Home > Artist Tips, Uncategorized > Artist Tip: Pricing & Nosy People

Artist Tip: Pricing & Nosy People

Did you sell that piece?

If anything is almost as annoying as fake checks and attempts at fraud,  it is nosy people.  I run into them so much, I don’t get too excited over responses for listed paintings.  Be aware that if you have your work for sale, especially in an online outlet, that email inquiries and calls asking if your work is still available could just be other artists fishing for free information.  Namely, they want to know if you sold the work and met the price you wanted for it.

This is really rude.  Please do not email data fishing messages to other people; it wastes their time.  It’s unprofessional.  There are no hard-and-fast rules about pricing your work.  People use various strategies, sometimes formulas of the time and cost of materials, etc., to price their work.  Some artists can raise their price if they find they are meeting sales at a certain level; some people have lowered their prices to adjust for the bad economy.  One professor that I know joked that he may get five thousand for his painting but the time and labor invested means he walks away with fifteen cents an hour.

I have found that pricing is pretty random.  Pricing is variable by region, intention and expectations of the artist versus the chances of finding buyers in the world at large.  I once bought a gorgeous Raku vase that I literally love for a heart-breakingly low amount in a rural area; a Chicago gallery could have sold it for 300 – 500% higher price.  I was thrilled to find a piece so fine at a price I could afford, and the ceramic artist was thrilled someone wanted her work.  Pricing is hard.  If you are just starting out, go as low as you can, maybe ask a little over the cost of materials.  If you have been around for a while, ask advice from people in your area.  I have decided to hold my prices at a certain level because I want people to buy the art for the sake of the art itself and not as a disposable interior decorating item.  If people lay out a substantial amount of money for a piece of art, they are not going to throw it in the trash when they decide it does not match the new curtains.  It may take some time and experimentation to learn how you should price your art.  You ask the price you want and perhaps find a taker that meets your price.

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Categories: Artist Tips, Uncategorized
  1. January 10, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Very nice post!

    • January 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      Thank you very much. I am indebted to Shodo, one of my Basset Hounds, for her participation in up close camera-phone imagery.

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