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  • Writer's pictureFrances

Let's Make A Deal (or not)

It's a never ending issue. Pricing the art. Weighing sales against pride. Artists have their own views. So do the prospective buyers. Let's have a look at each point of view.

The Buyer's Perspective

As a buyer, I want to be cautious. It's good to shop around, right? That's what I do with any large purchase. At least I strive to do that. Sometimes my desire to have something gets the better of me and I end up spending too much, or buying something I don't really need.

Go into an art gallery and take a look at those prices! Wow, the artist must have used some expensive materials for that! Some pieces look like it took about 15 minutes to create, all that splatter and swirl. Anyone could do it, really.

Now, there are some artists that I really like. I admire the style and the feel of their art. I would be willing to pay some real money for a painting. It would have to really jump out at me, though.

What I don't understand is how artists price their work. Why does one artist charge $25 and another artist charges $300 for the same sized piece of art? If they are both similar landscapes, how is the price difference justified. Why can't artists follow some sort of pricing rule. Don't they want to sell their art? Overpricing doesn't help there!

Of course, if I go into a fancy art gallery, the prices are what they are. I would never offer a lower price. That would be awkward. But how about at some of these Art Walks? You see a bunch of artists selling their work for all different prices. It doesn't seem unreasonable to try and negotiate price. I can always go on to the next artist. These people want to sell their art, don't they? And I have good reasons for trying to get the best deal. Inflation is crazy these days. Between fuel and groceries and rent, who has a ton of money left over for art? There are always stores like Homesense or Walmart where I can find something inexpensive to put on the wall. And, hey, some of it looks pretty good!

Hey, maybe I will take up painting or drawing and do my own art. How hard can it be? Look at the abundance of artists out there. I could be one of them, charging ridiculous prices.

The Artist's Perspective

It is a constant battle, how to price my art. I don't want to devalue my work! Prospective buyers can be pretty rude and unreasonable at times. It can be frustrating. I get it, not everyone appreciates art, or at least my art.

I am proud of what I do. I try to improve my skills and create something worthy of appreciation. Just slapping paint down isn't what I do. But hey, some artists can do it like no one else! I envy them, sometimes. No, It takes time to get it right. My time is as valuable as anyone else's.

Art supplies are crazy expensive! You can go into an art supply store and spend hundreds of dollars on paint alone! Not to mention canvas, cradle board, watercolor paper, brushes, cleaners, mediums, palette knives, mark making supplies, varnish, palette paper, colored pencils, pastels, ink, sketch pads, easels, and more! It's not like I buy just enough supplies for one painting at a time. It's an investment that keeps on growing.

If I take an art class or purchase an art book, all that knowledge goes into my work. And over the years I have taken many classes and lessons and read countless books. Time and money spent on that is hard to put a value to.

It always annoys me when someone says their relative or friend "does art". Or that my art doesn't look that difficult to do. I know there are so many artists out there and competition is huge! Don't people realize that my art is a part of me? I create something unique and special.

How I price my art is up to me. Sure, there are different formulas and rules I can follow. I could just randomly price my art how I feel that day! However, I try to be methodical and keep my pricing similar for similar sizes of work. If there is a piece that is mixed media, it can be a little more expensive to create, so the price may go up. Every year or two my prices will increase as I learn new techniques, supplies go up in price, and I become better known for my art.

When someone wants to negotiate on price I can be reasonable. Usually I don't have a problem if I feel the person genuinely wants the art but maybe can't afford quite what I am asking. Asking for a deal is not always cool, however. It can be downright insulting. And you can't compare my art to the the next artist down the street.

If you want to pay next to nothing, go to some box store and purchase your "art" there. Just remember the "Art " you buy there is mass produced. Sometimes you can even see the repeated image on the side of the canvas. This kind of art is worth exactly what you paid for it.

Value your creations

It is often easy to reduce the price of your work because you want to sell more of it. You aren't doing yourself any favor. How can you expect your buyers to appreciate your art for what it is worth if you constantly low ball yourself. I have to catch myself sometimes when I see someone looking at a piece of my art. I immediately have the urge to offer a lower price, and the person hasn't even said anything yet! Don't do that! Stick to your guns! Be proud of your original art and don't be afraid to stand up for your pricing. Buyers who have paid full price for one of your paintings will not appreciate you selling your work for less. It does decrease the value of your art.


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