I hate to be so blunt, but seriously. I have tried to be nice and not talk about my awful past, not dwell there, not go there, but I can’t do it anymore. I had someone leave a nasty comment on my website recently and I decided it was time to put the ghosts to bed once and for all.
Paula Beck was the name I went by when I first started out as an artist at the young age of 21. I receive up to 5 emails a month asking questions about the art work I did under this name. This was the first nasty message. I sold MANY prints under this name. My estimate is about 28,000 prints.
Actually, my first husband did all the selling. As soon as he discovered he could sell my art, he would not do anything else. I pleaded with him repeatedly to get a job and support our young family. We had two kids and one more on the way at the time. (We were married when I was 16) He swore he could make a living for us by selling my art, so I didn’t think I had a choice in the matter. He did what he wanted to do, whether I liked it or not. After about 4 years of this, and other personal situations, I took my 3 boys, left him and we divorced in June 1995.
Almost two weeks after I left him, I received papers from the Arizona Attorney General implicating me in a case of fraud. After a long discussion on the phone with the Attorney General’s office, I found out that my ex had been going around under my business name (Paula Beck prints), taking orders AND money for mine and other artist’s work, and not delivering the art work. I convinced the Attorney General to remove my name from the case because I had NO knowledge of his dealings. He spent 5 days a week on the road selling art and came home long enough to restock and go back out. He never showed me receipts or invoices for sales made, but always had cash when he came home. I begged him repeatedly to keep track of sales and bring home receipts so I could keep records properly. He never would.
At that time, I decided it was time to visit all the shops that sold my art. At the time of my divorce I was aware of at least 200 shops. I personally visited and spoke with the people who had brought the fraud charges against us. I gave them all the information I had on him. As I made the rounds (all over AZ, CO and NM), I found several people that said he had ripped them off. As I found them, I gave them the prints they were owed. I had no way of knowing all the places he took money from, because he did his best to keep that information from me. Because of this, I lost tons of money on the stock I had put together to sell that I ended up giving to people for past orders not delivered. The other shops didn’t want to buy from me anymore. My business and my name were ruined and I had to abandon my dream of being an artist. I had to find a full time job to support my 3 young sons. I eventually finished college. It would be 6 years before I could go back to being an artist again.
It seems that the person who left me the nasty comment the other day was one of the people I never found. He lives in Tennessee. When I started selling my art, we lived in TN. It seems he was ripping people off from the very beginning. This nasty comment accused me of being a part of his fraud. Let me assure you right here and right now, I had NO KNOWLEDGE of his fraud. I had plenty of knowledge of the piece of crap he was from many other sources though. He was abusive to me and my sons, he was a drug/alcohol addict, he never kept a job for longer than 1 year, after we divorced he abandoned his kids and was at one point behind on his child support to the tune of $25,000! That is, until his parents worked out a settlement and paid it for him. He did similar things to his second wife. He’s now on wife #3.
I hope you will see this blog post, T from Tennesse. I hope you will contact me in a way that I can respond in private and not in the comments section of my website. I can promise I will never approve a comment like that. I would love to make right what was done in my name. If you contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will get back to you, I promise.
This is why I am now saying, PAULA BECK IS DEAD! The main reason I say this is that just the name Paula Beck brings up a lot of really bad memories, and a VERY unhappy marriage. Last year I burned all the Paula Beck prints I had left. She is in the past and the past is where she will stay. If you have one of these prints and email me about them or how much they are worth, I will probably not respond to you. Over the years I have responded to every inquiry about Paula Beck prints. The nasty comment apparently came from the first one I decided to ignore. I don’t want to think about that time in my life anymore. I have moved on, I’m over it. I’m sorry if you were hurt by this man too, but please, please, please know that it had NOTHING TO DO WITH ME!
To answer any future questions,
-All Paula Beck prints were black and white portrait and pottery drawings. I also did a series Jesus portraits, Civil War generals and historic buildings in Tennessee.
-If the art work has two signatures, it’s a print, not an original.
-Many of the editions were sold out, some ended up being burned.
-My best guess of value of these prints is anywhere from $50-150, depending on the condition and whether they are matted and/or framed or not.
-Originals would be worth more, $500-750 range. This is a guess, I could be wrong.