This is a true story of the Net, of talent and trust. It's a small world.
Fifteen years ago, on the streets of Soho (the artsy district of Manhattan) my wife and I were window-shopping for art we couldn't afford. Outside of one of the galleries, literally on the street, we saw an artist selling his work right on the street. We bought a painting for about $100 and congratulated ourselves for "buying art in Soho" at a discount. The artist was friendly and we wished him luck.
Knut Masco, the artist, specialized in painting on the back of old windows. He decorated the wooden frame and painted on the glass. He was a committed street artist and made a name for himself when he joined in with some other artists and sued Rudi Guiliani for banning their work (a surprisingly large number of people don't remember the original bully version of Guiliani). They won and that was the last we heard of Knut.
Anyway, two months ago the Masco in our house fell off the wall and shattered into a billion pieces. We were heartbroken. "This is a job for google" I cried, and off I went to find Knut. Nothing doing. He had vanished.
I hopped over to the amazing Google Answers. I posted a query and within a day, the researcher found Knut... living in Israel... under another name... no longer doing art!
I dropped Knut a note, found out his new name was Boaz, and described our need for a new painting. He quickly agreed--even though he couldn't find any old windows and had to make a new one from scratch. Even though he hadn't painted in a while. I offered to pay in advance, but he wouldn't hear of it.
Two months later, I get an email saying the painting is ready and has been shipped. I send him a check, made out to his new name, on faith. A day later, a painting arrives by Federal Express. From Israel. With a handwritten invoice.
The painting is terrific--even better than the original. But more important to us is the story. Not sure what you can do with it, but thought you'd want to hear it.