Monday, 5 July 2010

Nice Painting! How Much? : pricing art

At a recent local open studio event I was dismayed to hear an artist admit that she didn't know what to say when a potential buyer asked her 'how much'. Not only had she lost a sale but also her credibility and the opportunity to have someone else show and talk about her art. The New York gallery owner and blogger Ed Winkleman has posted some good advice to all emerging artists on how to negotiate the tricky subject of pricing in the early stages of their art careers.

He warns against 'emerging artists setting their prices based on how good they feel their work stacks up against that of artists with more established markets. My sense of that is that your work may be just as good or better (and that if indeed the world agrees, your prices will rise nicely as a result), but to try to set your prices too high before there's actual demand for your work is to ensure you'll need plenty of storage for quite some time. Let the people who snap your work up for a competitive price (not an insanely low price, just a smartly competitive price) start working for you by hanging your work, talking about it to their friends, and essentially promoting you! So long as you keep careful watch on your prices and raise them when true demand justifies it, you'll be so much better off than if you sell fewer works at a price that seemed too high for what could have been your other collectors'.

It is always wise to decide your prices in advance of open studio events and artist run shows. By having a typed price list available you are making your pricing policy and professionalism clear. If you appear to be making something up on the spot collectors will get suspicious and walk away.