ways to price your art
So many artists have to tackle that dreaded question…
"How do I price my original art?"
We are obviously focusing on the local market here, and not the larger auction and resale art market, you most likely will not get Triple Elvis prices for that work you made at your kitchen table.
(even though it IS very lovely)
This is such a loaded question… mostly because there is no clear answer, no magic formula that will be effective for every artist…
here is a basic formula to start from anyway:
cost of materials
+ (hours x hourly)
= selling price
(the "x2" is allowing room for sellers commissions as well as negotiations)
then add on...
x or - market demand
a < productivity
- weather > attendance
(okay, that last part I made up)
There are some industry standards and percentages that you can expect when working with galleries or print royalties, but YOU are still expected to confidently come up with pricing structures that work for you prior to entering a contract with a representative.
Art is much like the stock market.
If you have a new or unfinished piece that you're planning on showing and a buyer inquires on it's purchase, the price may then go UP because it's a desirable piece you had wanted to include in an important show, and buying it before it goes to market may push that price up to allow you the funds to replenish your work quickly.
What IS that magic number that would allow you to let go of it right then and there?
- Teach yourself to understand your own production process and cater the prices to reflect on how YOU work, how many years you've been at it and the quality of materials used
- Be realistic and honest about your skill level, your marketability and the potential or realistic demand for your work.
If you have a finished piece that you've already shown that is gathering dust in your studio, the price may then go DOWN just to secure the sale at an opportune moment with a buyer so you can then build up some needed funds for art supplies and make room in your studio for new work, this is when art becomes very negotiable.
There is also production art, art for art's sake, commissions, street art, prints and the markets within all the sub markets to learn about…a good suggestion is to study art, and it's markets, on an ongoing basis.
here are what some of the MODspoke artists have to say….
Emily and Beth both have it correct!
Looking at your specific customers and regional area can be extremely valuable, and utilizing those instincts in your head...
If you live in a working class neighborhood in Maine and you're hoping to sell work out of a local cafe, price accordingly, consider what YOU would pay if you were a customer in that area.
The price may lower at the local cafe, because they are taking less commission, or you have to bring the art buying public for yourself, or educate the local buyer about art and it's value. You may even have to curate and hang the work yourself and most likely they aren't heavily promoting you.
If you are showing your work in a swanky Boston gallery, the market is more competitive and the clients may be more educated about art. The prices will rise because the gallery pays a premium rent, has a larger pool of buying public to tap from, curates the walls and completes the hanging for you as well as markets and promotes the work. - not to mention, if you've gotten as far as the swanky gallery, you were probably juried in, meaning your quality and images are respected by swanky professionals…you EARNED those higher prices with your great art!
THE BIGGEST FACTOR IN PRICE WILL ALWAYS BE:
$$ How much the artist is
willing to part with it for $$
(sometimes, art sells cheap because the artist got a shut off notice from the CMP)
and don't forget….
NEVER price your work too low, or it can devalue the impression a potential buyer may have
if it's priced the same as a poster at TJ Maxx,
it will perceived as the same by that buyer.
So there ya have it. Confusing and somewhat useless information about pricing artwork.
After much research, we decided it would be better to tell the embarrassing truth, rather than come up with a long diatribe to post on linkedin full of faux business-speak and made-up formulas and guestimates. :)
written by: Erin Duquette
Art, Culture, Unity and Soul