them authorize the work. I want the person's name, either the neighbor or the technician at Ford...and at trial they'll have to tell me.
But it didn't end there...when I wrote on this thingie that Atour didn't own the pieces and had no right to vandalize them...that's what he did...Janey fired back that he had permission from one of the owners...that may grow by the time of the trial to all three of the owners. That is one point...one lie. The other is who actually did the welding...Ford or a neighbor. And of course it hinges on how willing Atour is to tell the truth...when it counts.
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