rules for pricing your art rules for pricing your art

Rules for Pricing Art: A Simple Guide for Artists

Stepping into the art world, one stumbling block you might hit is figuring out the right price tags for your masterpieces. It’s a blend of art and arithmetic that can leave many scratching their heads..

By adopting the same principles that have guided successful art dealers and galleries, you’ll ensure not only the stability and respectability of your practice but also secure its future.

1. Understanding the Art Economy

  • Educate Yourself: Immerse in the art scene by exploring galleries, art shows, and online platforms.
  • Compare various aspects of art similar to yours.
  • Gather Data: Keep a file of artists’ bios, promotional material, and pricing to reference as you progress in your career.
  • Seek Guidance: Tap into the wisdom of experienced dealers, avid collectors, and fellow creators.
  • Set Fair Prices: Align your pricing with that of other emerging talent in your locale.

Remember to absorb trends, evaluate where your work aligns within the market, and ensure your prices reflect your stage in the art journey.

2. Establish Your Direct Sales Foundation

Before exploring gallery partnerships, ensure your direct sales are thriving. This means:

  • Building a robust customer base
  • Maintaining a sizeable art collection ready for sale
  • Having a proven sales record

Jumping into the wholesale scene too soon can lead to a significant cut in profits, especially with typical gallery commissions of 50%. Plus, you risk locking up your art, which could have sold directly to customers.

3. Develop Your Unique Artistic Identity and Recognition

  • Craft Your Unique Style: Make art that’s distinctively yours. Stand out to fans and fellow artists.
  • Exhibit Strategically: Show your work in places where it’ll get love and attention.
  • Find Your Niche: Tune into a market that digs your vibe.
  • Spread the Word: Use social media and online platforms to show your stuff to the world.

4. Keep Records of Your Costs

It’s crucial to monitor the time spent on both the creation of your pieces and any art business tasks.

Document all your outlays, including both fixed and variable costs—think studio rent, utility bills, professional fees, plus expenses for materials, framing, printing, and photography services.

Don’t forget about travel, website upkeep, as well as postage and delivery charges.

  • Time Tracking: Hours spent on artistic and business activities.
  • Expense Categories:
    • Rent/Utilities
    • Legal/Accounting
    • Materials
    • Framing/Printing
    • Photography
    • Travel/Transport
    • Website/Postage

To figure out your art’s average cost, total these expenses and then divide by your annual artwork output.

This will help pinpoint where to trim costs and boost your profit margins.

Remember, it’s about getting a ballpark figure, not hitting exact numbers.

5. Price Your Art Proportionately

When setting a price for your artworks, a practical approach is to calculate it based on their size. Here’s a quick method:

  • Determine the price per square inch: Multiply the painting’s height by its width to get the total square inches.
  • Get your artwork’s price: Divide your desired selling price by the total square inches.

For instance, if your artwork measures 12 inches by 16 inches and you’re aiming for a $400 sale, the cost would be approximately $2.08 for each square inch.

Using that rate, a larger 24 by 36 inches piece would be priced at around $1,800 after rounding.

Remember, different mediums like prints or drawings on paper usually have a lower square inch rate compared to canvas paintings.

6. Strive to Increase the Value of Your Art

  • Win Awards: Scooping up awards elevates your profile.
  • Gain Publicity: More media attention, more allure.
  • Hold Solo Exhibitions: Your very own shows signal prestige.
  • Join Renowned Collections: Getting your work collected is big league.

These steps not only boost your confidence and polish your sales game but also give buyers solid reasons to invest in your work at probably higher prices.

7. Elevate How You Show Your Creations

  • Exhibit Space: Aim for premium galleries and coveted auction spots.
  • Presentation: Invest in pro-level photography and framing.
  • Online Presence: Maintain a sleek, updated website.
  • Preservation: Use archival-quality materials.
  • Proof of Originality: Provide certificates of authenticity.
  • Endorsements: Flaunt accolades from notable art figures.

8. Get it in writing

It’s key to have a formal, dated document outlining the agreed-upon retail cost of your artwork when working with a gallery.

This ensures you set the price, not the gallery—preventing them from upping the price at their discretion.

Always secure a signed consignment and an artist-gallery agreement to solidify this understanding.

9. Maintain Price Integrity

  • Set uniform prices for your artwork, irrespective of the buyer’s location.
  • Ensure the same retail price whether selling directly or through a gallery.
  • Establish trust by being consistent with pricing globally.

10. Why You Shouldn’t Cut Corners on Art Pricing

Maintaining consistent prices across your studio, exhibitions, and galleries is crucial.

If you undercut your own public prices with lower studio offers, you could tarnish your reputation.

Both galleries and collectors take note of such discrepancies, which could lead to a loss of trust—and potentially partnerships.

Remember to keep online promotions of your work tasteful.

Frequent deals posted on your site or social media can give the impression that your art is less about quality and more about the next sale.

You want your artwork to be memorable for its excellence, not its markdowns.

Consider reading up on strategies to appeal to buyers who value your work, such as the article “Stop Attracting Bargain Hunters to Your Art.”

11. Understand Discount Opportunities

In the art world, museums often benefit from reduced pricing due to the prestige they can bring to your work.

Similarly, professional discounts are available to art consultants and interior designers.

Bulk purchases or regular acquisitions within a short span also warrant bulk buying discounts.

For your loyal clientele, feel free to offer special promotions occasionally throughout the year.

Ensure these offers are communicated privately and remember to include an expiry date to create urgency.

12. Time for a Price Update

  • Consistent Sales? If you’ve been selling steadily for a whole year, think about upping your figures.
  • Sold Over Half? If over 50% of your art is selling out every six months, it’s a good sign.
  • How Much to Increase? Safely boost your prices by 10% to 25% annually; it shows you value yourself and your art.

13. Avoid Emotional Art Pricing

  • Not ready to let go? Take it off the market.
  • High attachment? Label as “sold” or “private collection.”
  • Reappraising later? Offer it again when the price feels right.

14. Adapt to Economic Shifts

  • Experiment with payment plans: Helps customers commit during tough times.
  • Introduce smaller pieces: They can be more budget-friendly.
  • Switch up materials: Opt for more affordable mediums to lower costs.
  • Explore new venues: Sell in different markets if current ones are slow.
  • Diversify your skills: Consider teaching, speaking, or creating commissioned works.
  • Add value to your art: Utilize strategies from earlier in the article to enhance worth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *