As a professional artist, you deserve to be paid for your art.
You put time, energy, and resources into creating something that not only you love, but something someone else may love as well. Someone may love it so much so they may want to purchase your work. So, what do you do in this situation? How do you price your work fairly for buyers, while not underselling yourself? Determining the price of art can be difficult. This guide aims to answer these questions.
Establish Your Baseline Costs
Two factors need to be reviewed when creating a baseline for your pricing:
- Your time is money. You need to assign a liveable, hourly wage for yourself.
- The expenses on resources for your artwork. This could include the art materials and fees for exhibit entries or galleries. Additionally, don’t forget to factor in any of your business expenses such as rent, equipment, and subscriptions.
For example, you may assign your hourly wage to be $20. You spent 12 hours making the piece and the resources you bought cost $50. So, that equates to $290 for your baseline price.
Consider the Medium
What medium are you working with? Is it photography or printmaking? Are you making a bunch of prints or a limited run? Or are you a painter, sculptor, textile maker, etc. which may sell unique and one-of-a-kind artworks? People will want to pay more for something unique and can not be found anywhere else. So don’t overcharge them for one of 1,000 identical pieces you made/printed. However, if you make a single, unique piece, it warrants a higher price. Additionally, factor in the size of your work. Is it bigger and used more materials to make? It should probably have a higher price. This doesn’t mean, however, that smaller pieces with a lot of detail can’t have higher prices as well. These are things to consider when pricing out artworks.
If you’re presenting and selling artworks through a gallery, you’ll want to consider how much commission they make whenever one of your works are sold. Most physical galleries typically take 50% commission from a purchased work. However, online galleries can afford to take a smaller commission. For example, Rare Tempo takes a 40% commission. Make sure to factor this percentage so that you still turn a profit in the end.
How to Handle Growth
So you’ve become popular and your work is in demand! But, what does that mean for pricing out your artworks? Demand, too, becomes a factor. If you’re selling half or most of your inventory within a span of 6-8 months, you probably need to raise your prices. Depending on how much demand you have you might want to raise your prices 5, 10, or 20 percent.
Research Your Peers
Don’t hesitate to look into what similar artists to you are charging. It may provide the necessary information on what these artists are charging. Also, don’t feel intimidated to seek out advice from other more experienced artists on the topic of pricing. More established peers may be willing to help walk you through your pricing process.
A Note on Buying
If you’ve ever bought an artwork you know the initial knee jerk reaction when looking at the price is to think, “This is way too expensive for art!” However, it’s important to understand the notes given above. Artists have a lot to think about when pricing, after all this may be their livelihood. So the next time you peak at an artwork’s price tag, remember the artist didn’t just slap a price on their work. They had to factor everything in from time and materials to gallery commissions and still afford to live and continue working.
This guide is merely an introduction to the pricing process for artwork. It’s important to note that many different artists also have different methods for pricing their pieces. However, we hope this will be a great launching point to help you in your own pricing process.