This is another of the pictures from Cazenovia, New York that has now been finished and returned to Joe Sosnowski my dealer over there, who will be opening a new gallery next month.
Well, I guess I am going to write some more on pricing your art. It seems that there are a lot of people with the same question and in the same place in the market. Their business model is to sell VERY low priced art to the middle class and do high volume or at least cover enough of their materials to make painting modestly profitable and hope to find their way ultimately to a higher rung on the ladder .
I believe the post I wrote for Fine Arts Views read it here which assumes a dealer in the business plan can still be serviceable for those of you who are not using a dealer,or at least not yet. If you are showing with a dealer I stand by that formula. If you figure out how to set your prices using that formula but don't double it to cover a dealer, it cuts those numbers in half.
For instance, if you were happy to make 10 dollars an hour, ( and you were able to feed your children snowballs this winter) and you could make a painting in an eight hour day, that comes to 80 dollars, if you add to that 50 dollars for a frame and since we are assuming the painting is small 10 dollars for materials you are at 140 dollars to that you need to add at about 50 dollars for the cost of promoting it yourself and your phone bill, and possible shipping.
So there you are at 190 dollars. You still need to be paid something for the art that doesn't work out say 20% of the whole so add that and you are at 228 dollars.If you are participating in an outdoor show or venue for which there is a fee I would go to 300. In fact I would round the number up too 300 just because, frankly, a payday smaller than that leaves no room for any unexpected expenses. You will have those, count on it. So there is what I think the absolute bottom number should be, 300 dollars.
That price is for a small picture in an inexpensive frame that you sell yourself with no commission to a dealer. The old rule of thumb on what an artist can spend on a frame is 5 to 10 % so you are going to have to spent around 30 dollars for the frame.That can be done, but just barely, and only by buying wholesale, mail order. I don't see that coming out of a frame shop.
I have said before I don't recommend playing at the bottom of the market, so in my view this is the starting point. You want to get up from this level and not see it as a viable business model, because I don't think it is. But it is a place you can start. There are going to be people below this price range and you shrug that off. There are people below them too. The Internet is full of unsold hundred dollar paintings. Its not just about price.You should have larger pieces at higher prices as well.
The middle class is an unreliable patron in my opinion but there are a lot of them. The 300 dollar price is about the same as a family trip to the grocery store. It is not a weeks wages for a working man. I have no problem thinking about receiving a month or several months of my clients wages for a painting, you should be open to asking a weeks wages from a middle class wage earner for your paintings. Yes that may mean you will have to make the paintings EXTRA NICE, but that's the idea, I think you need to work towards getting a weeks wages for a painting.
I don't think this is where you want to build a career, this is a starting point and a very shaky way to view the art market. Its not easier there, and its not safer there. You are going to have to learn to make very high quality art to survive in any price structure.
I CAN'T IMAGINE WHY ANYONE WOULD WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH A PIECE OF ART THAT WASN'T VALUABLE.