EAST VILLAGE — An artist due to exhibit her works last Wednesday is instead attempting to recover 20 paintings stolen during a car break-in.
After parking her car on East 12th Street at Avenue A on Tuesday June 12, Sandra Dillon awoke the next morning to find two windows smashed, a GPS taken and a suitcase containing her mixed media artwork gone. Now Dillon is appealing to the public through a Village Voice classified that was picked up by the blog EV Grieve for any information on the art she suspects the thief abandoned.
"I saw it was a 917 number and I was hoping someone had found a painting," said Dillon, 40, when she answered this reporter's New York area cell phone call. The former East Village resident, who now lives in Philadelphia, was forced to cancel her month-long exhibition at Soundtrack Group, a recording studio at 936 Broadway, which also has a public gallery space.
When Dillon parked her blue 1999 Ford Escort that evening, she said she hid her GPS from view and brought a large painting that had been sitting on the backseat into the place she was staying for the night.
"I thought to myself, 'I don't want to give them a reason to break into my car,'" she said. The vintage green suitcase containing the art stayed out of sight in the car's truck.
Since last week Dillon has pieced together a theory: the thief impulsively took the suitcase, in the hope of finding something more lucrative than the acrylic paint on wood inside. Despite this, the paintings are still valued at between $150 to $500.
"There were paintings on top of the suitcase that they left," said Dillon. As she cancelled the exhibition, Dillon also stuck up posters in the surrounding area appealing for help and put the classified ad in the Village Voice.
"One woman called me on Sunday and she said she had actually found one of the paintings," she said. It was leaning up against a fence on the sidewalk half a block away from where she'd parked on East 12th Street, leading Dillon to believe the suitcase was discarded to the serendipity of resident scavengers.
"I guess one by one people just took them," said Dillon. She will be offering a reward for the paintings, to be negotiated on an individual basis. For example, Dillon is giving the woman a limited edition print of the painting she found as a thank you.
While Dillon makes her living as a film editor, she described herself as an accomplished painter of 20 years, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Parsons School of Design in Paris. The suitcase contained about three months' worth of work
"I'm just hoping by word of mouth the paintings will be recovered," she said.
Sandra Dillon can be reaced at The_Lost_Works@yahoo.com or by calling 646.567.0348