Edgar Ruiz says he just wants his art back. A studio representative says they're considering legal action for harassment. Three works of art, valued by Ruiz at a total of around $1800, are nowhere to be found.
"I just don't understand what the hell happened," the artist tells New Times.
In late February Ruiz, a local artist, displayed work at a one-night show at LMNT Studios in Wynwood. When he dropped off the art, he says, the studio told him to leave as many pieces as he wanted, so he left 17 or 18. A few days later, after a successful exhibit, he went back to the studios and was given the works back together in a large stack. He put the art back in his portfolio without counting the pieces or thinking twice.
"I always figured that my art was safe," he says.
Now he says he was wrong. Just late last week, when Ruiz went to pull the works from his portfolio for another show, he discovered two of his pieces were missing. He started calling the studio and posting on Facebook.
He also plastered signs around Wynwood, with pictures of the two works, with the words "Missing: Last Seen in the Hands of the Idiots at LMNT".
Later he realized there was actually a third piece missing. Ruiz says he doesn't know if the pieces were stolen, or somehow got lost. But he's been devastated. "I don’t’ really want to redraw them them—that's giving up."
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But LMNT is adamant they didn't do anything wrong. A studio representative, who declined to give her name, tells New Times that Ruiz is trying to manipulate his way into financial gain. After he called saying the work was missing, the studio diligently searched for the art and cooperated with the artist, even at one point offering to buy the pieces.
But the gallery says Ruiz wanted $10,000 and then proceeded to slander LMNT on social media and in the street fliers. "He's made it seem like we didn't want to help him," the gallery representative says.
Now, after Ruiz's daily harassing texts and phone calls, the studio is considering pressing charges, she says. The rep says she's confident the work wasn't stolen or lost at the studio. Instead, she had another explanation. "He's an artist who's seeking attention," she says. "So he's created a scandal."
But the artist insists he just wants his art returned. "I don't know who to call or who to contact," he says. "All I can hope for is that
... if it's been misplaced that someone will find it and do the right thing."