May 10, 2009

How Artists Should Price Works

Often artists are at a loss when deciding on how to price their work. Being a successful artist today is not just about producing work. It will really help your career if you have some basic smarts about the business aspects of the industry as well. Here are a few important points to consider when evaluating how your work should be priced.

Base Costs
The first thing to consider outright is your costs this goes beyond paint, stretchers and canvas. There is your studio rental, your utilities, transportation, your time, photography, phone and internet, travel, research and development.

Steady Does It
When starting out never be in a rush to sell your work at too high a price. This game is all about quantity at the start. You will sell more paintings at reasonable prices than higher prices at the beginning. The goal is to build up a wide collector base and gain a strong reputation

Reputation and Integrity
Galleries often take 40% to 50% commission. This is very important to remember when selling your own work as one day you may show at a gallery in which case you don't want your work to suddenly double in price. If you are already with a gallery you should never undercut the gallery. You could refer buyers to the gallery who represents you.

Your work should be the same price whether sold through you or the gallery this way you safeguard the value of your work and encourage sales in exhibitions which furthers your reputation as an artist. Majority of buyers prefer to buy during exhibitions because the works are documented in catalogues and invoices which add tremendously to the work's value if the buyer should decide to resell it in the future. You may put them off your work if they realise you having been selling your work out of the studio at half the price.

Your works should increase in value by 10% at least, per year. This minimum would be if you had a quiet year with no or few sales or any major shows. if you had a few shows a successful solo with lots of sales then you can expect your prices to increase between 20-30%. Resist the temptation to jump on the speculation bandwagon. It is important from the beginning of your career to set your prices reasonably, over the years if there's a history of steady price increase, a buyer down the line can understand and have confidence in how your works have attained such a high value in price.

Size Matters
Your larger works should always be more expensive than your smaller ones, it's not that you charge by the inch, but that it is assumed that more work and time goes into larger pieces.

Understand Your Market
Remember a 'BIG MAC' varies in price depending on which country you buy it in. If you show in New York it is understood that your work will be priced higher than in KL and vice-versa.

~Good Luck & Much Love from your friendly Gallerist~

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

This is indeed a good and useful article for up and coming artists. But there's also something else to be added. Art works these days are not just bought by collectors who'd hold unto the piece for a long long time. Investors are also on the hunt. Let me tell you something; what good is an art piece as an investment if you haven't got a place to sell it later? So, my advice is also to seek advice from an expert in the secondary market. This will ensure a safe and rewarding passage.A well appointed agent is like having a good insurance policy.


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