Friday, May 22, 2009

Sound Advice on Pricing Art

Pricing one's art is challenging.

I came across some good advice from Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Did you know that one of the most common mistakes artists make when approaching a gallery for representation is not having a concrete pricing structure for their work? No matter how strong your portfolio is, or how much a gallery owner likes your work, if you show the slightest hesitation or uncertainty about the value of your work you risk your professionalism in the eyes of the gallery owner you are approaching. When you are asked the value of your work you need to have clear and concise pricing structure that you can easily explain to your prospective clients and gallery owners.

When you are ready to start approaching galleries there are three steps you should take to establish the value of your work:

1. Do your homework. Spend some time on the internet and visiting galleries. Find artists who are at similar points in their careers, and, if possible, who are in similar genres. See how they are pricing their work and see if you can find their formula (are they pricing by the size of the piece, by the complexity of the work or by the time they are investing in the creation of the piece?). Understanding your "competition" is an important first step in arriving at a price for your work.

2. Build a strong track record of sales. Find ways to start selling your work. Ideally you will start selling in a gallery, but if that is not possible find an alternate path to collectors. The internet, eBay, art festivals and interior design professionals can provide you with opportunities to begin to establish the value of your art. Remember, the value of art is a perceived value - so as you begin to sell your work you have to create demand to justify the price of your work.

3. Develop a simple, consistent pricing strategy for your work. Come up with a formula that you can easily apply to all of your work, whether you price by the size, or by your material costs, or some other easily measured factor - the key is keeping it simple.

Other considerations when pricing:

You are better off setting your price a little low and then raising it as artwork begins to sell than you would be overpricing and valuing your work out of the market.

Avoid pricing by emotion - your emotional connection to your work is different than that of a collector. Sometimes an artist's least favorite work is the first to sell!

When discussing pricing, either with galleries or collectors, always speak in terms of the retail price. The price you are getting for your work when you sell it yourself will be the same price the gallery will be able to sell it for.

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