View Full Version : question-pricing your own art
10-17-2000, 08:44 AM
I recently gave a friend a painting that she asked for. It was done on very heavy un-stretched canvas and posed a challenge as far as framing goes. The owner of the frame shop saw my work and has approached me about purchasing a few pieces. The problem is I have NO IDEAL of how to price my art. Not that I expect a sale. I think most likely the frame shop owner is just trying to drum up business. I would like to live in this dream world a few day’s and pretend that it’s all real by coming up with a plan on calculating a price. From what I’ve read you should know the pricing of what paintings like your own work are selling for, which I am not comfortable with saying my work is equal to this artist’s work. Maybe I’m just not ready. I don’t think my art is either, it feels like I’m putting a price on selling one of my babies! Oh maybe the shop owner will just go away! What to do, what to do…
10-17-2000, 09:35 AM
Take a look at this article, which appeared on this site a while back:
10-18-2000, 01:18 AM
A great article. Alan Bambarger knows what he is talking about. I agree with all that he says and done exactly that, when I first started, and still do. Compare, be realistic, objective, offer choice of sizes and prices. Small sells best if you are new, no matter how good you are.Big should still be affordable. You want your art to go in people houses, you want it to be seen by their friends. This is most important. Word of mouth works.
Price as low as it is dignified, enticing the customer is OK. Marketing is marketing, in art as in everything else.
Most of all.....paint a lot, you will detach yourself from your paintings much easier if you have 50 or 100 of them. You'll see. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif
[This message has been edited by Rita Monaco (edited October 18, 2000).]
10-18-2000, 02:23 AM
You also may want to look at this thread: http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/Forum11/HTML/000103.html
10-18-2000, 07:27 AM
The advice is good. I lost a sale at my last group exhibit because of over pricing. The art director at my local art center advised me to "price to sell" and then raise later. Check out prices at local exhibits, galleries & art centers.
10-18-2000, 07:47 AM
A few days ago a gift shop took 6 paintings to display. She had a few other watercolors there - priced quite high in MHO. My prices had not been fixed, as I waited to find out what commission she was asking. Bottom line.. she raised my suggested prices to almost double, and only charged me 20% commission!
I figure she must know what her customers will be willing to pay... but time will tell.
10-18-2000, 09:13 PM
One problem is...you can price to sell in one region...and then, go to another region and find your work must be marked lower still in order to be "priced to sell" there.
If you have an art agent, you will find that adjusting prices can be suicidal for reputation.
I'm persuaded that popularity, sales, bio, competitive standings, publishers can all cause values and prices to rise significantly for an artist...however, that one's style/genre can with the culture fade in interest and therefore sales after a period of time. The hard part is re-inventing oneself, and beginning that process again. Though...shaking your past reputation is not always so easy; and...you will find you are also not necessarily so willing for that reputation to disappear.
I'm thinking in time...the internet will make the world that much smaller, and value of one's work will perhaps more stabilize.
10-19-2000, 03:06 PM
The price you sell you work is the price they pay, I find that a price schedule of any kind is a non-subject. Your work is what your heart says it is, and that is priceless.Market minded people don't have clue to what the price should be because they don't live eat and breath next to that canvas. I charge what in my heart, I must honor.
I've posted a formula for calculating my artwork pricing in that thread that Rita noted. It's for pastels, but it can be modified for any medium.
Please take a look and tell me what you think of it. Is this something you feel could be used?
"Am fear a ghleidheas a theanga, gleidhidh e a charaid."
10-20-2000, 09:55 AM
I used to feel as you do...that all my art were like my babies....wanted to keep them forever. I solved that by seeing the joy in someone's face when I gave it to them as a gift. Now...why shouldn't someone pay for that??? I also take pictures of my work, slides, and digital files...so I can look back on my work and remember how fun it was to paint...and that others may be enjoying that same feeling now.
I agree that the gallery owner may help you in deciding prices for your work. You should DEFINATELY ask them what their commission will be before committing to a price. I understand that you don't feel like you can compare your art work to someone else's work. That, I believe, is a normal feeling...I have gone through it...and many others that I know. Still go through it too!!! I try to see the worth in my effort...and I agree, it is very hard to put a price tag on your art because your heart is in it, but it must be done.
I read once that you can save all the paintings you ever have done in your life...but if you keep painting...won't you need a larger house??? Share your joy with others....as you will gain more by hearing feedback from gallery owners and customers on your art!!
10-21-2000, 06:03 AM
the price of your art is what the market can handle for you to sell well. if you sell everything, it's time for a nice sized markup. if you sell 10%, you have to raise your prices in smaller doses. the market demographics should be known by the gallery owner. if the gallery owner doesn't know the market, find one who does.
take control of your own pricing once you get off the ground. don't depend on the gallery owner beyond the initial setup. they only want to make money,,,and they have dozens of artists, so you failing means nada to them.
you don't need an art agent. that's a useless middleman,,,especially with the large % the gallery already takes. depend on shows and your own footwork.
i keep my prices consistant, no matter what region of the country.
YOU CAN NEVER CUT BACK YOUR PRICES!!!
"it's alright to be judgmental,,,,,,,,if you have taste"...MILT
10-21-2000, 10:43 AM
Originally posted by John Chose:
The price you sell you work is the price they pay, I find that a price schedule of any kind is a non-subject. Your work is what your heart says it is, and that is priceless.
I assume you sell lots?
I'm glad you love your work, but if you are looking to sell, you have to stop thinking of it as your "babies" and start thinking of it as just another commodity to make money from. The love I have for my work is in the process...when I'm done with a piece, I could care less whether I keep it or not (as long as I have slides of it).
I create because I have to and I sell for the same reason.
Milt's advice is right on the money.
10-26-2000, 07:03 PM
This is difficult to respond to because I gave up art many, many years ago. I just never enjoyed doing art, plus, now with my disability (FMS/CFIDS), it's painfull to do. But love the results when I finish a work. It's a major accomplishment for me to begin-do-and finish a work(sigh).
Well, our home burned down last March and we lost everything. My DH (dear heart) and I were butting heads together about how to make quick money to get back up on our feet and he urged me to get back into art and try selling at online auctions.
I began to track online auction art sales and found that erotic art sells fast and furious. (Defining erotic: From explicit erotic to sexy pin-up type)
I'd like to see/know if anyone here is also selling on online auction sites like ebay and such and would love to know how they price their items.
I watch the art sales on ebay and found that erotic art sells fast and furious, but for low $$. I began drawing/painting and listing and I've even gotten a few buyers that have become collectors of my works. I list works starting price between $10-20 for pencil and charcoal that take me up to 10 hours to do (the bidders just don't understand the time and work that goes into them). But now and then I get a good high bid sale. My best sale was $127.50 for a colored pencil drawing.
Do you think I should mention in my auction item description the amount of time the work took to do or mention my disability (I'd hate to do that)? Do you think it may add to the "I's worth more" factor?
Also, I've been getting queries for consignment portraits...if in pencil and or charcoal, what would you suggest for a price quote? I've been getting a lot of them lately. I had a recent request for a color pencil portrait...what would you quote on that?
Also, any tips on finding and approaching galleries? I've never done that before.
I just feel like such a scab selling my work for crap prices since it's so painfull and time consuming for me to do.
11-03-2000, 12:58 AM
Thanks for all the help everyone!
Roan, I did find your formual VERY helpfull. I changed it a bit and sent the shop lady my prices, but she felt that they were "Over Priced and that my friend had gotten the only good piece". Oh well I dont think my art or myself are ready for a sell.
I'm glad it was helpful and that someone looked at it! I've been wondering what people thought of it and hoping an experienced person would give me their views.
I read all the posts and articles on how much to charge for your art, but, to be honest, they really don't help much. They offer all sorts of advice but that one piece all newbies need -- a base dollar amount.
What part did you change? The base rate? Just curious 'cause it's just a rough guide.
I'm thinking of writing that formula into CGI script and adding it to my web site. That way newbies like us can just go and see what different numbers plugged in can do.
<U>To Everyone Else:</U>
I'm going to post my my formula in a separate message. Please, please, please -- all you experienced folks -- give me some feedback. I think it could be a GREAT starting point for art newbies.
A'bheinn as àirde tha san tìr, 's ann oirre 's trice chì thu 'n ceò --
<FONT size="1"> The highest hill is oftenest covered with clouds.
-- Scots Gaelic proverb.</FONT s>
11-26-2000, 07:53 PM
You know, I went and checked out the formula you worked out, and it actually fits the prices I had already chosen pretty closely (off about $20 or so). I'm going to use it in the future! Thanks for figuring this up for me!!!!
Not a problem! I'm glad it helped.
A' bhò as miosa th' anns a' bhuaile, 's i's cruaidhe geum. --
<FONT size="1">The worst cow in the field lows the loudest.
-- Scots Gaelic proverb.</FONT s>
11-29-2000, 10:19 PM
Three years ago, I was accepted into a local juried show. During the show, my wife and I took turns manning my booth, and I had the chance to visit with many of the other artists of the show, and then I would watch over the mdse. while she walked around and visited.
One of the artists at this show is an excellent wildlife artist, and on Sunday, I'd joked that since traffic over the weekend had been rather light, I was thinking about lowering my prices.
He responded that perhaps I should raise them--and I was shocked that he was serious.
Never ever lower your prices, he said. If anyone saw your work yesterday, and went home to think about it, and decides to come back today to buy something, they'll see your prices have gone down. That alone might be enough to convince them you're a bad investment, that your prices yesterday were overinflated. Also, even if they do decide to buy, you've taught that if they wait, they'll get a better deal.
What if they decide to see how low you'll go? What if they wait 'til next show, or next year?
I immediately saw the wisdom in his words. If we want our clients to respect our pricing, it must be fair, consistent, and comprehensible.
It is going to be difficult to sell a piece for a lot more than you've sold work for before. Until I had sold several paintings in the two to four hundred dollar range, I couldn't imagine asking five hundred dollars for one of my paintings.
Once I had sold several paintings for four to six hundred dollars, asking a thousand for the next few didn't seem outrageous.
And, once I had several paintings in the thousand dollar range, I had the confidence to ask even more for my latest work. That confidence doesn't come on its own.
In August, I sold my latest piece for $2500.00. I would never have had the confidence to pull that off, if I hadn't been had the confidence that my work 'really is' worth that much.
You have to believe it, before you can convince your clients to believe it, too.
Synthetic Sky Studios
Science Fiction Fine Art
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