Oct 17, 2014

Pricing Your Art

I have just received a cheque from the sale of a piece of art .... now I can pay the deductible when my truck comes back from the repair shop today ! Did I mention that I'd had an argument with an angry hornet and a fence post ? The bee gained freedom and the fence post is still standing ... poor 'Dakota' had $2000.00 damage in the final assessment !

Anyway, the cheque got me thinking about the I price I had placed on this piece of art. I price by making a rough guess at it's worth ... somewhat figuring in hours, materials, and the market I am trying to sell in ... so far I have been extremely lucky or was I actually smarter than I thought I was ?? 

I decided that I might be even smarter to check with ArtBusiness.com 

A couple of years ago I went in search of information on writing an artist statement ... loved the help and common sense ... and I bookmarked the website to read later at my leisure; 

Today I finally decided to read one of the many other helpful articles there.

How Any Artist Can Price Their Art for Sale ... great read !  It is a long article and I hope you find the time to read it all ... these are a few things that stood out for me;

* 'Nothing is worth anything until it actually sells, which means the following -- that someone places their money in the palm of your hand and accepts your art in exchange.'

* 'Don't think that your art is so unique that you can price it without regard to what's happening elsewhere in your art community or in the art world in general.' 

*'.....  about comparing. The people who buy art do it; you should too.   PP

* 'At all times, be consistent with your pricing.' 

*'ALWAYS price your art. Don't make them ask. Don't make them email. Don't make them call. Not pricing your art and making people ask is a game.' 

* 'So support your prices with facts. People care about how they spend their money-- they want to feel like they're spending it wisely. So show them that they're doing the right thing, that your art is worth what you're selling it for, that other people buy it, and that it is OK for them to buy it too.'

Site principal, Alan Bamberger, is an art consultant, advisor, author, and independent appraiser specializing in research, appraisal, and all business and market aspects of original works of art, artist manuscript materials, art-related documents, and art reference books. He has been selling art since 1979 and rare and scholarly art reference books since 1982, and has been consulting and appraising for artists, galleries, businesses, organizations and collectors since 1985.

This article sure knocks the ego right out of you and sets things on a 'common sense' level. I hope you find answers here for the business end of your creative process ... I'd love to know what you think !

old beaver pond-Killbear Prov. Park


  1. one of THE hardest things to do...i tend to price my "not favourites" lower, but i know how much work went into them, and try to recoup that with higher prices on more liked and favourite works---that being said, doing everything by hand means i'll never get what it's "worth"....

  2. Oh, absolutely ... hand work is tough to price !

  3. I think this has got to be one of the toughest things out there, pricing one's art.....so few people are aware of the work that goes into a completed piece. Add to that the fact that textile art is still not properly recognized for the art that it is (in my opinion, anyway) and one is left with 'what the market will bear' which generally means not much in one's pockets. Or one looks unrealistic for wanting more than $5/hr! And often to even enter a piece into a show, it has to have a price tag on it. Which sets that whole frustrating issue back in motion....I confess I find it somewhat discouraging....

  4. It sure is tough to be a fibre artist... and, then, when one has finally gone through the turmoil if pricing, and it sells in a show or gallery, we have to deal with the dreaded commission ! .... now we're working for #3/hr ! So discouraging .... but the recognition of fibre as an art is slowly growing, I believe ! We have to hang in there ;)

  5. I decided a while back to stick with a general '$perSquare inch' approach for my embroideries, with or without framing (mostly because I'm anal and want it done before the customer gets it). Custom framing would cost extra. Loads of handstitching adds to price. So far so good. It's worked okay and totally fair to the clients I think. As for underpricing 'not favourites' - I don't know... there's always people who love my 'not favourites' so just because it's not our fave, doesn't mean someone else can't fall in love with it and want to pay for it. ; )
    I have to add - I came to the conclusion of per square inch minimum pricing after hearing how much people loved a local painter's art, partly because her pricing was so consistent. I overheard them saying how easy it was to buy art from her because it was so clear.
    Now if I went to price per hour... oh who knows. ! lol

  6. We fibre artists would all be millionaires if we could price/hour !!

    At a solo show, that I had a few years ago, I was appraised by 2 quilt judges who visited my room and they confirmed that my pricing was spot on ... they price/sq. inch, as well.
    I'm no mathematician so a gut feeling (taking all things roughly into consideration, with a gesturing of hands for size) seems to work for me ... lol !
    Thank you very much for the feedback, Monika ... very much appreciated ! Hopefully someone will benefit from your formula ;)


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