Photo of David Scheve found on his public Facebook profile
I’ve never had to write something like this before because I’ve never had a consumer experience quite as awful as this. I hope to prevent others from suffering what I had to go through with animation art retailer The Deep Archives and its owner David Scheve.
The story begins last August when I stumbled upon this piece on their website:
It was listed in the NY animation category, but it is obviously a Tom Oreb model sheet for an Ipana Toothpaste commercial produced in Disney’s short-lived TV commercial unit. I’m familiar with the disreputable tactics of some animation art dealers who pass off copies as original art so I sent The Deep Archives an email asking point-blank:
It says original art so is it correct that it is not a photostat? Can you please let me know what media the piece was made with? Is the grey background the color of the paper or is it paint?
The response I got back was:
Thanks for the email.
The piece is original. The Grey is paint.
With that assurance, I Paypaled David Scheve the amount of $270, which was the price of the piece plus shipping. A couple of weeks later I received a package in the mail. With great anticipation and utmost carefulness, I opened the package. Now this should be the happy part of the story where I end up with an original piece of art by one of my favorite animation artists. Except for one small detail. The piece I received in the mail was a photostat.
I emailed him and told him I was shocked about how misleading he’d been. “There is not a single bit of paint in this entire piece,” I wrote. “It’s a copy of paint.” At first Scheve denied it outright and wrote back, “Amid, the piece is an original gouche (sic) painting. We don’t sell stats.” He finally relented and told me to send back the photostat for a full refund.
I sent it back to him via certified mail and he received it in mid-September 2009. It turns out that refunding my money–a not-insignificant sum of $270–wasn’t a priority for him. I let the oversight slide for a couple months, but in late-November I began calling and emailing him regularly to remind him that he owed me money. I even had to threaten a small claims suit if he didn’t return it by a certain date. The money finally arrived in January 2010.
Besides the obvious disappointment and anger about Scheve’s misrepresentation of the artwork, there are other things that bother me about the experience:
1.) As of this writing, over five months after he learned it was not an original piece of art, the piece is available for sale on The Deep Archives website in the “1950s/1960s NY” category. It is still labeled as “Original Animation Art” and the price remains unchanged. It saddens me to think that an inexperienced collector might fall prey to this listing and buy a fake piece of “original art.”
2.) Late last December, when I called David again asking him to refund my money, he screamed at me so violently and unexpectedly over the phone that it caused my ears to ring afterward. His unprofessionalism was such that after twenty seconds of conversation, all of it polite and courteous from my end, he yelled, “Amid, listen, I’m going to hang up on you in two seconds,” which he then proceeded to do.
3.) His lackadaisical attitude about refunding my money and how he stringed me along for months with his games. On September 25th he wrote, “Your refund will be processed and sent first thing MONDAY.” Not true. On November 28th he wrote, “I will be in on Monday, let me see what is going on.” He didn’t respond until I called him again. On December 8th he wrote, “I having (sic) trouble tracking down the initial payment paper work, can you tell me what day you sent it, so I can go back and refund it correctly.” So before he would return my money, months late mind you, he put the burden on me to provide his gallery with information. It went on and on like this.
Needless to say, I will never again be dealing with him, and I will urge everybody I know to exercise extreme caution should they choose to do business with him. There are plenty of reputable art dealers around. Unfortunately, it’s guys like David Scheve and his company The Deep Archives who continue to perpetuate the image of animation art dealers as slimy scumbags.
UPDATE 10:11am PT: One bit of good news. Since I posted the story today, the photostat of Ipana artwork is no longer listed as “Original Animation Art.” In fact, the listing has been removed entirely from their website.
UPDATE 1:44pm PT: David Scheve and his “friends” have been attempting to post inflammatory comments on the site for the past couple hours. One person, “Jaru Kempter,” who identified himself as a friend of David, has so far referred to me as “mad,” “bitchy,” and said, “It’s clear you’re a woman scorned.” It helps to know somebody’s gender before resorting to sexist remarks.
Scheve’s own comments have the audacity to pin the blame on me. He wrote, “As for AMID’s false claims; yes, he purchased a piece that turned out to be something OTHER than what it was thought to be. He was asked to return it for a full refund. He took forever to do so, which complicated the matter with paypal.”
For the record, I payed him via Paypal on August 14, 2009. I received the piece on August 22, 2009. When I sent it back, the post office attempted a certified mail delivery on September 11, 2009. It was less than a month from when I paid to the time the photostat was returned to his possession so it clearly did not take “forever to do so.” Scheve also claims that we are deleting positive comments from the site. That is most definitely not the case. The only ones we have deleted are the multiple insulting posts by the aforementioned “Jaru Kempter.”
UPDATE FEB. 10, 2:44pm PT: After this post yesterday, my lovely friend David Scheve put up a message on The Deep Archives website calling me a coward. He has since taken it down but I made a screengrab:
Below, in its entirety, is the post he wrote on Cartoon Brew which explains why he’s innocent and why I’m the real villain. The earlier update already breaks down the fallacies in his statement:
David from TheDeepArchives here and for the record we take what we do here at TheDeepArchives very seriously. As for AMID’s false claims; yes, he purchased a piece that turned out to be something OTHER than what it was thought to be. He was asked to return it for a full refund. He took forever to do so, which complicated the matter with paypal. As for Tom Warburton’s comments; I was INVITED at the last minute to the auction by an SPVA instructor. I was never given any such catalogue. The small staff here at TheDeepArchives doesn’t spend it’s time just acquiring new artwork. TheDeepArchives spends a great deal of time and effort promoting the Animator as an individual artist, rather than just a cog in the studio machine. The majority of the money raised in the gallery goes right back into the animation field in a variety of waysâ€¦. including restoration, preservation, museum exhibits, screening and new animated projects. We are probably the only gallery you’ll find that doesn’t pump those overpriced, mass produced limited edition animation “art” pieces into the market place. If Amid had wanted to write a serious piece to express his concerns he would have done just that, instead he used a COMICAL PICTURE he took of the internet to vent his misplace agressionâ€¦.I think his TRUE intention more than speaks for itself, and I find it dishearting how quick people are to jump on a onesided bandwagon. A number of people who’ve purchased from us AND read the blog; posted their favorable replies, called to say they found it odd how their more positive comments were removed.
UPDATE FEB. 12, 1:44pm PT: David Scheve sent our webhost, Webintellects, a DMCA Notification of Infringement about the photograph of him that we’re using at the top of the page. The image clearly falls under “fair use,” which is the doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as for commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching or scholarship. If you are a lawyer who can help Cartoon Brew keep this image on the site, please get in touch with us through the masthead at the top of this site. Below is the message we got from Scheve’s lawyers.
February 12, 2010
TDA TheDeepArchives, Inc.
WebIntellects registrant, CartoonBrew.com, has pirated and then published an image owned by David Scheve.
At this time we require immediate action taken for removal of the image from the WebIntellects server.
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing to inform you that your registrant, cartoonbrew.com, has pirated and published an image owned by David Scheve. I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above on the allegedly infringing webpages is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. At this time we require immediate removal of the image from the Webintellects server.
As pursuant to WebIntellects TOS and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), TheDeepArchives is fully within our right to inform WebIntellects of Copyright infringement against David Scheve.
You’ll find the image taken from Scheve being unlawfully used on the website “http://www.cartoonbrew.com/ideas-commentary/beware-the-deep-archives-and-david-scheve.html#comment-442234 is a self-portrait, naturally taken by Scheve. Mr. Scheve holds all rights to this image.
Within our legal right, we do recognize that the host server, WebIntellects, is also liable for any damages stemming from this infringement, or non-compliance for removal of said infringement.
Please proceed accordingly.
Under penalty of perjury: I am an authorized agent acting on behalf of Mr. Scheve. Under penalty of perjury consistent with United States Code Title 17, Section 512, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
cc. Jean Nicolosi, Esq.