Local artist Shana Smith has joined the likes of painting immortals Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso, all of whom have had their art snatched off the wall.
Two weekends ago, one of Smith's paintings was stolen off the wall of local bar, Jones Radiator. The bar posted surveillance video of the masterful heist, which shows three women working together to lift the artwork (one takes it off the wall and sets it on the floor; another picks it up after it falls over; and the third, who's been keeping a lookout, hauls it out).
Watch the video for yourself:
So the woman who takes the painting off the wall goes by "Fire" and is the singer for Organized Kaos, who played here on the 19th with The Pink Socks and Flannel Math Animal. We don't know her friend who walks out with the painting's name. None of the other bands who played on the 19th are in any way involved. But if you know the singer from Organized Kaos or her friend please let them know a report has been filed with Crime Check regarding this incident. It is shameful that someone in the Spokane arts & music community would do this to another artist and a venue that has worked hard to support for the arts & music scenes tirelessly.Posted by Jones Radiator on Friday, March 25, 2016
Using the video, Jones Radiator identified one of the women as the lead singer of Organized Kaos, who played a show at the bar March 19, the night the painting was stolen. Apparently, she goes by "Fire." Lucas McIntyre, Jones Radiator co-owner says he confirmed "Fire's" real name, which we won't publish here because she has not been arrested.
"It seemed pretty straightforward," McIntyre says. "With most people you'd think when you say 'Hey we have you on camera, can you just give us the painting back and we'll forget about it?' that would be the end."
The painting is still floating out there somewhere, but for artist Smith, what's been almost more distressing is the ordeal of filing a simple police report.
She says she called Crime Check trying to add information to the report, but was told to call the police department front desk. When the folks over at the police department pulled up the report, they asked if she lost her purse at the bar. The only thing in the report was "theft at Jones Radiator," Smith says. It said nothing about a painting.
Courtesy of Shana Smith
"He said to call Crime Check back and do a new report," Smith says. "Then the guy at Crime Check said I can't do a new report. I have to add to an existing report. It was at the point where I felt like they thought I was irritating them."
Aside from the vile irony that is one local artist (allegedly) stealing from another, the painting — titled "Unveiled" — holds personal significance for Smith. As a long-time professional artist, she does a lot of commissioned work. Lots of paintings of buffalos for clients in Montana, she says.
It's rare that she has time to produce work that means something beyond a paycheck.
"That's one of the only pieces that was for me," she says. "I was just painting without a destination and let it happen. That's why artists are artists, and I'm not able to do that that often."