Thursday, February 26, 2009

Art and price

On Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 8:57 AM, Linda Larynxslicer wrote:
How 'bout you-guys whipping up some quickies that can go for cheap as compared to your masterpieces? I read that Mary Kaye and other cheap make-up companies are thriving right now, stock going up, because (apparently) women get a boost out of using it, for but little invest. Not clear, however, that this theory might transfer to the art world.
xo xo xo Linda

The art market is different, Linda. Thanks for asking for the quickie though. People often imagine that art is expensive because of the enormous hubris of the artists or our lack of understanding of how the business model actually works, They are vile crustaceans. Here's why.
Lets say I make a painting to sell for $500.00 The dealer earns his half, ( and deserves it too, retail is a lot of work and overhead ) that leaves me with $250.00 A frame will cost me 50.00 I really can't get a frame for that, but lets just suppose....Now I am down to $200.00. If I then back out of that, a very reasonable charge for canvas, paint, stretchers, driving to location ( often distant) and some marketing, accounting, shipping and incidental expenses, let's call all of that
$ 25.00 , (again in the real world it costs more)......Now I have $175. Now lets assume that Mr Obama and that cheery band of tax cheating thugs in congress , were to take, say $25.00 for some stimulants, I am left with $150.00. That's assuming I am in the 10% bracket. Which I am not, because my goddamn social security tax alone is 15%, by it Ponzi scheming self.
How many 150 dollar paydays must I then receive to earn 100 thousand dollars a year? With my mortgage, health insurance, kids in college, debt, medical bills and secret heroin habit, that's what it takes for me to live in the sparkling wonderland of the greater Boston area.
Assuming that every single painting I do works out and then sells without exception, the number of paintings I must sell at $500 a piece is 666 per year, that is, no kidding the actual number ( and oddly enough the number of satanic completion as well ) . That works out to about two a day if I take Sunday mornings off to get down on my knees and thank God for those hundreds of sweating, Mary Kay opaque gypsum foundation plastered housewives buying $500.00 paintings like there's no tomorrow, in the heart of a recession, rather than a Tom Kinkaid bathtub strainer at K-mart. Fat chance!

PS. Thanx for asking though , this will make a swell post for my new blog on art, I will expunge any reference to you of course and place the question into the mouth of a happy little cartoon lobster with a droll Jamaican accent dancing to a churning yet harmless and lighthearted calypso beat.........................Stape


Mary Bullock said...

Well said, Stape!

Unknown said...

I need to have everyone who has buys my art or wants to buy my art read this. It's sort of an education for people I would think. I can't get people who come up to me on the street while I'm painting and say "Hey, I'll give you $5 for that." What do you say to someone so...what's the word, uneducated? Anyway, keep up the wonderful work and the blog is a great bonus. I've been very inspired by your work since I first saw it at the Mary Bryan Gallery.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Hey Walter; I know you! We painted together down in NYC once. You tell em your the real thing. My wife thought this post was waaaay to edgy and I should moderate it some, Tommorow I go back to nice.I don't intend to show my serried rows of little iron teeth very often, but I thought that an impassioned defense was needed. Today folks often think that I pull my prices out of a hat. The proper price for anything is of course, what the market will bear.I have sold many, many paintings for these prices, so why would I not continue? If the dollar grows to be so strong that I have to adjust my prices to play in the market I will.I am more willing to entertain reasonable offers right now, but often people are just trying to count coup on you. they get you to agree to some insultingly low price and then walk away from the deal. You feel destroyed and they feel powerful.Some people are that way,and artist is to them something to be jeered at, I give em a wall of teeth. Little iron teeth. I think it a disservice to my clients who have paid me their hard earned money and with it their respect to not protect their investment. Thanx for the pat on the back......Stape

PS.Incidentally the proper answer is: "Tell you what,I'll trade you for your car"

Unknown said...

That's great, thanks, right on target.
I'll keep looking at your work, you're really good.
And I do remember in NYC, it was the "First Plein Air Paintout in Central Park" right?
Anyway, take care, have a good weekend, and thanks once again for this.

Stapleton Kearns said...

It was I got skunked that day, but my friend Mary Rose Pettis got the gold star. She did a picture of the fountain ( Besthesda? )that would get your feet wet if you stood too close. ....Stape

Todd Bonita said...

This post is hilarious! Love it. I filled sheets of paper with math equations of painting sales scenarios and they all leave me with the same conclusion: me huddled in the corner of my room, nude, eating garbage and screaming, "why..."