It’s natural to want to get your significant other a memorable gift on their birthday as a surprise. While flowers and other presents can be amazing, nothing says “romance” like a hand-drawn portrait. However, sometimes, some people have expectations that far outweigh their reality. Such was the case with this unfortunate incident.
Making the rounds on Reddit, the story goes that a Malaysian man was planning on getting a hand-drawn portrait to surprise his girlfriend on her birthday. So, he decided to approach Kazel Lim, a pretty popular local artist based in KL. Things did not go too well.
In a Reddit thread posted by user u/mosquito_lady, screenshots of the conversation between the man and the artist were shared online.
(It’s worth noting that the incident actually happened two months ago, but the full conversation was only released on Kazel’s Instagram account yesterday)
How much now?!
The conversation starts off normal enough with the would-be customer explaining his situation. He wanted to give his girlfriend a hand-drawn portrait of a previous trip they took together. When asked for a photo to reference, the man asked Kazel to pick from his Facebook account, remarking that it was a chore to pick himself. (Erm…what?)
The man then enquired about the size and pricing. At this point, Kazel replies that the most common sizes are A4 or A5 but the man insists on getting a “large one”. When told that the price will be higher (obviously because it takes more time and materials), the man insists on a large portrait and demands (quite rudely, I might add) that the portrait be completed the next day. He then says he has no issues paying for it.
This is when things go south very quickly. When asked about his budget, the man says he is willing to pay…wait for it…RM20 for the whole project! For reference, I did a quick Google search and found out that a good quality photo frame (the ones suitable for gifts) costs an average of RM8 to RM10 on Shopee!
You get what you pay for
Obviously bewildered, Kazel politely declines the job but that seemed to infuriate the man. He berates Kazel for wasting his time (it was the other way around in my opinion) and insists she completes the project.
When Kazel explained that RM20 was not a fair reflection of her work, the man goes into full passive-aggressive mode by saying Kazel should be grateful she still has a job during these tough times (ugh!) and that he will continue to spam her unless she draws the portrait he wants.
In what can only be described as a queen-level move, Kazel completes his “portrait”. She sends him a hastily drawn stick-figure pencil sketch and tells the man he can have this for free. She then wishes his girlfriend a happy birthday and ends the conversation like a boss!
To say that Reddit users are in support of Kazel is an understatement. Most of the commenters in the thread criticised the man for his skewed sense of entitlement and gross disrespect for Kazel’s work.
Unfortunately, this kind of occurrence is far too common in Malaysia’s art world. Hopefully, people in future will understand the time, effort, passion, and investment that goes into every commissioned portrait. Let’s treat our artists with respect, people!
However, do check out Kazel’s artwork on her Instagram page. I took a quick look and I have to say they all look incredible. Definitely worth WAY more than RM20!
Also, guys, let this be a reminder to never leave it to the last minute to find a present. Especially if it’s for something important like your partner’s birthday!