Tracy Gardner

I live in western Canada, and love to spend my free time painting. I love my country and the people in it, as I have discovered the history and the beauty of the First Nations people of North America. I have become very passionate about my work over the years, as I found it a great way to communicate and show others the beauty that I see all around me.

I work mainly in oils, and spend months on each piece of artwork, trying to capture the beauty that I see around me. I want to share my work with as many people as I can, so I started using the Internet as a way to get more exposure. The intranet is a wonderful tool and people right across the globe have viewed my work. What a wonderful feeling it is to receive a comment from someone half way around the world! Since it takes me so long to paint a picture, I decided that I would like to start getting my works published as limited edition prints, and get them into more galleries.

I was in touch with a man in the western United States, who wanted to make prints of my paintings. In September, of 2000, I sent him some transparencies, which I had made, so that he could do just that. Time went on, and I didn’t get my transparencies back. Then, in June of 2001, I was put in touch with a Mr. Evan Carter, who claimed to be a Lawyer in Florida. He gave me some "advice", and told me that because I did not have a signed contract, I legally gave my transparencies away, and there was nothing I could do. Chalk one up to experience, I lost the Transparencies, but, I still had my original paintings; an expensive lesson learned. Mr. Carter stated to me over the phone, that he had several partners, and they owned three galleries. One was in Miami where he lived, one in New York, where he spent a week of each month, and the other in Brussels. He said good luck and hung up the phone. A little over an hour later, he contacted me with the expressed interest of representing me, and he asked that I allow him to put my work on his site. He said that he looked at my web site, and called a meeting with his partners. I couldn’t believe that a man with his power would be so interested in my paintings! He asked which images he could use, and I told him that he could use the ones that I had transparencies of, but my transparencies, were, of course gone. He said that since he was a lawyer, he knew of another lawyer who owed him a favor, and he happened to live in California. He would get my transparencies back, and charge the man if necessary, with punitive and compensatory damages; and he wanted them himself to eventually make prints of my work. Within a week, my transparencies were returned to me. Needless to say, after waiting over eight months, Mr. Carter seemed to get them back with ease.

Shortly after, Mr. Carter began e-mailing me with talk about setting up a west coast exhibit, and getting an exclusive contract to me. Naturally, I was thrilled, my break had finally come, all of my hard work and diligence; my dream of making a living on what I love to do, was coming true. Or was it?

September soon rolled around and the day that changed the world came roaring in. No one could imagine the images that were everywhere; the buildings on fire, people actually jumping to their deaths; and when the twin towers collapsed, it was just so unfathomable that people could do this to one another. How can people treat others with such disregard and distain? Where is the love and compassion- we are all humans with the same feelings and emotions. Then, on the Evan’s Wall Gallery web site, there was a posting of his brother’s death in New York. I, like many other artists, reached out to our fellow human to offer love and support. Mr. Carter told me that he had lost a brother, a partner and his New York Gallery in the attacks. How horrible, I couldn’t imagine his loss. But, Mr. Carter kept working, and founded a charity, called the "Evan Carter Foundation", and told me that they "were making incredible strides at assisting the victims of this historical tragedy". So, wanting to contribute and assist in a way that I could, I offered up a painting. I chose ‘Renewing the Spirit’ because the painting is of a native dancer, and is about coming through incredible loss and suffering. In November, I sent the painting to Mr. Carter, who assured me that my painting would stand as a momentum for the love and compassion for fellow humans. Then, after he received it, he wanted to send me a contract, and invited me to put some prints into his new gallery, the Parra-Carter Gallery, in Broeksted, Germany. I was estatic, but reminded Mr. Carter that I had no prints of my work, that he was to get my transparencies after an agreement was signed. He sent me a draft of the contract entitled "Gallery/Dealer as Publisher".

After looking over the contract and making revisions, Mr. Carter and I came to an agreement. It was to be a two-year agreement, and I would get a monthly salary. I was to provide ten paintings a year for the two years, and he would make prints, of which I would get a percentage of the sales, and also a percentage of the originals, after the gallery costs and my salary were deducted. I was happy, and he told me that he had buyers for at least three of my paintings already, at approximately 12,000.00 US each. My salary was almost paid for the first year, and he didn’t even have the paintings yet!

It was just after Christmas, and Mr. Carter seemed to be in a rush as he said that he was going to Germany for the opening of his new gallery. I needed to get my paintings shipped as quickly as I could, and we needed to move forward as time was getting away on us, and they were planning their shows and brochures for the year. I said that I needed a signed contract, and my paintings were ready to go as soon as I received the agreement in writing. He sent it to me via ground mail. I shipped my paintings to him on the 2nd of January 2002 and sent him a signed copy of the contract with my signature on it.

A couple of weeks later, I received e-mail from Mr. Evan Carter saying that he had not received my contract, and it was imperative that I send it to him. This time, he needed three copies. I sent him three copies, and checked the shipping waybills that I had kept. There was his signature accepting the first contract that I had sent him. Then, two days later, on January 19th, I received e-mail from a Mr. Parker Carter, who said that Evan was in Barcelona acquiring a new gallery, and he was taking care of all the affairs while Evan was away. He then proceeded to tell me that they would not pay me a salary, and they were going to install my paintings on a consignment basis, or ship them back. I wrote back right away and told him that I would not agree to this new term, and to ship them back. He informed me that he would only ship back five, as ‘Renewing the Spirit’ was a "gift" for Evan, and Evan could be reached in Paris if I needed to call him! I was Horrified- and in the span of three hours, Evan was in a whole new country.

The e-mails kept coming. First they took me off the site and informed me that they were not answering any queries concerning me or my works, -my paintings were going to be shipped, then they were not, then they were again. E-mails which said things like "If I had 30,000.00 floating around in shippers hands, I would be on top of it, but then again that is just me…" "Your shipment will be out on…". I then received an e-mail from this Parker Carter saying that they had just received a long awaited e-mail from a gallery in Texas who wanted to buy my works in their entirety, but if I still wanted my paintings back, they would ship them to me pre-paid. I asked that either Parker or Evan call me on the phone, but both were out of the office. So I called the "interested" gallery in Texas, and spoke with the owner personally, and he said that he had never heard of the Evan’s Wall Gallery or me. I then e-mailed back and told them to ship my paintings back.

They finally shipped five of the paintings to me, and at that same time I had another artist inquire as to how I was being treated by the Evan’s Wall Gallery. I wrote and told him of my experience, and immedietly was threatened with a lawsuit. I received several e-mails from a Mr. Marc Sutherland, (sometimes spelled Mark) claiming to be their attorney and General council for their firm, based out of New York. He used a Hotmail Account. He said that he was suing me for slander, and that he was going to file first thing, 9:00am in the morning. I had several of these e-mails sent to me over the next week, but I did not respond. I went and seen an attorney. I got some legal advice, and proceeded to do some investigating of my own. Leaning on Pat and Dan from Artspace, we quickly discovered that Evan is not a lawyer, and so a complaint was filed with the Florida Bar Association. The investigator with the Florida Bar also urged me to send a complaint to the Miami Dade County District Attorney’s Office,

1350 North West, 12 Ave

Miami, Florida. 33136

They handle the criminal prosecution there.

Then, out of the blue, on June7th, Evan called Pat and told her husband that he would be in Winnipeg not far from where they live the following day, and hung up the phone. So, Dan e-mailed Evan and told him to bring my painting. Evan e-mailed Pat and Dan and told them that he would leave the painting with the Florida Bar in the morning, if they call her and have the charges against him dropped. The e-mail was forwarded to the Bar.

I have been in touch with other authorities regarding this matter, and so have other artists. I shipped my paintings to an address in Miami Beach, Florida, and according to the investigator, the location of the Gallery that Evan says he has, does not exist there. He is not, nor has ever been a tenant at #800 Brickell Ave Miami, Florida. There is no evidence of a gallery belonging to him in New York either. Many artists who submitted 50.00 US. to the "International Art Exposition 2002" to be juried into the competition that he advertised to be held in the Parran and Rosa Lee Rooms at the Evan’s Wall Gallery in New York City, from June 1st to July 31st, 2002, may be out of luck, as no one I’ve talked to can find this gallery.

As for my painting? Two weeks ago, Mr. Carter stated in e-mail that he would be willing to give it back; ship it to me pre-paid, if the lawsuit against him were dropped. It certainly did not go to charity to assist the victims of September 11th!