So you want to find out how to price your work accurately? It is definitely something to think about if you are selling your artwork. You see YouTubers, influences and other artists talking about how to price art using simple methods. It’s actually not that hard, and many established artists try to make it appear over-complicated. Having sold art myself and having seen how it actually works, I could see straight through the nonsensical, ambiguous talk. It’s as if artists are trying to hide this idea that’s fundamental to pricing work. That’s why I wanted to address it in this article and explain how to figure it out in one simple go.
Of course, it’s insightful to learn about how other artists are pricing their work, but most of the time their theories are drawn out and you never really get to the point. Oh, and when you do, you realise one thing – That their method works for them because it has been proven to work on them. It remains their method because it only really works for them, at their level and stage as an artist. These artists all preach the same thing. This will be explained the further down you read. You’re likely to see artists reiterate the obvious – Add up the total expenditure of your materials, and how much you would pay yourself per hour = price for the art. Surely that can’t just be it? Trust me, it’s not.
There is a lot that goes into pricing work. But as a beginner, the best way to figure this out is not by looking at other artists, it is simply by looking within yourself and emotions. More established artists know this, but rarely reveal it because the idea is quite egocentric, and they don’t want to appear this way, for obvious reasons. So lets get down to understanding the principles…
If you produce a painting that you would let go for 300, but would start to feel uncomfortable dropping to 260, instantly you should know to price that painting for at least 300. Signs of discomfort and uneasiness should tell you everything.
So why may you want to ask for more than 300? (in this example) Let’s say that you have moderate social media following and this painting is appears to be getting more attention than your other paintings. The more attention a painting gets, the high perceived value it has.
With your 300+ painting for example, there is a high demand, and within that crowd of potential buyers, a handful of people with the disposable income to spend on your art. You will always have potential buyers at every price point but know that the serious ones are likely to spend the most. It’s worth noting that you should avoid raising your prices all the time as this will put off your potential clients. And when you do so, ensure that there really is a high demand. Don’t get too cocky! As a beginner artist, you want to make your artwork available for everyone. I love that my collection invites a variety of potential clients.
This is why most popular influencer artists and famous artists can sell for what seems like extortionate prices, and they have every right to. Popular artists can get away with selling for higher prices because they have a trusted following. Now do you think that they would want to tell you that. It’s self-explanatory, but artists need to be reminded that this is a game of popularity too. Unfortunately.
If you notice that your painting is getting more attention, subconsciously, you are therefore going to want to sell it for a higher price. The importance of the artwork goes up as more people start talking about it and show an interest . Increased importance equals increased value. It’s very simple. You are essentially paying to rid of the remorse after losing a painting. Think about how much that would cost.
The notion of perceived value is a bizarre concept. If you want me to explain this further, feel free to contact me! But ultimately, psychology plays a huge part in this. If you price a painting for 400 that you may have previously perceived as much lower, you have automatically added value to that painting - just by pricing it that high. I know, shocking. Price it at 1000, viewers may be inclined to search you up. You may be established online. Price it at 3500, you are very well established or well known in the art community. But price it at 25, the assumption implies you are a beginner artist. Unfortunately, a huge turn off for buyers and many collectors. Why is this painting priced so low? What is wrong with it? Is what they may think.
(I’m using these prices as examples that is applicable to beginner artists. In some cases, a low price could be in the hundreds or thousands)
Think about this the next time you price your artwork. If you find that adding your expenditure and profit together gives you a satisfactory price to sell at, then by all means go for it. You just need to avoid being in a remorseful state after a sale. Remember to look within. It can be very damaging to you, and you may go on thinking that you have to stoop to crazy low prices just to make a sale. Its perfect, if you do this as a hobby and not too worried about making a living of your work; but not the best option for those looking to build a career as a prolific artist.
I imagine that many of you fellow artists have thoughts on the matter of pricing art. Do feel free to share them below. How do you price your artwork?