Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers is back with its second installment of Public Art Programmes in 2012
January 2, 2012
Are you an artist in for the money or just to be famous or both
Are you an artist in for the money or just to be famous or both?
January 9, 2012

Pricing your arts

As an artist, one of the biggest challenges in your creative career is in the pricing of your artwork. Where money is an influencing factor in positioning your art and your name, it does not represent everything that your career is moulded on. One of the most important element that you must consider here is to ensure that you price your artwork well so that it is affordable and yet does not discredit any of your work and efforts.

First of all, you have to understand how the business dynamics of the art scene. If you are represented by galleries then you must factor in the percentage they are taking so that you do not operate at a loss. For a start, this is possible as you might be out to establish your body of work in the art world but once it becomes more than just reputation, which means that you are starting to rely on selling your artwork for your livelihood and survival, then the money factor becomes more significant.

Galleries can sometimes be ‘bullies’ where sensing the desperation of artists, they tend to bully you into agreeing a higher percentage for themselves. That is because you do not have the bargaining chips. Established artists would be able to discuss for a smaller percentage for the galleries but if you are an aspiring one, you might have to take what is given to you.
With that, you will have to now decide how much you are willing to sell your art. This could range from hundreds to thousands depending on a few factors. First of all, collectors are the customers to the galleries and in some cases, they are very much prone to listen to what the galleries tell them. Some collectors have a specific interest in a specific artist while some might just go along with what the galleries have to offer.

Always remember that galleries are typically business operations. This means that they maintain a full set of profit and loss accounts and they need to stay afloat. Some are doing better than others while some are merely surviving. They will know the best time to sell what products. If you are unsure, then you ask them for assistance in pricing your art. Accept their recommendations as long as they are not too low because at the end of the day, there is no reason to operate at a loss anyway.

Look at the industry. See the size and price set by other artists around your segment. You must know where you stand in the industry currently and then gauge their pricing. It is then ‘safe’ to price your art around this bracket. Some artists like to put a price on their work based on how much that particular piece mean to them. This is, although logical but not practical. Collectors do not really care how much the piece means to you, they only care how much it means to them. The rule of thumb here is to first examine yourselves, where you stand in the industry and then check with the ‘experts’. From there you will not be suffering with too low a price or not selling for being too expensive.