Wednesday, June 08, 2005

To price your art - a formula

Nearly all artists start out painting portraits to make money, or these days find work in advertising artwork. Portraits were the one type of art where the topic is of a great deal of value to the purchaser and the artist doing the painting is hardly relevant at all as long as they are competent technically. Rembrandt and Hals both painted portraits door-to-door. Had to make a living, no arts grants those days, either find a patron or paint portraits. Hals employed a special colour of gesso so he could finish his portraits in a matter of an hour and move on to the next one. There were no photographers so this was the only way to have a picture of the folks or children. Miniatures made Holbein and others very wealthy men indeed.

There is a formula I was taught in art school (in the Netherlands, so I'm sure it is taught quite differently here). Base amount is what it cost you in materials including the rent of the atelier and the costs to advertise your existence (business cards, telephone number), add the hourly wage of a highly skilled crafts person (you could use a plumber or master carpenter as a guide) and multiply that by the number of years you have been shown in galleries, - years no one has shown your work do not count unless you have sold a work in that year.

so if:

It cost you $100.00 in materials, and took 10 hours to complete at $ 25. hourly making it total $350.00 and in your career you have been shown for 10 years (including any years you have sold a piece of art/commissions) you can charge 3,500 for a painting.

The same artist in her first year should charge 350 for the same painting and so on. This means the price should never be less than $350, and if you live to be 120 your painting will be priced at 35,000. If it is a gallery selling it they will take 50 to 70% of the price of the painting as a commission, bearing that in mind the artist in the first year should, if the painting is sold in a gallery, double the price if the commission is going to be 50% ($700.00) and so on in that fashion.

on the point of never dropping the price just to sell I agree, this is a frightful idea. I have sometimes dropped the price bartering for something I want from them, so in effect part cash part barter.



Post a Comment

<< Home