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.
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.
Hi Dallas, thanks for sharing your experiences with us. I for one truly appreciate it!
I trust the festive season has treated you well and I wish you the very best for 2015!
I spent my festive season diligently organising a spread sheet on the most common sizes I use, based on the $/inch or in my case per cm basis. I also varied my pricing according to the technique used as I figured photo realistic work should be more expensive than less intense work. Do you agree with that, by the way?
The thing is, I was quite taken aback by the amounts that presented themselves and I am wondering if my prices are not too high.
Please will you be so kind as to judge some of my work and give me an indication of what you feel it should sell for? No pressure, this is just a gut feel thing. Please look at 3 pieces for me and please contact me should you need any more info on the mounts, etc. The three pieces I would greatly appreciate your input on are: Saffron, Best friend, Best tutor and one of the seasons, say, Spring.
I look forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance! :)
I sell whimsical art...it does sell! :)
Gail Dennis said:
Dallas, thank-you so much for taking the time to post this wonderful information. I found it very informative and helpful. Being a new artist I find that I am my own worst critic and for this reason tend to price my work low. I guess I feel that whimsical art won't bring the prices that realism does. What do you think?
Dallas thank you a million times for your advice. It opened my mind on how to treat my art. Hope to hear from you again.
Thanks for the info Dallas! I live in South Africa and selling art here is a bit of a challenge. I am really no good at marketing my work and I price my work way too low, but I always feel sorry for the person who really, really wants it, but just can't afford it. I am definitely going to try the inch by inch (in my case that would be centimetres) method of working out my price. That sounds much less complicated that trying to figure out the value of an artwork based on "feel". Does the price per inch/centimetre differ according to the medium? Do you determine that price on cost? I read Michael's comment, but I am USELESS when it comes to anything that becomes close to mathematics and a spread sheet sounds too close to home for me. :-D Thanks again for the very helpful article.
Dallas Nyberg, thank you very much for your posts. I am still learning and relatively new at painting; self teaching myself the past 3 years. I have no idea at all how to price my originals and am reluctant to actually put a price on anything. Your suggestions are not taken lightly and I hope you have made a nice profit on your beautiful artwork. These discussions are very helpful. tata for now!