“I have no idea what to charge for this piece.”
This is something we hear fairly consistently when artists bring their work to the gallery to be displayed. As an artist or creative, it’s often a struggle to put a price on something that we feel, over the process of creating it, has become an extension of us. How do we boil down what we love to do into a figure that is fair to the artist, the gallery and the buyer? Do we overshoot or undercut?
Creating a pricing system for yourself will not only allow you to walk into a gallery or art fair with confidence in your prices, but it will allow you to be prepared when someone asks the inevitable question, “Where did you come up with that number?” If done correctly, a pricing system is also a valuable record-keeping tool that can help your artistic business grow.
Let’s jump right in shall we? While size and medium are two main factors in determining the pricing of a piece, there are many intangibles that go into pricing that need to be considered, some of which can only be answered by you, the artist.
Consider your skill and where you are in your artistic career.
Are you just now beginning to forge your path and have only taken a handful of classes, but are still developing your style as an artist? Or have you been expanding your skills for years, developed your own techniques and have even begun teaching others in your medium? Like your typical “9-5”, the longer you have been in a position, the more likely you are to advance and receive additional responsibility and pay. Your artistic career works the same way. If you’re just starting out, you’re wanting to get your name out there which means you’ll need to price your work to sell in order to create a market for yourself. If your skill is highly developed and you’ve been consistently producing work for some time, you’ll need to take your experience into consideration.
Consider your goals as an artist.
Do you create on the side out of sheer joy and passion? Do you have debt that you’re looking to whittle away? Figuring out why you create will determine how important pricing your work will be. Do you need to be a little more serious about setting a price that will assist in chipping away at your mortgage or can you afford to price your work in a more casual way.
Consider the amount of time it took to create the piece.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your finished piece…well, usually. It takes time to create and time is valuable. This is where things can get sticky because if you’re anything like your average artist, you probably get lost in your process and therefor lose track of time. Try setting “office hours” for yourself while working on a specific piece. Mark the time you began, the time you finished and any breaks in between. Like being in a class with a compressed timeframe, keeping time on your piece will allow you to really focus on your work while knowing exactly how much time went into its creation. Think about an appropriate hourly wage for your time and work that into your pricing system.
Some additional things to consider when pricing your work:
-Take a look at the art market in your area. What are similar pieces selling for (or not selling for)? Of course you can never know the amount of time that went into creating the pieces or the exact brand of paint used, but you can get an idea of what people are spending on what type of pieces. When in doubt...ask.
-Keep a price list and document everything you have sold. This can help you explain why you’ve priced a piece a certain way and will also assist in determining what price point sells the most.
-Know your materials. Keep track of everything you purchase for a piece. A new brush, that tube of heavily pigmented paint, that slow-cool glaze you couldn’t live without…all of it. Keep your receipts and rope those costs into the final price for the piece.
-Remember to factor in any commission. If you’re displaying your art in a gallery, industry standard for commission is around 50%. So factor this amount in when you’re contemplating your bottom line. Depending on what you’d like to receive, you might need to mark your price up.
Of course, in the end, you can price the piece for whatever you would like. Art is subjective and even after all of your price calculations, in the art market, the piece is really only "worth" whatever someone is willing to pay for it. Don't be discouraged! What doesn't sell now may sell later and vice versa. Figure out what works best for you.
These are tips we've compiled from a variety of sources and have found to be useful to us. If you have any ways that you've streamlined your artwork pricing process, we'd love to hear them. Feel free to leave a comment below!
Storytellers January 27 2017, 0 Comments
The focus for our gallery shows for the 2017 year, which happens to be The Bay School’s 20th year of operation, is community. The relationships, stories and passions that we each have that are brought together to make our local community a vibrant and inspiring place to be. The “Storytellers” show is now on display in the Art Speaks Gallery, with work from eleven of our Teaching Artists. They have shared their journey both visually and with the written word.
As Kathleen Noffsinger, one of the artists on display, put it, “Come for the art, stay for the stories.”
Here are a few snippets from the stories of a few artists that will inspire you to come out and see what it’s all about:
“This envelope of negatives was intriguing because it was family, plus the compositions were interesting, as were the subjects. Although black and white images, I imagined the colors of the 40’s in the wall paper patterns, upholstery and clothing. I thought it would be fun to interpret these paintings, trying to reverse them just as computers were becoming a household item. The instructor of the painting class showed me how to scan and reverse the negatives on a computer. However, I enjoyed the challenge of using the negatives. All of this was to later influence my decision to work with black and white references for my color paintings.” –Adele Castillo
“My story will never end…it will continue in my art that is displayed in homes and galleries and handed down to future generations… and in my students’ work that is displayed in homes and galleries and handed down to their future generations and so on and so on.” –Kathleen Noffsinger
“I became fascinated with Persian miniatures, and particularly a tiny little angel (whose Persian name was Sorush) in the corner of one illustration. This resulted in 14 angels in colored pencils, cut out and placed on gold backgrounds with spacers to look as if they were floating over the paper. Eventually, I also did acrylic paintings of them.” –Linda Hollett-Bazouzi
“We finally settled in Hampton Va with our two children. This is where I found the art store down the road, “Pauls’ Arts & Crafts”. I wanted some paints and art supplies, so we managed to find a little money somehow and went shopping. I bought an easel, oil paints and supplies, some drawing pencils and books…I quickly found out that I do not like oil paints. The smell and mess was too much trouble, but I continued to draw and sketch.” –Virginia Coyle
Thank you to everyone who came out for the show this evening. We’ve received rave reviews and many have spoken about how the show has inspired them to share their own stories through their work. If you attended the show, we’d love to hear your thoughts both in the comments section and on Facebook.
Thank you for your support of the artists, their work and for your support of the Bay School as a whole. We truly appreciate each and every one of you!
New year, new look and a brand new schedule for the 2017 show season! We here at Art Speaks Gallery are incredibly excited to share with you all the many changes that we’ve made over the two weeks that we were closed. The most noticeable change would be the color we’ve added to the gallery. The goldenrod color has been changed to a breezy, beautiful “Kentucky Haze” by Benjamin Moore and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the impact it has made. We updated the color of the front doors to “Smokey Mountain” by Benjamin Moore, which is easy on the eyes and makes the brass fixtures “pop”. We’re in the process of revamping our jewelry cases with updating the exteriors and installing some driftwood displays. The built-in benches in the front windows have been stripped down to the natural wood and will, eventually, be stained to match the benches in the gallery and some of the aluminum and glass displays have become copper and glass displays.
Our two work weeks certainly went by quickly and we’ve still got some gallery improvements tucked away for the future, but things are really coming together and, already, we’ve received several compliments on our new look. We hope you’ll stop in to the gallery to take a look at all of the changes and stay a while to look at some of the new artwork we’ve got up on the walls.
Speaking of artwork in the gallery, next Friday (27th), you’ll want to join us from 5-7pm as we celebrate the opening of our “Storytellers” show, which you can find out more about here. Drinks and light refreshments will be served, several artists participating in the show will be here and Dale Peterson (gallery/teaching artist) will be reading from one of his books. It’s the perfect pre-dinner event! The next day, teaching artist, Doris Hackworth, will be giving a demo on the potter’s wheel beginning around 11:30.
Just a brief note: we’ll be posting gallery updates, articles about the art world, Art Speaks show & event information and interviews with gallery artists every Friday. So be sure to check back with us!
Featured artist for May is Dennis Rundlett. He has been an Art Speaks artist for quite some time and is admired by many. He will be doing a demo to support the Art Speaks Gallery and to show off his skills for shop local day sponsored by Chesapeake Bank. He will be offering 20% off all his work for the month of May, we will also have 10% off the art supply store fore shop local day, and bogo on stress night when you buy in person.
this is all "happening" on the 19th of May, so don't miss out!
The Bay School welcomes artists Jack Banks, Marnie Williams, and Susan Hill to the Art Speaks Gallery just in time for Market Days! Come check out their paintings and pottery...