I was asked a little while back by anotherartist about how I sell my art... you know... how much do I charge?... who do I sell it to? and so on....so I thought I might share my answers to her with all of you...I hope you might find it interesting...

The Art Scenario

As with all artists, we would love to make a living from our art. As it happens, that scenario is rare. Many people may love your art and praise your efforts, but when it comes to actually purchasing any, the numbers are small.

The biggest mistake is selling it cheap. Once you sell one piece at a low price, you set a precident for all of your art. Cheap art has low creditablity.

Setting a price for your art is a difficult task, there is really no "blue book" price to work from, so you have to rely on guesswork to find one. Then it may be too low or too high... We've all been there.

If you live in a low income area, then there may be very few that can afford the luxury of purchasing art. I live in such an environment. "Pots and Pans" I call it.... For most of these folks it's, buy food, pay rent, buy fuel and have very little left for any luxuries... such as art.

There are people out there however, who can and will buy quality art, the task is to find them.

Is my art good enough?

The best way to find this out is by showing several people a piece of your art they have never seen before. You listen for the magic word - WOW - you can't buy the wow response, you have to earn it. If that it what you are hearing, then it's pretty sure indication that your art is good enough to sell.

Paid by the hour

We wish...If I asked to be paid by the hour for my last picture, I would never have to work again. It is impossible and impractical to consider pricing your art this way.

A Pricing Strategy that works for me

I paint on canvas, using acylics and I now know that art on canvas brings a far better price than most other art. The argument that oils out sell acrylics is a mute one, it all depends on the quality of the finished piece and, to be quite frank, most, non-art savvy people don't know one from the other.

(Note: if you work with other mediums... I will explain more down the track)

I calculate my art price by the inch... usually some where between eighty cents to a dollar an inch.

So, a 30" x 40" painting would equate to $720, I would round that off to $700. Trust me, it works.

If you think that is too high, then try it at fifty cents to the inch (you do the math).

The danger is, that if you drop below fifty cents, you will undersell yourself and set that precident I spoke about earlier. Trust me, I've been there.

What about other mediums?
Other mediums, in particular, Watercolor and Pastels, generally require framing, so the same pricing strategy can be used for them as well. the overall dimensions of the art, including the frame, priced by the inch.

Where to sell

Try tapping into selective markets -

If there is a bike, car, truck, air show or a festival on near you, then design your art so it relates to the show or festival's theme.The same would also apply to dog, horse or flower shows - paint to suit the theme of the show or festival. That's what people are interested in at these events.

You should always add a couple of non-related paintings to your display, this will give the public some idea of the scope of your art subjects. I have taken on several commissions this way.
Some would think that a painting of a rose or a cute puppy would not be the thing to take to a custom motorcycle show, we commonly assume it's only guys that attend these shows. Not so, I have found that they usually have their ladies with them and ladies like flowers and cute puppies. The ladies are the ones you'll find checking out the stalls and art displays. 70% of my sales have been to ladies.
If it's a show or festival near the beach, then do pictures of seagulls, pelicans, the beach it'self etc.
There is hardly a weekend goes by without a festival, fair or show happening somewhere. You may have to travel a few mlies, but it may be well worth the trip.
Check the Internet to find what is happening in your area or state.
It's all about having the right art in the right place.
Galleries:
If you are fortunate enough to find a gallery that will handle your art, then you have to remember that they will charge you a fee. Most galleries will take a percentage of the selling price as the fee. This can be quite often very high and, if you chose the fifty cents to the inch pricing, you will make very little. Generally speaking, you will have a better chance to sell your art if it's in a gallery, but it will limit your returns financially.
Selling Online:
This can a difficult way to sell art, the buyer usually has only a photograph and a description to go by. I have found that most serious buyers will steer clear of buying art this way. They want to see it "in the flesh", particuarly if it has a high price.
In addition, you will, in most cases, have to get the artwork to them if they buy it and that can be very expensive to do. You also run the risk of it being damaged or lost in transit.
I know some that will disagee with this, but I have never really had any great success selling art online.
Posting your art online
An absolute must do... Sites like The Art Colony are a fabulous way to show the World your art. Additionally, It's here that you can let people know what show or festival they can find you at. You can return the gesture by printing a flyer about yourself, your art and the web site and hand them out at the shows.
Having said all that - here is my disclaimer...
All that I have stated here is drawn from my own experiences over the years. There will be some who will disagree with what I have said, either wholly or in part, but that is the way individual logic works.
If you find some of it helpfull, then try it, you'll never know if you don't give it a go...
As an end note I will pass on a piece of advice that was related to me many years ago by a successfull, established artist, he said..." Never do your art for the money, do it because you love it...if you love it, you'll do it well...it will then sell itself"
Cheers

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Replies to This Discussion

I work on a similar pricing guide but first worked out a good estimate of just the paint, canvas and an estimate of other materials used per square inch. Then I added what I thought my time was worth and came out with a 'figure' to multiply the painting size with. Pricing by the square inch works for me and I was pleased to find someone else works this way too so thanks for sharing

Thanks Cliff.....
Yes the per inch works for me... If they can't afford it after that, they couldn't afford it in the first place...
Cheers - Dallas

Great information, thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us.

Dallas,  Thanks.. I just found this group.. and your words were the first thing I read.  Wonderful advice, and mostly things I had already known ( with the exception of the figuring of prices).  My uncle is an artist in California and I have always been around other family members who were 'artistic' as well growing up.  I too have the 'gift or curse', LOL and am very creative.  I do not do canvases like him though, my things are a bit different, although in the art world, different and diverse is what sets the standard.    I have recently been thinking of 'venturing out a bit'... only I have never gone this far out on a limb.  For as long as I can ever remember people have always called me an artist; I would always laugh, to me, it was just 'playtime'... people who actually got paid, made a living at what they did were the ARTISTS.  NOT ME.  But now... I have something that I make using my creativity that I have taken to the owner of a big artist store in southern California while I visited there and I got that WOW.. I got told that it was professionally made, they would sell, where to and not to market them....and why.  She was very impressed.   I was impressed that she was impressed.  Then I came home and got scared thinking... 'I don't know what I am doing!'  I also have some other things that I have done for a while now that I could sell.. again, have put off because in my head had that 'they aren't good enough' thought.  But in my heart know they are... because now reading your post... they had that WOW response over and over from so many people.       So where do I go from here? 

more than a tad confused, scared... in the paint can without a brush!

Hi Karen..
If your work is already getting the wow reaction, then you are on your way.
We artists are our own worse critics at times and that can be both a good and bad thing. If you get yourself over confident then you will hit an artist's block fairly quickly. On the other hand, not recognizing any merit in your own work, can dampen your desire to be creative.
Always consider your best work to be the next one you, that way your creative skills will expand and the wow reaction will increase.
It took me a long time to realise that being artistic is a life long gift, it's in your psyche... you were born with it.  Don't waste it.
There are basically two things to consider, what you like to do and what people like that you do... Sometimes you've got to change your thinking to find your market. 
it' sounds like your art has won the eye of artist store lady... run with it.... ask them what they would like to see you come up with... it's a golden opportunity to create a niche for yourself.
Remember... Never do your art just for the money.. do it because you love it.... if you love it, you will do it well and it will sell itself. 
I hope all that made sense.... Good luck with you venture and enjoy....
Cheers - Dallas



karen knapp said:

Dallas,  Thanks.. I just found this group.. and your words were the first thing I read.  Wonderful advice, and mostly things I had already known ( with the exception of the figuring of prices).  My uncle is an artist in California and I have always been around other family members who were 'artistic' as well growing up.  I too have the 'gift or curse', LOL and am very creative.  I do not do canvases like him though, my things are a bit different, although in the art world, different and diverse is what sets the standard.    I have recently been thinking of 'venturing out a bit'... only I have never gone this far out on a limb.  For as long as I can ever remember people have always called me an artist; I would always laugh, to me, it was just 'playtime'... people who actually got paid, made a living at what they did were the ARTISTS.  NOT ME.  But now... I have something that I make using my creativity that I have taken to the owner of a big artist store in southern California while I visited there and I got that WOW.. I got told that it was professionally made, they would sell, where to and not to market them....and why.  She was very impressed.   I was impressed that she was impressed.  Then I came home and got scared thinking... 'I don't know what I am doing!'  I also have some other things that I have done for a while now that I could sell.. again, have put off because in my head had that 'they aren't good enough' thought.  But in my heart know they are... because now reading your post... they had that WOW response over and over from so many people.       So where do I go from here? 

more than a tad confused, scared... in the paint can without a brush!

Hi Jenny, You are most welcome....
I just checked out your art.... you have a very creative mind..loved them..
Cheers - Dallas

Jenn Rushby said:

Great information, thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us.

Thank you very much, Dallas.

I'm just trying to break into that next step of selling, so your experiences were wonderful to read. 

Dallas Nyberg said:

Hi Jenny, You are most welcome....
I just checked out your art.... you have a very creative mind..loved them..
Cheers - Dallas

Jenn Rushby said:

Great information, thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us.

Hi, Jenn...
There is a growing market for this type of art...
It was popular in the late 1960's and into the '70's... I used to do a bit of it back then....
It sort of disappeared for a few years, but, fortunately, it has now returned and is very popular.
Keep it coming... I like it a lot.
Cheers - Dallas

Jenn Rushby said:

Thank you very much, Dallas.

I'm just trying to break into that next step of selling, so your experiences were wonderful to read. 

Dallas Nyberg said:

Hi Jenny, You are most welcome....
I just checked out your art.... you have a very creative mind..loved them..
Cheers - Dallas

Jenn Rushby said:

Great information, thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us.

Thanks Dallas.... I always do my art, drawing and otherwise because I love it first... in all my years of doing it, I have never sold anything.  This is the first time ever that people have wanted me to sell.  It isn't MY intention to sell... but others wanting it.... I have a commission order right now for a few items.  Also creating a website.. with a few friends scattered across the US who know people who can possibly spread the word... so we will see where it will lead... I also am going to stand tall and take a few to the local places here.... the worst that can happen is "NO".  And I will go by word of mouth by the ones who commission me... and then I have my 'feelers' across the country and my site.  :)   I will maintain a positive outlook.. and worst case, I still have my love of my art in my soul and will always do my art no matter what.. I do not really need the money.. lol
 
Dallas Nyberg said:

Hi Karen..
If your work is already getting the wow reaction, then you are on your way.
We artists are our own worse critics at times and that can be both a good and bad thing. If you get yourself over confident then you will hit an artist's block fairly quickly. On the other hand, not recognizing any merit in your own work, can dampen your desire to be creative.
Always consider your best work to be the next one you, that way your creative skills will expand and the wow reaction will increase.
It took me a long time to realise that being artistic is a life long gift, it's in your psyche... you were born with it.  Don't waste it.
There are basically two things to consider, what you like to do and what people like that you do... Sometimes you've got to change your thinking to find your market. 
it' sounds like your art has won the eye of artist store lady... run with it.... ask them what they would like to see you come up with... it's a golden opportunity to create a niche for yourself.
Remember... Never do your art just for the money.. do it because you love it.... if you love it, you will do it well and it will sell itself. 
I hope all that made sense.... Good luck with you venture and enjoy....
Cheers - Dallas



karen knapp said:

Dallas,  Thanks.. I just found this group.. and your words were the first thing I read.  Wonderful advice, and mostly things I had already known ( with the exception of the figuring of prices).  My uncle is an artist in California and I have always been around other family members who were 'artistic' as well growing up.  I too have the 'gift or curse', LOL and am very creative.  I do not do canvases like him though, my things are a bit different, although in the art world, different and diverse is what sets the standard.    I have recently been thinking of 'venturing out a bit'... only I have never gone this far out on a limb.  For as long as I can ever remember people have always called me an artist; I would always laugh, to me, it was just 'playtime'... people who actually got paid, made a living at what they did were the ARTISTS.  NOT ME.  But now... I have something that I make using my creativity that I have taken to the owner of a big artist store in southern California while I visited there and I got that WOW.. I got told that it was professionally made, they would sell, where to and not to market them....and why.  She was very impressed.   I was impressed that she was impressed.  Then I came home and got scared thinking... 'I don't know what I am doing!'  I also have some other things that I have done for a while now that I could sell.. again, have put off because in my head had that 'they aren't good enough' thought.  But in my heart know they are... because now reading your post... they had that WOW response over and over from so many people.       So where do I go from here? 

more than a tad confused, scared... in the paint can without a brush!

This is so helpful and informative and the best part very practical.I live in India and am an anesthetist by profession but love painting on canvas in oil or acrylic and have put a few of my paintings on a gallery on net.Did not sell anything there and now I understand the reason.Thanks a lot.

Thank you, Namrata ...  you are most welcome.... Enjoy your art.. - Cheers

Dallas, thank you for all your comments. Some I knew and some I learned today. It made sense to me. We have to investigate what works for us and what not. This comes with experience. I know you are an experienced artist. I have not yet looked at your art yet because I'm fairly new to the Art Colony. I also look at my art with a very critical eye, but as a newcomer to this site, I realized that I get comments and WOWs that makes me see my art in a totally different light. Thank you so much and I'm looking forward to your art. 

Dallas Nyberg said:

Thank You, Diane... you are most welcome.

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