Saturday, December 5, 2009

Art and Price, slight return

This post is a rerun, I know. But I have had so many questions of late about art and price, that I thought I would run it again. It was written early in the history of the blog and will be new to many of you.

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


Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

Good post, Stape. One question I would have for you is, what do you think of selling your sketches and not-ready-for-prime-time pieces at a lower price than the equivalent gallery-quality pieces? Some artists I know, to avoid annoying their galleries, will sell some work at lower prices and call them "sketches" or "demonstrations".

JT Harding said...

I took the question as "should an artist have some art priced lower, along with masterpiece high priced art?" These could be smaller, less time-intensive pieces.

Seems to me that you can catch more collectors if you have some paintings that are reasonable in price and affordable to the middle class.

I agree that doing less paintings at higher prices is the ideal, but until you build a reputation and following, this ideal is out of reach for many newer artists. Your thoughts?

Stapleton Kearns said...

I think its a bad idea. Heres why, your dealers will believe you are underselling them. Or worse using them to get people to think your work has one value and then really selling it for another. You need to have consistent prices and DEFEND them.
A demonstration painting is only a demo if you either sell it on the spot or sell it to someone who was at the demo shortly afterwords.
If you want to have low priced original work to sell., do watercolors, drawings or etchings. But keep your oils all the same price.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Let me formulate a good answer for you. I hear what your saying and I want to give a good answer without being cavalier.I amy have to do a post called...."so how do I get there?"

Deborah Paris said...

Hi Stape- I think the comments reflect a reality many are not willing to confront. There are two possible markets for your art - 1)the "midddle class" who are not collectors but, when times are good, will buy lower priced paintings occasionally for various reasons and 2) wealthier individuals who are collectors and can and will buy what they want when they want it. The first group falls out of the market during economic downturns and their purchases aren't consistent enough to allow you to make a living and the second group wants to know your work has value and won't buy it if its priced too low or you sell your B- stuff at a lower prices. You can't have it both ways.

BTW, I just got back from Ft. Worth holiday show at Kornye. One of your pieces is hanging next to one of mine, which I was pleased to see and I covet that nifty name plate on yours! Paula and Kelli say "hi".

Daniel Corey said...

great post! That deserves a beer or a Moxie... your choice..

willek said...

willek said...
Okay, I'm sold. Just who is the best/cheapest Giclee service out there. Any Reccommendations. Just get em off the internet. Email them the files? Who is everyone using. Any giclee horror stories? Stape? anybody?

...and I guess I should get my little etching press fixed and pay some kids to pull prints for shows.

December 5, 2009 12:39 AM

Stapleton Kearns said...

That seems to be an excellent summation.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanx, definitely gonna be a MOXIE though.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I can't recommend a vendor, the guy I used went out of business. I would choose someone local that you could deal with face to face. I think that s essential. I once tried to do business with a printer long distance and it was a nightmare.