My name is Brad Rigney, I am an illustrator, some of you may be familiar with my art and also with my tutorial entitled "A Hostile Takeover" that Conceptart.org produced, distributed and later sold through Conceptart.org and The Art Department (TAD).
First of all I want to thank those of you who have purchased my tutorial through legitimate means. Your support has been incredible, myself and my family can't thank you enough, the notes and letters I have received from many of you in regards to the tutorial have honestly been touching and inspirational - it's been an experience unlike anything I expected to find in this business.
It is that very experience which has prompted me to come forward and lay my cards on the table and finally expose what has been transpiring behind the facade that is being presented to you by these institutions, because you deserve to know the truth for your own financial and intellectual protection.
I've waited to come forward about it because I've wanted my motives to be free of the need for revenge or for retribution, because this is about arming you with information that you can use to protect yourselves.
But let's make no mistake, I'm still angry about it; anyone gets angry when they have money they've earned stolen from them and their family.
Trust me on this, there are few things more maddening than telling your kids that they'll have to go without the little things in between paychecks, while knowing that someone else ripped off your money.
The checks I did get were outrageously late and I had to fight tooth and nail to get them.
Imagine having to threaten your boss with a lawsuit just to get your paycheck.
Now imagine having to do that for every paycheck while previous paychecks were still months and months late.
Then imagine that the checks stop coming entirely, yet your boss still prospers from your labor and then lectures you on civility and tone.
Before work got steady this was a painful reality for me and I'll be perfectly honest with you, it ate me alive.
However, once you move past all that and find out you aren't the only one it's happened to and that it could happen to someone else, your motivation changes to something else entirely.
I realize that by doing this I'm kissing any hope of getting the money that's been stolen from me returned.
If that is what has to happen to ensure that someone else doesn't get victimized by these individuals and institutions, then I'll gladly eat it.
This consumer warning is offered out of my sincere concern for those of you who may be considering entering into a contractual agreement, investing your capitol or livelihood or even attending classes or events involving/hosted by either Conceptart.Org or TAD.
You do so at your own financial peril for they have stolen the royalties that they agreed to pay me via contractual agreement, for going on two years now.
I have the documentation and witnesses to prove it.
Strangely and sadly, my attempts to inform Jason Manley directly that TAD's financial department was refusing to pay me or even return my emails were met with contempt and condescending lectures.
At the time I couldn't understand it; I thought that he would have been keenly interested to know that something so damaging was happening in his own company; a company that prides itself on enlightening and educating artists.
After all, the financial department at TAD, his personal legal council, co-founder of TAD and other faculty had all been copied into the conversation by Mr Manley himself, it was truly baffling.
Oddly enough, after marshaling all of these people to his side, not one of them protested or offered to rectify the situation.
To add insult to injury, mention of legal intervention on behalf of myself to get my money was mocked and ridiculed by Mr. Manley, after he proclaimed that I would not be taking legal action on my own behalf because "the amount" wasn't enough to merit any legal action and that the subject was now closed for discussion.
So there's an "amount" of my money that is willfully not being sent to me and won't be discussed any further? How convenient!
Of course having every single email detailing exactly who at these institutions knew what and when - saved and backed up offline - is extremely handy when it comes to recalling stuff like this; I highly recommend it.
So lets recap the logic here:
This "amount" of my money isn't enough to merit legal action, but also isn't enough to simply be paid out and instead gets to be spent by someone else.
I really need to tell the companies that I currently contract with that they have the additional option of deciding how much of my money I am actually worthy of receiving, after they have already agreed to pay it!
They'll be very interested to know they have this option, don't you think?
I know for a fact that I am not the only tutorial artist who has been disrespected and ripped off in this manner by Conceptart.Org and The Art Department.
Many of these tutorials have been scrubbed off the Internet or re branded under the name Massive DvD, but are no longer available for purchase.
I know who many of you are, I will not identify you.
Know, however, that you can use this post as an open invitation to come forward, you have nothing to be afraid of; you can speak out in safety.
Truth is not defamation.
Feel free to contact me privately too, if you want.
For what it's worth: I won't be holding it against any of you if you decide to just stay out of it entirely; believe me, I understand.
This post was not written as a call to arms, it was written to warn anyone who loves this business or is about to fall in love with it; to inform you as consumers that Conceptart.Org does not honor their contracts and that The Art Department(TAD) is stealing royalties, both of which I can prove and neither of which was refuted when I openly accused them.
Again, all documented.
Doubtless I'll be making myself a target and there will be sycophants who will come to the defense of these individuals and those behind the scenes at the institutions themselves. They will possibly attempt to use this an opportunity to discredit me, or use phony legal jargon to silence those who speak up and to gin up interest to promote themselves; we've all seen this before and I've personally been told it's an intentional tactic by the very people who've done it before; so know what it is when you see it.
Personally I don't have the luxury of free-time to deal with keyboard commando's, I'm too busy drawing; I barely had the time to cobble this together as it was, so consider the above paragraph as my canned response to you if you came here to troll.
Be careful out there y'all, this is a great business but don't believe for a minute that there aren't bitter, cynical pretenders out there looking to exploit eager souls who are dying to prove themselves; because it happened to me.
Hopefully my experience will be of some use to you, because that's pretty much the only good that can come out of this now; I call it making lemonade when life hands you lemons.
Find people you can trust in this business, because there are some wonderful people in it.
If you're starting out do some of these free sketch groups like crimson daggers and find people who will give you those painfully honest critiques; people who share the same passion as yourself to be the best they can be and to reach for the excellence that our heroes grasped.
You don't need institutions or degrees, just the willingness to suffer for your craft and rugged individualism.
I wish you all the very best in your art careers, be safe and take care.
PS: New art on the way soon
Listening to: Iron Fist by Motorhead
Reading: Art Director Notes