This is a sensitive subject and one that is on every artist's mind. Before selling my art in galleries and on my website, I had to do a lot of research. Here is what I have found and use!
No matter your medium and level of expertise, your prices should be consistent with what is out there. After all it is common sense, no one wants to over pay (not just for art, but for everything in general) and something too cheap will look ... well, cheap!
So here is how to proceed step by step
step 1 - Look for other artists's work that are in the same medium and if possible in the same genre than yours. Look at their resume, where they exhibit. To some extent, could this be you and your work? Yes? Then select 6 to 10 artists you can relate to. To help you in your research, visit websites such as Bluethumb, Saatchiart or Artsy. For crafters, Etsy is a good place where to look.
step 2 - Write down the prices of these artists' works and organise your numbers per artwork size, from cheap to expensive. You will end up with something looking like this.
step 3 - Choose your best piece of art and see where it sits in this price range. Look at the dimensions too and do your maths.
step 4 - Are you new to selling your work, with only a couple years of practice in your medium? Look left towards the less expensive price range. Or on the contrary, you have more experience? Look towards the right and price your work accordingly.
step 5 - Once you have found your retail price, keep it consistent through the different sizes of your work. For example if you have priced an A3 work (29.7 x 42cm = about 1250cm²) at $300, do your maths and price an A4 (21x29.7cm = about 624cm²) proportionally: (624cm² x $300)÷ 1250cm² = about $150.
Your price should cover your material cost, studio expenses, shipping and insurance. It should also include the commission of the gallery .
Keep your price identical, do not vary your prices between galleries, website, social medias or private displays. Your buyers will look around, if they see you art being sold cheaper elsewhere, you will make very unhappy costumers.
image source: imd.org
The price you have decided upon should include a margin to give you room to negotiate. It is common practice. Buyers will ask for a discount. Show your good will by negotiating a little. Your yes attitude will win them over and they will leave happy, having saved a little. You insure they will come back for more, perhaps with some friends willing to purchase too. Everyone will gain from it. And if they don't ask for a discount, ah well, all the better for you then.
Keep your prices consistent. Some artists price according to their feeling of what an artwork is worth. Your feelings about your art are personal, buyers will see things differently. Don't drive them mad by pricing an A4 work twice the price of an A3 piece just because you think it is better. Stay consistent (as long as you use the same medium from one work to another, of course).
Do not sell cheap. This is detrimental to your work and reputation. You are setting up your collectors for underpaying you. Your smaller format will be cheaper than your larger ones, so if you want to make your art affordable, create smaller pieces instead of decreasing your prices.
It will take time and efforts to grow your collector database, be patient and stick to your guns. Good luck!
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