5 Questions for Pricing Your Artwork

5 Questions for Pricing Your Artwork

  • On December 16, 2015

 5 Questions for Pricing Your Artwork

An image of a gold, ornate picture framePricing your artwork is never easy, even if you ignore the tension between the creative process and the idea of your art as an object-for-sale. However, balancing this tension and pricing your work must be done if you intend to sell your art. Even if you are represented by a gallery who will determine the ultimate price of your art, you should know your value and what you are comfortable accepting.

Once you’ve embraced the idea of your art as a product, you must understand the marketplace in which it will be sold. This marketplace is influenced by a number of factors ranging from the esoteric and aesthetic to the grittiest of capitalist considerations (such as sales history, collector base, demand and investment potential).

Additionally, the artist will need to consider commissions, marketing costs, materials, time investment and availability of works.

Clarify the pricing problem by answering the following questions:

 1. Who / What Is Your Art Comparable To?

Art is not priced in a vacuum. The context surrounding an artist’s work must be considered. By examining the qualities of your art and career, it is possible to find loose comparisons for pricing: How is your work and career similar to other artists and what does their work sell for? Elements such as exhibition and sales experience, collector base, artwork size, medium, time investment, process, geographic location, gallery reputation and track record, etc., can help you find a range of rational prices for your work.
In some respects, selling artwork is like selling a house; the prices of similar homes with comparable layout, construction quality, finishes, demand and neighborhood will help determine the price of a home.
Attempts to
quantify creativity might feel uncomfortable at first, however, art (like most commodities), is sold according to predefined criteria and ignoring this will only act as a barrier to potential collectors.

Read more: http://www.artbusiness.com/artists-how-to-price-your-art-for-sale.html

2. Why Do You Create Your Art?

Comparable pricing is not always the end-all of selling your work. The reason you make your art can be critical. As Simon Sinek says; “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” What is the driving force behind your art? Tell a story that connects your audience to your “why” and you may find that they resonate with your intention and raise the value of your work.

3. Who Is Your Audience?

A core component of any marketing effort is to understand who will buy your product and how. Who is your ideal collector and how do you they select and purchase their artwork? Are they private collectors, institutions, public works? Do they discover art primarily through trusted galleries and art dealers or do they shop online directly from artists? Try to imagine their lifestyle and how they approach art buying. Don’t target everyone, find ways to connect with the specific people who will love your work enough to invest their hard earned dollars.

4. Previous Sales?

Be objective about your experiences. How much art have you sold, where did you sell it, how much did it sell for, and what were the circumstances? Again, context matters: if you’re just starting out it is unrealistic to compare your prices to that of an established artist. If you are selling direct to your collectors through your website, then your prices (and overhead) will not be the same as an established gallery. The business of selling art is similar to any other business model; you need to build your reputation as a professional which will influence the way your services are priced.

A pair of hands holding up an iPad with a colorful design on it. The person holding the iPad is wearing a watch and has on bright red sleeves.

5. How Do Potential Collectors Find You?

You never know when opportunity may knock so it’s important to always be ready to answer. How will you connect with potential collectors of your work? Do you always carry business cards? Does your website convey why you make your art, what it is, and where to buy it? Will you only sell through galleries or are you your own best sales person? There is no answer that will fit all artists, so it’s important to target the channels that make sense for you and your work. The character of your collector base will also drive this process- some collectors will only buy through galleries while others never will. Understanding this can make all of the difference in your career.

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“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates a talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”

– Stephen King