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Chapter: How to Price Your Work
“How much should I ask for my work?” The quandary over the pricing of one’s artwork has to be one of the most frequently asked questions from emerging artists. While I cannot answer the question with a numeric figure, I can offer some things to consider:
Start by researching the prices other artists who sell work similar to your own (original landscape paintings, wildlife art, water color still life, etc.) Compare sizes, quality of work and/or reproduction method, artist history and achievements, etc. Your research could include online websites, art galleries, gift shops and art shows/festivals.
Size of Work
While most artists would agree that the size of the creation should not determine its price, that concept doesn’t always translate to the art buyer. This is particularly true where reproductions are concerned. Most people expect to pay less for a smaller sized print and more for a larger sized print. An exception would be in the case of a limited edition, where the quantity prints in the edition is more important. One print of an edition of ten (1/10) is more valuable than one print of an edition of 500 (1/500).
Is there a “value added” aspect to your artwork? Your pieces could be sold printed on canvas, matted, matted and framed, signed and numbered as limited editions, or even remarqued with customizations by you the artist. All of these things add value to the artwork. For matting and/or framing, the cost of materials (including a markup of 25-50%) as well as your time should be included in the final price.
Limited edition, open edition or original art
Is the artwork to be sold original (one of a kind) or a reproduction? If it is a reproduction, is it limited in some way, such as in the case of a limited reproduction, thus increasing its value? Or is the work mass produced as in open edition prints and posters? Mass reproduced work is priced lower than reproduced work of limited availability. Original works are usually the most valuable pieces, as they are one of a kind.
Resume of the Artist
What are the achievements and background of the artist? A professional artist with an established reputation can expect to ask more for his/her work, particularly original artwork, than an emerging or beginning artist.
Generally speaking, it is easier to start low and raise prices over time as the demand for your work increases. That being said, there are marketing philosophies which caution against pricing your work too low. This is due to the fact that many customers equate a low price with a cheap product. Suffice to say that you should feel proud to sell your work at its given price. If the selling price leaves you feeling “shorted” somehow, then reevaluate and sit with the topic a bit more before deciding on a price.