So you’ve finished a series of work that your incredibly proud of. Now what? Whether your hanging your art in a coffee shop, coworking space, or an art gallery, pricing your art realistically is a key part to being a successful artist.
Whether it’s your first time exhibiting your work, or your a seasoned professional, pricing artwork is often a last-minute, difficult decision. When pricing your work, you must start off with the notion that your work has value, and you deserved to be paid for it.
Where to Start
1. Give yourself a fair hourly wage and keep track
2. Add on the cost of materials and any other expenses
If a piece took you 15 hours to paint, you want to get $15 an hour, and the materials cost you $50, you could use $275 as your baseline ($15 times 15, plus $50). Cost of materials would include your canvas, paper, ink, etc. Don’t forget your other expenses like entry fees, framing, website hosting, and so on. If you don’t factor in these costs, you can easily end up losing money!
Another important factor to consider when pricing your art is commission. Most galleries will take some sort of commission (usually a 50/50 or 40/60 split). You need to make sure that you’re still making money after the commission is taken out.
Whatever price you land on needs to be consistent no matter where the piece is sold. You can’t have a piece be $500 in a gallery and only $250 on your website! Galleries won’t like this and most likely won’t work with you again, and customers won’t like that other people paid less for similar work. Remember that consistency is key.
Some artists base their price solely on the size of their piece which makes it easier to explain to potential customers, and makes sense if you don’t spend as much time on smaller works.
Make sure to take into consideration that even if you took longer to create a smaller work than a larger one, customers will expect the price to be lower. This is not always true, but something to keep in mind.
Tracking your sales
Keeping a record of your sales is extremely important! You can use these to back up the prices you quote and when making decisions about raising your prices.
Often times artists get attached to a particular piece and want to price is higher. Sound familiar? If there’s no real reason besides your attachment to raise the price and you can’t bear to part with it, list it as “Not For Sale.”
Your work has value, and you must believe in it and yourself. Many artists compare themselves to others and feel like they don’t belong. That they must charge less because their work isn’t good enough. If your confident and price your work fairly, customers will follow.
You’ve figured out some solid numbers, and now it’s time to really put yourself out there. Being active on your website, blog, and social media is key to being a successful artist. These are the main channels that people will experience your work. Telling your story, sharing the story behind a piece, sharing behind the scenes videos or in-process shots will all increase the value of your piece and make your customers feel more connected to your work.
Nobody can price your work except for you. Be confident, ask for help from fellow artists, and stay active in your community.