By Brenda Innes, Camberwell Art Show Curator
Several years ago when I was managing The Australian Guild of Realist Artists and advising artists who were launching their professional artistic careers I saw the need to write the following.
Over the many years of my involvement with art and artists one of the most vexed issue artists have raised with me has been ‘how do I price my art?’
My response has always been: ‘The only person who can accurately price your art is yourself and you should not divest this responsibility to someone else.’
However, some points to consider when pricing artwork are:
- Some artists at the start of their career opt for pricing their work by calculating a third to the framer, a third to the gallery/show and a third to themselves, That’s OK, but a more professional (but harder) option is to compare your work with other artworks.
- Visit several general art exhibitions or look online and note the price of same sized artworks by artists of a similar standard to your own.ie know where your art ‘sits’ in the commercial art world. By the way, all art is commercial if it has a price on it so don’t be too precious about being called a commercial artist!
- Make sure you receive more from the sale of your artwork than you give in commission or pay to your framer! And don’t forget to include your materials and delivery costs in your pricing.
- For this reason don’t overframe your artwork. Apart from ‘over elaborate’ framing being a ‘turnoff’ for some potential buyers, expensive framing can place your artwork in a price bracket that does not compare favourably with other artwork of a similar size [refer to another article at the Camberwell Art Show website titled “Framing Tips for Exhibition & Sale”]
- When first exhibiting your work in a commercial environment the advice is to pitch your price lower and once you gain experience/exposure/awards and most importantly, sales, gradually increase the price.
- Be objective and consistent with your pricing with smaller works cheaper than larger ones and the same sized works being the same price regardless of whether you consider a particular work to be better than another or took longer to paint than others of the same size – this confuses the public who may not appreciate the extra skill or may prefer a painting that you don’t think is as good. This is also a reason for always framing in the same manner.
- It is advisable not to decrease your price if you have sold at a particular price for the same sized At best you confuse potential buyers and you can lose credibility with your buyers who may be reluctant to purchase your art again.