I Work All Night, I Work All Day, to Pay the Bills I Have to Pay…And This Guy Spends $88 on a Painting That Has $10,000 Hidden in It. Seriously?!

God knows art isn’t cheap. That’s why when Justin Caffier came across a small piece within his meager budget, he acted quickly. Imagine his surprise when he found $10K in cash surrounded by other precious gemstones hidden inside. Meanwhile, I’m here trying to scrape up the same amount for my electricity bill. FML

Here are some useful purchases that cost around $88:

  • A MagiMix Nespresso Machine because coffee is the key to life.
  • An ergonomic office chair that will save you from back pain while you stare at your computer screen.
  • This 3-in-1 breakfast station that will make your morning a hell of a lot faster
  • Some fancy-ass headphones to increase your music-listening experience
  • A fitbit to encourage you to get healthier

Here are some non-useful purchases that cost around $88:

  • A replica BB-8 droid from Star Wars
  • An inflatable pizza raft
  • Neon lamp that says “lit”
  • Giant jenga set
  • A 12x12in painting

Listen, I’m by no means the authority on making reasonable purchases. A few weeks ago, I literally spent 30 bucks on a thing called ‘Grilled Cheesus,’ which is basically a panini press that leaves an imprint of Jesus’ face on the bread. And I’m not hating on art either. In fact, I spent nearly $200 on a print the other day, and I love it, but I really could’ve used the money elsewhere.

The point I’m trying to make, aside from the fact I need to learn how to manage my money better, is that when you’re young and working in online editorial, you don’t get paid enough to make non-useful purchases. Trust me, I know. That was the case, too, for Justin Caffier, an L.A.-based writer for Vice, who hit a surprise jackpot, literally, when he purchased an $88 painting at L.A.’s Gabba Gallery on August 19th. He wrote about his little serendipity in a Vice article.

Caffier just happened to be walking past the gallery when he saw the gallery owner prepping for an upcoming show. Since he writes about art, he introduced himself and asked if he could preview the show then and there, which the owner allowed. That’s when he came across a familiar name: Ruby Heart—an artist he had met a year earlier. Coincidentally, it was the only work within his price range, so he purchased it. And good thing he did, too.

A week later, the artist posted this on Instagram:


That one time I hid $10k inside of a painting. #new

A post shared by Ruby Heart (@rubyheartdrips) on

Obviously this sounds like a joke, right? Begging further information, gallery staff took a more focused look at the work and noticed that the media listed as used in the painting, titled ARTISHARDT, were “gemstones, tektite, quartz, cash, oatwheat, wood, etc.” So they opened it up and voila.

Image: Vice

It was all there in front of them, much to the delight of the gallery staff, who put out a press release immediately. But no one was quite as pumped as Caffier, who was suddenly eagerly waiting for the show to be over so he could disassemble his painting and see what treasures were awaiting him.


$10,000, obviously. But alongside were also diamonds, emeralds, and other crystals and minerals including lithium, quartz, amethyst, and moldavite (a rare mineral found in asteroids).

Image: Vice

Talk about a score.

Ultimately, Justin chose to leave the contents within the work because they garner a greater value that way, and let’s face it, they're fundamental to the art.

So, what is there to take from this story?

There is one lesson and it is thus: life’s not fair.

As a bitter voyeur of another man’s good fortune, which we all should be (this is FML after all), I scoff at the fact that Justin was rewarded for his reckless spending.

Bro, we’re out here scraping up pennies so we can cover our asses for the month, making concessions only for the coffee that gets us through the day and the wine we cry our tears into at night. While you’re liquefying your assets, we’re literally liquefying ours.

So if you’re wondering how a story about a man with good luck and good fortune is FML qualified, it would behoove you to remember that the FML spirit is in and of itself petty af. 

So, for everyone that’s young and broke or old and broke or middle aged and broke, this is an FML for you. No one’s saying he didn’t deserve to have such fortune bestowed upon him, we’re just saying: 

We need money too!

Come join our petty parade and let’s all be salty together! Justin, you’re not invited.

By Nina / Thursday 31 August 2017 15:08 /
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By  Nina  |  32

Hush, child, you don't know my life. Ad money goes into keeping the website afloat. 80 bucks is more than what goes into my pocket after paying bills each month.

  Nina  |  32

Hush, child, you don't know my life. Ad money goes into keeping the website afloat. 80 bucks is more than what goes into my pocket after paying bills each month.