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Pricing Artwork

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    What are your tips for pricing artwork and how do others price their work?


    My pricing depends on a number of factors especially since I have various categories of artworks. The main factors are cost of materials and time spent to do that artwork. I try to keep the price as much as possible correlating with size, however smaller paintings usually are priced at less price then calculated but then I will make up for them in big work as I am quite fast to paint on big canvas. I pay myself a rate per hour which incorporate a lot of factors including expenses of studio, electricity, my annual holidays and sick etc. Usually I use the previous year’s records as a guide.


    They are some great tips, I especially like the way you pay yourself an hourly rate. Any other suggestions from the community?


    I heard some artist calculate a price per square foot of their art work to galleries. I thought that was interesting.


    Pricing of artwork is a real minefield. I think that there as many ways to price your work as there are artists. So what I can offer is my way. Unlike Christopher, I never price my work on an hourly basis, because to me, how long a painting takes to complete is irrelevant. What matters is the quality of the work, the vision of the Artist, the cost of materials (to an extent) and framing, plus commission.
    My method is to consider what I want for my unframed painting (mostly watercolours), based on my experience and length of time as an artist, what I have previously sold paintings for, and finally, the quality of this particular piece. This is still a subjective amount, but then I add the cost of the framing and the expected commission of where I will be displaying it (or a general 30%).
    The thing to watch is that to just add 30% to the cost of painting plus framing will result in a lower amount that you want. So always ‘check’ the amount by then taking the ‘30%’ from your decided price and adjust it as necessary (try adding 45%).
    As a new artist, you may also need to check around artshows and other artists (taking into account their experience and technical level) and judge where your paintings may sit within other works the marketplace.
    Sorry for the lengthy reply, but it is a hard topic.


    I price my art work per square cm. I use a spreadsheet made up so that all I have to do is put in the length & width measurements, and it calculates the cost. I don’t record exactly how long each individual piece of work takes – some happen quickly, on others, I work on them until I am satisfied with the finished work. In my opinion, the length of time it takes per artwork is irrelevant and I would find the recording of exact hours tedious. I have formal qualifications (i.e. an Honours Degree in Fine Art) and have been painting for 35+ years so am an experienced artist.

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