…does that make it worth a thousand dollars? Or maybe a better title would be Blood, Sweat, Tears, because when you ask an artist how they came about their price structure, it can be a sensitive topic.  Could this be because it is difficult for an artist to distance themselves from their finished work?  After all, original art is not created on an assembly line.  It is one of a kind. We made it with our own two hands. It’s a piece of us.  How do you put a price tag on that?

I know artists who are firm believers in pricing their work according to the amount of hours they spent creating it.  Others price according to size. Some feel it is important to place a higher value on their work,  to be taken seriously by collectors. I personally price my work at a point that I feel is affordable to the average tax payer, although still possibly a small splurge for some. There is no secret formula behind my own pricing method. More so, it involves my personal shopping strategy. It doesn’t matter whether I’m at the grocery store purchasing two for one pineapples, or discovering a sale at my favorite bookstore. I have even bartered, trading artwork with other artists.  For me, the reward of purchasing comes in the treasure hunt!  I realize not everyone shops like this.  Still, it is a good analogy for considering that how one prices artwork is not always a mathematical formula, but often just a personal preference.

When contemplating price point, maybe a good starting point for artists is to ask ourselves why we are creating. Are you finding your reward in the process of making art?  Does your fulfillment come from sharing your inspiration with others?  Is creating therapeutic for you, giving your art added personal value, other than monetary?

There are many reasons why someone may be inclined to purchase a piece of art.  It reminds them of someone.  They are emotionally attracted to it. They like the style.  Maybe it simply matches their sofa.  I suppose there are just as many reasons why an artist assigns a particular price point to their creation.  The good news is, art comes in wide variety of styles,  sizes and price tags.  If you've always wanted to start your own art collection but are worried you can't afford it. Keep looking!  Sooner or later, you're bound to find an original treasure.
sherry Houpt
4/1/2012 09:00:27 am

Excellent points for consideration in this post. Every artist has their own formula for pricing, but sometimes it gets complicated. For collectors, if a piece really "speaks" to them, they may pull out the checkbook without looking very hard at the price too. The joy of owning an original work of art by an inspired artist is "priceless".

5/3/2012 01:42:13 pm

I could never price a hug. I am an artist who loves to create from feeling, I give a little bit of myself in each piece of work, a hug is always hidden in there somewhere. The pricing is always the last thing on my mind. When I price I calculate the time I put into it, and pay myself an hourly rate and consider the size. I will add a pretty penny for materials if the work is finished with mat and frame. I hardly ever account for materials when I work with canvas. I am all about sharing, mostly I find when I sell a work, I am humbled and find that is a gift in itself, to know I have created a joy, that hug for another.


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