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How to Price your Artwork sensibly so it sells

You are the best judge of your art, undoubtedly, but when you are putting it out for sale, you need to consider several perspectives than yours’ alone. Here are a few insights to help you decide in the most sensible manner

Basic Art Pricing Fundamentals:

Step 1: Define your market. Where do you sell your art? Do you sell locally, regionally, nationally or internationally? The art, artists and prices in your market are the ones you should pay the most attention to.

Step 2: Define your type of art. What kind of art do you make? What are its physical characteristics? In what ways is it similar to other art? How do you categorize it? If you paint abstracts, for example, what kind of abstracts, how would you describe them? This is the type of art that you want to generally focus on for comparison purposes.

Step 3: Determine which artists make art similar to yours either by researching online or visiting galleries, open studios or other venues and seeing their work in person. Pay particular attention to those artists who also have career accomplishments similar to yours, who’ve been making art about as long as you have, showing about as long as you have, selling about as long as you have and so on.

Step 4: See how much these similar artists charge for their art. Their prices will be good initial estimates of the prices you should charge for your art.

What you should do

Think like an employer

Here’s a simple formula to start with. You need to hire yourself and decide for a reasonable wage for creating that artwork.

Pay yourself a reasonable hourly wage, add the cost of materials and make that your asking price. For example, if materials cost Rs.1000, you take 20 hours to make the art, and you pay yourself Rs.1000 an hour to make it, then you price the art at Rs.21,000 (Rs1000 X 20 hours + Rs1000 cost of materials).

Think like a businessman

You need to have a basic understanding of how the art business works and how collectors/art-buyers shop and buy. Evaluate the significance and quality of your art in relation to the vast quantity and variety of art that’s on display and available for sale.  The price quoted by you should be approximately in the same range as your ‘comparables’.

For example- If the price quoted by your ‘comparables’ are in the range of Rs10,000 to Rs. 35,000 and you have a comparatively lighter portfolio in terms of number of years, previous work sale history etc., you should price your artwork approximately between Rs.10,000 to Rs. 15,000

And when you price by comparison, compare to what sells and not to what doesn’t.

Think like an Artist

No matter how you set your prices, be competitive. It can’t be too high or too low. Be realistic, price it for the worth of it. When you price your art, you must be able to show that your prices make sense, that they’re fair and justified with respect to certain art criteria such as the depth of your resume, your previous sales history and the particulars of the market where you sell.

What you shouldn’t do

Common mistakes artists make when setting prices
  1. Too much attention on yourself and pricing what you feel right instead of comparing it with the standard market trend.
  2. The mistake of equating price values with vague or psychological factors like how emotionally attached they are to various works of their art or how much angst they experienced while creating them. Placing special meanings and therefore special asking prices on certain pieces that may make sense to you alone but have little or no relation to the selling prices of your art in general. If your buyer doesn’t understand art prices, they tend to shy away.

And lastly, try to offer something for everyone. There might be people out there who love your art and are your biggest fan but can’t afford it. But they should also at least have the chance to take back home a little something. Who knows? They may one day be able to afford your top-of-the-line masterworks.

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