Pricing Your Artwork: Part One

Mr. Brainwash
(photo of Thierry Guetta, aka: My Brainwash, by Gregory Bojorquez)

When pricing your work it’s good to consider how long you’ve been selling your art. Perhaps you haven’t made your first sale yet or maybe you consistently sell two originals every month. It should be obvious that if you’ve never sold your work before it would be wise to charge less than a person that’s been selling consistently for fifteen years.

Unfortunately, a lot of artists new to selling see work that is similar to their own at high prices and assume they should charge the same. Just because your work is similar you must keep in mind that the other artist has worked long and hard for years to arrive at their prices. There is a good chance they have a long list of collectors, have received some press and also have representation in a reputable gallery (or several) as opposed to selling out of their garage or on a street corner. In a sense, they have paid their dues and know what people are willing to pay for their work. A lot of big name artists are in such high demand that they even have waiting lists of collectors standing by to snatch up the next available piece. If you are just starting out there is a good chance you don’t have any of those things. I know that sounds harsh, but that’s the reality and we all have to start somewhere. Don’t worry, if you keep it up you’ll get there too.

Of course, I always encourage artists to know the market their work fits into and researching what else is out there. It’s good to know what similar art is selling for so you can set goals and work towards those higher prices. Be realistic with where you’re at in your art career and price accordingly. If your work sells out fast then you know to price higher the next time around. Remember, if your work does sell fast don’t feel like you got ripped off or cheated. There is a bigger value than you think in having your work out of your studio and out in the world to be seen. Also if your work does sell fast you now have bragging rights to say your show sold out, which will create more demand for your work in the future.

If you’re a mid-career artist or a full time professional I think it’s safe to assume that you’ve figured out this whole pricing thing by now so if you have any tips and pointers for artists new to the game please leave a comment.


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