Here's a video about why I price my art the way I price it.
Below the video is the entire transcript,
if you'd rather not watch the whole video, here's a summary:
I do not price emotionally. I price my art consistently. I do not EVER run sales on any of my original artwork. EVER. So you can be confident that you paid the same price everyone else pays. My current price is $6 per square inch, which includes the delivery experience, where I hand deliver artwork and we plan to spend a day together. My price increases steadily as my skillset rises, along with demand and cost of living/ art supply costs increase. The only time I am able to possibly offer a discount, is if a customer requests specifically not to have the delivery experience, in which case, that customer is responsible for and assumes all risks of their chosen delivery method. The delivery experience, ensures that I personally deliver your artwork safely and we are able to meet each other.
Video transcript :
(Laughing) I was just avoiding it because it is pricing.
But here we are!
Well, Let's talk about that.
Why do you avoid the topic of pricing?
Because not everybody agrees about this one and people get all bent out of shape about this one.
Who's the people?
(sigh) other artists.
Other artists get bent out of shape?
Because this is a hard one for even me to sit with... and yes other artist get bent out of shape. And I am not telling other artists how to do their business. You do your business however suits you. I just umm, this is what I've come to.
Well then maybe do you want to talk about how you go to where you are on the pricing?
Ummm. Well I used to sell paintings, I used to do portraits for $50 to $100 and I was cranking them out, like I was some kind of printer robot, and guess what? I learned I am not a printer robot and that I can't crank out paintings like that. That I need room to actually be able to create. So I stepped away from that ecosystem from comissions of portraits. I learned there. Umm I learned a lot there. I also sold paintings really cheaply. People who bought paintings from me back in 2009 through 2014, probably got a hell of a deal and I hope you still have those paintings. At the prices I am at now, people might actually be interested to see those resurface. A lot of those people I didn't keep their information. I didn't. I wasn't doing art full time, I was learning and building my skill and although I loved creating, I didn't see it as a serious avenue or mechanism to make money, like a stable one and it's because I wasn't charging enough, like I was litterally. It's like you create a thing, and it's supposed to be a business. I was treating it like a hobby and because of that, I never had enough money to buy my supplies. I never had enough money to get away from my corporate job. I was creating but at some point, I realized that I was miserable and I felt like I owed everyone art and I was creating just to get everybody the pieces that I owed them, and honestly I had no money from it and it, it was like I was burying myself in my favorite thing, and I was starting to hate, the favorite thing. So I don't (laughing) I don't want to do that again. I unburied myself out of it, and then I started to think about it differently going forward with the help of people, who were like "Hey maybe this is why it was really hard, maybe you should rethink this." and it took me year to do that because art is such an emotional thing and you tie yourself to it, and you want people to want it, but it's also like selling a part of your soul, and are you going to sell your soul to the cheapest bidder, or are you going to say, no this is valuable to me, you should value it, here's what I value it at, if you pay that, then by all means, (laughs) have it, because I know you value it. You value my time and my skill. So yeah, that's where I am at with pricing. Ummm...(laughs) Now if you want to actually get into the dollar amounts of it, cause here's where (claps) people get angry. (laughs)
Well, you know, I mean we can just get into it. Like yeah, what is the dollar amount and like why? Ummm Well, I started with what, I raised my prices enough, in I want to say like in 2015-2016, to where I felt they should be, and that is what, we removed emotion from the pricing, because I was pricing emotionally and I realized that by not pricing consistently, that I was doing a disservice to myself, and everyone around me, anybody who bought my work. So from 2014 I started pricing and $3 per square inch and that price steadily increased over the years, as the cost of living and the cost of supplies and the cost of creating art went up. I uh, I chose that price, because litterally art price guide online said that was a standard rate, and it made sense for the amount of pieces I was creating vs. what I was selling and business, was, like I sold a lot of pieces, so I determined this is where I'll be and I stayed there for a while. Until demand increased, and my price and my cost of living, increased with it, and I warned everybody, at the next phase of this year, the prices are going up and now I am at $6 per square inch. So from 2014, this is 2022, I am at $6 per square inch, um and the price only continues to go up as the cost of living increases, and the cost of supplies, and life and I spend longer on paintings now. I think.
I think also there is another key component which is that price increasing also then bundled in the delivery and delivery experience.
Yes, yes, and I chose to do the delivery experience different, to include the delivery experience, the price went up, and instead of just going up a dollar, that year, it went up a few dollars, and I've kinda sat at that 6 for a couple of years, because of everything that happened in Covid, with not doing art for a while. So I haven't really raised it since then even though the cost of living, my life, I know for everybody, has doubled. (laughs) so has supplies and everything else. But I've kinda kept it, there and it'll stay there until I notice another big shift, or growth or change and I'll warn everybody. I'll give everybody a 3 month warning. Um, So, buy art now, before the price continues to go up.
Why don't you have sales?
Oh sales. (sigh) because I am an art collector myself. I have bought art from somebody, and then two weeks later seen that they are doing a sale. 50% off fire sale, and I'm like, how fucking tacky. I just spent, twice the price. That everybody else is spending. How is that fair? Why is it this price today, (laughs) but last week it was twice the price, I'm like, are you fucking kidding me? Excuse my language. It's tacky. Art is not a commodity, don't treat it like it's some item in Walmart, and we are having a Black Friday sale. I mean, I hate Walmart, oh wait, I shouldn't say anything like, don't treat it like you are a big box store, you are not a big box store and you shouldn't be having Black Friday sales, it, it's just tacky. This isn't mass produced, crap. Is your soul worth $300 on Friday, but $600 last week, come on, what are we doing.
Do we want to talk about any of the behavior aspects on why you don't do sales?
Oh because then people will just wait for a sale. People will be like, when she's desperate enough and she hasn't been selling art, for long enough... we'll just wait until she has one of them, there sales. (laughs) Then we'll buy that art up and also, there are people who do that. I know specific, (sigh) I did years ago sell art half price to a finance guy, and he still waits, he reaches out when he sees me, in Phily, he's like "Whoa, will you sell this to me for 50% off?" and I told him, never again. That hurt that I did that, that day. I will never do that again. I learned a lesson. Desperation will never make me, do sales. That's stupid and it hurts, everybody who has bought art from me at full price. Because I've had it happen to me, and yeah, that's a crappy feeling. You're like oh, so they are getting a deal because they are your friend, or because this Friday you've decided to have a sale. But last week, I was just unlucky, the unlucky person to decide to support you at full price, ok cool. (laughs) So would it be fair to say that the current pricing, also is built such that you won't be in a position to have to do sales, and therefore, past collectors can feel confident in the value of money that they've spent. Yes I am being consistent and not emotional.
And then future collectors can also feel confident in their purchase. Yes, knowing that I only increase, my art in value. If I want to be emotional I'll do it in the artwork, not in my business model. (laughs) I think that's fair. I think that's a fair statement there. Like, if you're. I am a - artists are very emotional creatures, but I don't think we should be in the business model, you gotta separate those two things, the art and the business. Well I think, that's an interesting way to look at it, right? Like if your art is a reflection of emotion into it, and if emotion has a finite amount. Like there is probably to a certain degree a finite amount of emotion that you have available and so then, to waste, not necessarily to waste, but to place that emotion, into these supporting, surrounding elements of your business, like pricing and sales and stuff like that, that gives, that subtracts, that does some sort of subtraction, from the emotion then that goes into the art. Yes, Yes, just like artists shouldn't tie themselves emotionally to whether they should be creating based on sales, artists shouldn't be emotionally tiring their price, and their business model to sales, it will kill your poor little artist heart, and it will make you undervalue yourself.
I think that's a lot of projecting and assuming things for others.
Well I can tell you how it is for me, and I can't emotionally tie my business model to my creative process. Those two things are separate entirely. To sit down and to say that other people's pricing models, they may just have different emotional reservoirs available to them to handle those. I just don't. Those pricing models, whereas you don't have the emotional reservoirs. No, it all goes into the work. Yeah. The art is the creative emotional space that it is allowed to be and the business, that I have to untie all emotional from the business, from the price, from sales happening, because otherwise it'll hurt my ability to create and to be authentic with what I am creating and what I am sharing. Yeah, yeah.
So we've talked a little bit about how your pricing allows you to survive, live, and also allows you to have pricing, people to have confidence in their purchases in the past, or coming in the future, one of the other things that sits here in juxtaposition with this, is, is the size of work that you tend to do. Umm, you don't.
I've only been getting bigger and bigger over the years.