Art Marketing Online Art Blog
One question we hear frequently from artists is about how they should price their art. Our in-house art consultant, Carla Santia, posted a blog back in November to help answer this question artid.com/members/carlablog/blog. I think it's important to continue to have this discussion and to learn from other artists from around the globe how they handle pricing their work in different markets. Below is a question posed by one of our members, Mary Exline, and ArtId Staff member Mary Lawler's answer. Please feel free to comment as it would be nice to post a follow up with guidelines based on an international artist audience point of view.
4.25.08 Mary, I've been thinking about my prices and others' prices. It seems to me that my prices might be too high. In the area where I live, these prices that I'm charging do not seem too high. This was the measure I was going by. I look at the sizes of the works of others such as 26×36, etc. and the price is $100. Are they giclee's? They don't say. My pieces are smaller than theirs. I can't imagine selling so cheap. I had 2 that were $50 including the frame. My framer said that is way too low. Of course they are, but I was advised by a market person to ask low prices on some pieces, as this will encourage people to buy. Then they will be willing to spend more in the future. I've had that experience buying clothing. Perhaps, here on this web site, I should lower the prices? Then if I have my own web site, I can raise prices. Another artist asked me one time regarding a piece of work, would I be happy to receive $400 for it instead of $600? And I thought, yes, sure. What is your opinion? Mary Exline artid.com/exlinem
4.25.08 Hi Mary, Ah, the old price conundrum. I hear a lot of theories and methods and formulas but with art, there is no hard and fast answer. I would advise that you look at other artists that you feel are similar to your style and technical level. See what range they are charging. I don't put too much stock in geographical area anymore because people buy art from all over the place now.
I would absolutely make sure that if you want to sell some stuff off at a lower price, I would let it be known that it's reduced price (for whatever reason) and make sure you are at LEAST getting back fair market framing costs. I would also add that your prices must be consistent across the board, no matter where you are selling it, and that includes any galleries. You will have to forfeit half to the gallery but that's just the way it works. Clearly identify whether a piece is a print or an original, comes framed/matted or matted/unframed.
Stick to your guns. I know it's hard when someone asks you if you will take less money. It's tempting to go for it, but unless you are having a tag sale....say no. The price is the price. If you accept less, then the art is devalued and it sets a precedence.
$50.00 is too low for a framed piece. If something is 26 × 36 for $100 then it is a print and should be marked clearly so. Marketing strategy that works for other products (clothing) does not necessarily apply to art. Marking a couple of pieces down as a "lost leader" isn't a good idea. It's OK to have smaller pieces in a lower price range to make your work available to some that might love your work but can't afford the larger pieces.
Have confidence in your work and it's worth. That will translate to your customer and they will better understand and appreciate their purchase.
Mary Lawler artid.com/marylawler