How do you put a price on your artwork? This is one of the most challenging questions you’ll ever face as an artist. After all, no one else knows the hours spent planning, preparing, and producing the piece of art in question. Nobody sees the blood, sweat, and tears that you pour into every canvas. And so, no one can understand just how valuable your art really is. And yet, if you don’t price your art well, you’ll wind up with a stack of great art that you’ll never be able to sell.
When pricing your art, you’ll want to be as independent minded as possible. You should do your best to look at your art dispassionately, using objective criteria to come up with a reasonable amount. And you’ll want to think about things from the perspective of the consumer and the larger art market, not just your own.
Yes, pricing your artwork is tough. But it is possible. And when done correctly, you’ll be able to sell more of your work and actually make a living doing what you love. So, as you try to determine the price for your latest masterpiece, keep these four things in mind…
Know What to Sell (and What Not to Sell)
For most artists, their artwork is more than just paint on a canvas. But some pieces are more sentimental than others. It’s important to keep this in mind, since your closeness to a piece can majorly impact the value you place on it.
For example, if you created a piece of art immediately after the loss of a loved one. There may be aspects of the work that reflect and draw from that loss. As a result, the art can become entwined with that experience, increasing your attachment. Because of this closeness, you may feel as though its value is higher than any of your other work. But to someone who doesn’t have that attachment, it’s just another piece of art.
So, if you feel particularly attached to a work, don’t assume you have to sell it. In fact, you may want to keep those kinds of artwork off the market entirely.
In short, know what you can sell and what you can’t.
Don’t Just Compare Art & Price Tags
While making comparisons to others in your niche is inevitable, it’s not a good idea to look at the biggest sellers and assume you are on par with them. Even if your artwork looks just as good, name recognition and career accomplishments go a long way toward increasing the value of a piece of art.
So, when you price your art, don’t just look at the art and the price tag. Compare careers, accomplishments, track records, and trajectories to come up with a more accurate price that will attract buyers instead of turning them off.
Remember: You Are Not Special
Everyone likes to think that they’re special and unique. But to art collectors and the rest of the art market, you’re just another person making art. Even if you feel like your technique or methods are one-of-a-kind, it’s almost certain that they aren’t.
But that’s okay. You don’t have to be the most unique artist out there. Just being you is good enough. So, don’t assume that your artwork should be valued at astronomically higher prices than the competition because of your distinctive style. Keep a more moderate perspective as you look at your work and consider a price.
Justify Your Price to Yourself (and Others)
Pricing your artwork isn’t as simple as picking a number out of thin air or adding up the hours you spent working and multiplying it by your preferred dollars per hour. It would be great if it was that easy. But if you go that route, there’s a good chance you’ll never sell your work.
So, choose a price based on objective criteria, current market trends, and your artwork’s past performance. Have clear reasons for giving your art the price you do. And when a prospective buyer shows up, be prepared to articulate those reasons. You’ll be much more likely to close the sale at your preferred price if you can explain it to the buyer.