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The Creativity Factor and Art Pricing

An artist friend of mine has been accumulating a body of her work and has realized that she wants to market it, yet her biggest challenge is deciding what to charge. Up to this point she had only given her art away.

While altruistic, only gifting one’s work will establish it’s value … At zero–

But she was able to start charging for her paintings, and after selling some pieces, she was beginning to feel confident in her pricing. Then a friend told how much she loved a certain painting, that she just had to have it, and she offered to pay less than half of what the artist was charging. The artist was shocked. The next day, her friend called to say she had reconsidered her offer– and offered her less! So the artist temporarily took that piece off the market.

My first reaction to this conversation was “Never give your art away!” 

But I know this isn’t realistic. I do give my art to my friends.

Really, though, how can you decide the worth of art? I know some artists who use complicated formulas including cost of materials and hours spent creating, and the artist usually ends up making less than minimum wage. These formulas don’t consider the creativity factor. That factor is a feeling that is individual for each artist, the wow effect.

My solution is to look around you. What are people paying for comparable work? What do you feel is a fair price? Then charge or pay more than the price you come up with. Money is meant to flow, and artists should thrive. Sell or pay for a price that makes you feel good.

There is no formula to compensate for the creativity factor. 

Ultimately the right price for art is what people will pay.

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2 Responses to “The Creativity Factor and Art Pricing”

  • Miles:

    My .02: Demographics play a large part in how I price my work. For instance: An art quilt I’m might try to sell here in Bakersfield wouldn’t fetch more than a couple hundred while I’ve recently priced the same quilt for $2,500 (at the curators insistance) in a gallery in San Diego.
    I rarely try to show and sell work locally- the market just isn’t here and I refuse to accept $3/hour for my work.

  • admin:

    Great example! Society seems to think things that are close to home are not as valuable as things from far away. So take that into consideration when setting or paying prices for art.

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