Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How Artwork is Priced

Well, mine at least.

I wanted to expound a little bit on the article I posted the other day. I mentioned that the article explains part of the reason that artwork is so expensive. That reason is the fact that so much effort, energy, and life go into a piece of art. The other reason that artwork is expensive, is that it is expensive to create, and expensive to sell. What many collectors don't know is that when artwork is purchased through most commercial galleries, 50% of the sale goes directly to the gallery. Even through other venues such as restaurants and resort lobbies, a hefty commission is deducted from the sale price. So, in order to arrive at a fair price for artwork, an artist must take many factors into consideration. They have to consider how much money is spent on creating a piece of art. For an oil painting such as the ones that I do, I must factor in the supplies (brushes, paint, canvas, easel, reference material, turpentine, razor blades, plastic drop sheet, paper towel, etc.), the space it takes up in my home, the phone expenses incurred from my business, travel expenses, camera expenses, model and costume fees, and all other overhead expenses. Once that is all added up (it is easiest to figure it out for the entire year), I figure out how many paintings a year I complete, divide the overhead by the expenses, and come up with my base price. It may surprise you how much this adds up to.

The last factor that must be considered is TIME. How much time goes into each piece of art. I don't know many professionals that would work for less than $60/hr or so. But very often, artists are earning $1/hr or sometimes even losing money on every transaction.

Once all the expenses and a reasonable dollar amount per hour are established and added up, that becomes the retail price. For consistency's sake, I like to set an established price for each size of painting that I create. Prices going up as the size goes up. That way, it makes my artwork more affordable for any budget.

So, collectors, now you know why art is so expensive. And artists, now you know how to price your artwork so that you are actually coming out ahead! You may not want to take the time to add up all your expenses, but it is the only way to set a fair price for your work. You may be surprised at how expensive it really is to create your art!

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