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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
18/02/2013 3:06 pm  

93,

I was wondering if anyone else has experienced issues when ordering art from the Magical Mandarin website?

Some years back, I purchased a small stele as a gift for my wife. Last April, I decided to purchase a full-sized replica from the Magical Mandarin website to give as an anniversary gift to the Lodge that I belong to. I paid in full for the Stele in April 2012. Since then, I have not received anything. Communication has been sporadic, with my emails going unanswered for sometimes two to three months at a time. The last communication I received from Gary was over a month ago, and at that time he stated that the work was complete, and the Stele should be packed and mailed by the end of the week. Since then, nothing, not even a reply to the two emails sent requesting updates.

I am a bit torn here. The quality of the work offered by the Magical Mandarin is excellent, but at this point a commission that was expected to take between eight and twelve weeks has taken ten months (and counting). Has anyone else experienced a similar issue? If so, did you have any luck in resolving it?

I in no way want to defame the good name of the artist nor the caliber of the work produced. However, it does concern me that this has taken so much longer than originally anticipated, and that communication about the delays or any issues has not been forthcoming.

Anyone have some insight or experience they might be willing to share?

93, 93/93

- J


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Mazus
(@mazus)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 97
18/02/2013 7:47 pm  

I have dealt with Gary on a couple of occasions and have only good things to say.  I did catch him at a time where he had other things going on so my Steles (one small, one full size) did take a little longer than expected, however, Gary was communicative and kept me up to date.  Just from my dealings (about 12 months ago) I found him to be pleasant and honourable.  I can also say that the Steles are first rate as well.

Just my experience.  Hopefully things will work out for you and my experience will allay your fears somewhat.  I would find it very hard to believe that he had changed his business practices since I bought from him.  He may be having some things going on, who knows.  But I would recommend his work and business on my experiences.


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empiricus
(@empiricus)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 121
19/02/2013 9:19 pm  

93,

I can only echo and amplify everything that Mazus has said. I have always been delighted with the both excellent quality of Gary's work and his artistic and professional integrity.

All the best,
93, 93/93.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
19/02/2013 11:56 pm  

93,

Thanks everyone for the responses. I was exceedingly pleased with the work done on the smaller stele I gave to my wife some years back. Hopefully it won't be too terribly much longer before the full-size one I commissioned for the Lodge will be delivered.

Thanks again!

93, 93/93

- J


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
09/11/2013 6:16 pm  

Hi,
93

I have the same experience as defile. Commissioned a work in August, paid in full, and have not heard anything since, and no replies on my emails.
I have decided to order from Soror Mistra instead, which I know to be reliable and who does good work.

I am writing this up as a warning to those who might consider the magical mandarin and does a google search, that dealing with this guy might not be the best idea. I have no clue as to why, there may be good reasons for Gary not answering my emails, but this is how it is.

If I ever hear anything back from him, I'll post it here.

93, 93/93
r3b0


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Mazus
(@mazus)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 97
08/01/2015 8:38 pm  

Hi everybody
Can anybody here please tell me if they have had recent contact with Gary Dickinson of the The Magical Mandarin and purveyor of steles?  I am making this inquiry before I jump to any conclusions regarding my current dealings with him.
Thanks


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lashtal
(@lashtal)
Owner and Editor Admin
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 5304
08/01/2015 8:51 pm  

Moderator's Note: Threads merged...

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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Mazus
(@mazus)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 97
08/01/2015 9:15 pm  

Thanks for merging these threads Paul.  This is a bad turn of events in the case of Gary Dickinson.  I last had contact with him last March where he was telling me that he had been ill but was prepared to accept a commission for two steles.  Cost me a bomb. I had received one off him previously and he assured me that, despite his illness that he would be able to complete the job but that he asked me for patience.  I have been very patient and he has not replied to emails too numerous to count.  It really is appalling as I have also had a similar experience with another member of Lashtal that took over 12 months to resolve.  All because I am trying to get a stele of quality.  I do have another avenue to pursue Mr. Dickinson that I will investigate.

In the meantime, I note that there is a reference above to  Soror Mistra who I do not know.  I am keen to deal with someone who is able to reproduce a good stele and is honest so if anybody has the contact for someone such as this I'd appreciate the information.

I have held back from posting about Gary Dickinson, but as another poster above has said, it is what it is.  he may have good reasons for not completing the job, but there is no reason for silence for the past ten months after he took 250 quid off me.  Pissed off.


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Mazus
(@mazus)
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Posts: 97
03/02/2015 5:36 pm  

This is just to update my last post in the interests of fairness.  I have now heard back from Gary and he has supplied me with the two Steles that I ordered.  It was a long time coming, but I am so glad that Gary contacted me.  Gary has had some illness that prevented these works being completed.

Just to be clear.  I have never doubted Gary's honesty, and indeed, I have vouched for him on other occasions.  It  is good that what was my dimming view of human nature has now been reversed and all is well.  The issue was always a lack of communication which really is not OK as a one line email would have assuaged my fears.

But I have the Steles and I can only say that if anybody can make these better than Gary then I'd like to see one.  These are brilliant.

Thanks


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3948
03/02/2015 6:02 pm  

Very glad to hear that the issue has been resolved, Mazus. I had a stele from Gary several years ago, and it's great. Again, a few years ago, I had a prototype of one of the masks of Lam that he made, and that too is very good; indeed, it's gazing at me right now, as my fingers dance across the keyboard with dazzling agility.


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christibrany
(@christibrany)
Yuggothian
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2375
03/02/2015 11:29 pm  

93
I just want to say I love his work and I feel very blessed to have an original painting of Kephra, as well as a very awesome textured detailed painting of LAM he did as well.  They took longer than I thought too ,but both were well worth the wait!
I wish him well and I hope his health improves!
93s


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jamie barter
(@jamie-barter)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 1688
05/02/2015 12:48 pm  

To echo and slightly distort the words of George Formby, Lancastrian ukulele player and 40s B-movie film star, it all seems to have turned out reet nice again then.

There have been one or two very attractive versions of the stele which I have come across hither and yon on the Lash, some of them like Gary’s also up for sale and very professionally executed.  There are also one-offs by ‘gifted amateurs’ I’ve seen which are interesting to contemplate for their own unique individual characters.  So would it be at all possible to have some sort of a Gallery where people could download different versions of the stele they have come across in one way or another?  The rest of us could then access, admire & exalt the cluster of images there, and they could all keep each other cosy company (in the way in which clustering artifacts do.)  Does anyone else think this would be a good idea?

“Turned out nice again.”  (“You should see them, Bill and Koo, when I’m cleaning windows”)
N Joy


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tc
 tc
(@tc)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 40
05/02/2015 6:41 pm  

Well I think it's a grand idea!......but then I've made a Stele that I'm rather pleased with, so I would do.

(Only two i's in 'equilibrated', surely, 'though it does sound much better with three.

TC


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jamie barter
(@jamie-barter)
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05/02/2015 8:33 pm  
"tc" wrote:
(Only two i's in 'equilibrated', surely, 'though it does sound much better with three.

And you win tonight’s speedboat…!

But seriously Paul, isn't this not only a grand idea but a feasible one as it seems popular in that amazingly enough there was a response within six hours of my suggesting it.  In view of the normal reticence of Lashtalians to respond to polls and the like I even contemplated editing my posting from

Does anyone else think this would be a good idea?

to

Does anyone else think this wouldn’t be a good idea?

as it seemed far more likely to have drawn a result in accordance with the suggestion.

N Joy


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michaelclarke18
(@michaelclarke18)
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Posts: 1264
05/02/2015 9:44 pm  

I think I would prefer to create my own. The character of the original is quite unique in that it is wood, plaster with lashings of a kind of yellow varnish - if I remember it correctly. None of the ones I have yet seen, really capture the 'feel' of the original, although I think it would be fairly straightforward to do so.


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tc
 tc
(@tc)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 40
05/02/2015 11:32 pm  

Of course. Have a bash sir and see just how straightforward it is.


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michaelclarke18
(@michaelclarke18)
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Posts: 1264
06/02/2015 11:25 am  

Of course. Have a bash sir and see just how straightforward it is.

I will. I am from an arts and crafts background, I honestly don't see it as that much of a challenge. It will take time of course, but I don't see any problems.


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tc
 tc
(@tc)
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06/02/2015 3:48 pm  

Piece of cake of light.


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Mazus
(@mazus)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 97
06/02/2015 5:19 pm  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:
I think I would prefer to create my own. The character of the original is quite unique in that it is wood, plaster with lashings of a kind of yellow varnish - if I remember it correctly. None of the ones I have yet seen, really capture the 'feel' of the original, although I think it would be fairly straightforward to do so.

I haven't seen the original but I can tell you that Gary goes to a lot of trouble to recreate the feel of the original.  His Steles do have a lot of yellow and are textured.  He even has what appears to screw or nail holes in the top which I imagine is where it was attached to a wall or something at some point.  One of the reasons that these Steles are so expensive compared to others is because of the time that Gary takes with these details.  But I haven't see others so I don't know what others do in the regard.


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jamie barter
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06/02/2015 5:28 pm  

It may take some time, but if you do it yourself ‘properly’ you will find it’s worth it at the end - there's no substitute for individual input in this regard and the "magickal link" achieved therefrom.

N Joy


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lashtal
(@lashtal)
Owner and Editor Admin
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 5304
06/02/2015 5:40 pm  

Mazus is right - Gary's stelae are amazingly 'lifelike'. Having seen the original in Cairo many times - up close and personal, as they say - I can confirm that the quality of the reproduction is astonishing.

"Mazus" wrote:
He even has what appears to screw or nail holes in the top which I imagine is where it was attached to a wall or something at some point.

See the image below. The holes do not go right through the stele so appear to have been 'fixing' holes for something attached to it.

Gary has suggested - and I think he's right - that this 'something' was likely a tall pair of painted wooden feathers representing the hawk-headed Montu. Ankhefenkhons I was, of course, a priest of Montu.

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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Mazus
(@mazus)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 97
06/02/2015 5:50 pm  

Thank you for that information Paul.  Having feathers on the top of the Stele really adds a visual dimension to this that I have never considered. 


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jamie barter
(@jamie-barter)
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Posts: 1688
06/02/2015 5:54 pm  

Those holes look a bit like another pair of eyes to me.  Or maybe it's just that I'm a bit paranoid...

N Joy


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michaelclarke18
(@michaelclarke18)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1264
06/02/2015 6:46 pm  

Piece of cake of light.

Easy peasy.

I haven't seen the original but I can tell you that Gary goes to a lot of trouble to recreate the feel of the original.  His Steles do have a lot of yellow and are textured.  He even has what appears to screw or nail holes in the top which I imagine is where it was attached to a wall or something at some point.  One of the reasons that these Steles are so expensive compared to others is because of the time that Gary takes with these details.  But I haven't see others so I don't know what others do in the regard.

I've seen Gary's work, and although I do appreciate them and the work that has gone into them, there are a number of things I don't quite like.
They seem to be far too light, in terms of weight. I dislike the 'printed photograph' quality of the hieroglyphs, which aren't quite as sharp as they could be i.e. they are slightly blurred. I also dislike the textured sand, uniformly sprinkled, production-line style, across the surface. It would have been better to concentrate the sand to particular areas.
They make me think rather too much of a clean shrink-wrapped like product; whereas the original is very individual and has lots of areas of distress and irregular marks.
I like things to be individual and unique looking...but that's probably just my personal taste.


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tc
 tc
(@tc)
Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 40
06/02/2015 6:59 pm  

'Those holes look a bit like another pair of eyes to me.  Or maybe it's just that I'm a bit paranoid...'

I wish you hadn't said that Jamie, now I Can't look at it without thinking of 'Red Nose Day'.


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Mazus
(@mazus)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 97
06/02/2015 7:49 pm  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:

Piece of cake of light.

I dislike the 'printed photograph' quality of the hieroglyphs, which aren't quite as sharp as they could be i.e. they are slightly blurred. I also dislike the textured sand, uniformly sprinkled, production-line style, across the surface. It would have been better to concentrate the sand to particular areas.
They make me think rather too much of a clean shrink-wrapped like product; whereas the original is very individual and has lots of areas of distress and irregular marks.
I like things to be individual and unique looking...but that's probably just my personal taste.

I beg to differ on both of these points.  The hieroglyphs on both of the Stelae that I have are crisp.  The sand is not uniformly sprinkled both are unique.  So either the method has changed since your saw your examples or I got lucky.  Twice.  I think that the characterisation of Gary's work as a "clean shrink-wrapped product" is an insult to the time that he has put into these works of art.


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3948
06/02/2015 10:41 pm  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:
I've seen Gary's work, and although I do appreciate them and the work that has gone into them, there are a number of things I don't quite like.
They seem to be far too light, in terms of weight. I dislike the 'printed photograph' quality of the hieroglyphs, which aren't quite as sharp as they could be i.e. they are slightly blurred. I also dislike the textured sand, uniformly sprinkled, production-line style, across the surface. It would have been better to concentrate the sand to particular areas.
They make me think rather too much of a clean shrink-wrapped like product; whereas the original is very individual and has lots of areas of distress and irregular marks.
I like things to be individual and unique looking...but that's probably just my personal taste.

It's a matter of taste and opinion, no doubt, but I don't share your views. I have a small stele made by Gary a few years ago, which he gifted to me. It's on my mantelpiece as I type these words, and looks fresh and vibrant. The sand is not uniformly sprinkled, but concentrated in particular areas of the surface. I don't see any blurring of the hieroglyphs, nor do they seem to have a "printed photograph" quality. Certainly I see nothing in my stele akin to "a clean shrink-wrapped like product".


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michaelclarke18
(@michaelclarke18)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1264
06/02/2015 11:48 pm  

I think that the characterisation of Gary's work as a "clean shrink-wrapped product" is an insult to the time that he has put into these works of art.

I don't intend 'clean shrink-wrapped product' as an insult; rather I mean to indicate that a consistent and professional standard is uniformly applied to all the items that are produced. It's not a question of time or even of skill, it's just that I prefer rough, more individual type artifacts.


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christibrany
(@christibrany)
Yuggothian
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2375
08/02/2015 12:55 am  
"tc" wrote:
'Those holes look a bit like another pair of eyes to me.  Or maybe it's just that I'm a bit paranoid...'

I wish you hadn't said that Jamie, now I Can't look at it without thinking of 'Red Nose Day'.

lol

they're everywhere they're everywhere


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baphy93
(@baphy93)
Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 3
10/02/2016 7:47 am  

I commissioned a full size stele from Gary I think three years ago now and have still yet to receive it. He did eventually get back to me to let me know about his health complications but since then and a year later I've still not heard any word. I'd really like to finally have it set up on my altar but honestly I'm starting to worry if the man has died or will before he manages to complete it. Has anyone heard anything from him recently?


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frater_anubis
(@frater_anubis)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 242
10/02/2016 10:50 am  

I've just tried to access "www.themagicalmandarin.com" and the site is down, in fact the host has posted a message that suggests the domain may be for sale

"This domain may be for sale. Backorder this Domain

This Domain Name Has Expired - Renewal Instructions"

This is a shame, as by all accounts his work was excellent


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baphy93
(@baphy93)
Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 3
15/04/2016 1:36 am  

Does anyone happen to have a contact for Gary? I've been trying to e-mail him on and off for half a decade now to get the stele I've already paid for ($300~ USD). I'm still holding out and would absolutely be thrilled to finally have it hanged on my wall.


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Mazus
(@mazus)
Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 97
15/04/2016 2:57 am  

I had some contact with Gary about 18 months ago or so. Maybe longer. I already had already bought one full size Stele from him and had placed an order for another full size and one half size. When I placed the order for the last two he had been reluctant but in the end he was happy to accept the commission. I waited for well over a year with nothing. He was ignoring email after email (polite ones by the way) and eventually I posted on Lashtal to see if anybody had heard from him, similar to you. He must be a member here because he contacted me after the posts and we came to an agreement where he supplied what I paid for. No problems with the quality. Both are great, with the half size one being done in a cheaper way but still good. He wasn’t really that friendly in my interactions with him in contrast to the first time I dealt with him which annoyed me, as if *I* was the nuisance for wanting what I paid for. In what may be bad news for you he told then that he would not be doing any more Steles or other things due to bad health. To be frank, all I wanted was to get my Steles and then he could do what he wants. So, as I said, this was at least 18 months ago and he seemed to be hanging up the gloves. Maybe if he reads this you may get a response.

It really is a shame if he is going to shaft you for the $300. When I bought my first Stele he was great. Not so the second time around which is probably reflective of the fact that he wasn’t it great shape. I hope that it works out for you. Funny things can happen however. If you feel like it dig my posts out about Bryan Moore and Arkham Studios who delivered a statue to me a good three years after the order was placed and really toxic email exchanges.

At the time that I ordered this stuff from Gary I had placed another for a Stele order with a person who attempted to rip me and I had this resolved in my favour as a result of a mutual organization who we were both a member of. If you want details of how this happened PM me and I can discuss. Good luck.
93s


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baphy93
(@baphy93)
Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 3
07/07/2016 1:47 pm  

An update. I did get back in touch with Gary, he is no longer able to produce stele reproductions and has refunded the full price I paid to him with apologies.


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lashtal
(@lashtal)
Owner and Editor Admin
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 5304
07/07/2016 3:08 pm  

Thanks for the update, @baphy93 - I'm glad you were able to communicate with Gary and that the situation has been resolved to your satisfaction. It's disappointing that he is no longer able to create his (rather wonderful) reproductions, though.

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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