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How to price your artworks

Photo © Elena Pietrini Sánchez 2019

For some artists, art can not have a material price. How do you measure the time and energy spent on it? your learning trajectory, what it means for you...?

Sometimes artists forget that there are some other practical matters to take on account if you want to live from your art. One of them is 'letting go' of your pieces in exchange for living means.

I have read many articles from different sources about this question. Gallerists, art collectors, artists, art appraisers, each one has a different criteria about what would be the value of an artwork.

The price of a painting -for example- depends on the offer-demand market and meeting the right people. Those who can recommend your work, position and 'socially - sell' your creation in a context. Then, more or less, you can adhere a marketing value to your piece.

Although there is indeed a basic formula, a starting point to price your artworks and revaluate them over time.

Many art markets coincide on this:

¢ 8 euro cents per cm²

[specifically €0.0829] x [width x lenght in cm]

Additionally 5% for every sold artwork, exhibitions and other extra 'points' that have moved your artwork into a 'popular' frame, as part of private or public collections.

* Don't ask me why  ¢ 8 cents and not 5 or 10 cents. That measurement is a guide line some markets use, but there can be different standards out there.

For instance:

Your painting is 100 x 50 cm.

The basic cost would be:

[0.0829] x [100 x 50] = €414.5

And let's say you have sold [officially] 30 paintings until today:

5% 30 = 1.5

Then your artwork value rises:

414.5 x 1.5 = 621.75

This pricing method can be recognised or not by other institutions besides the individual artist. Then negotiations can go up or down based on market criteria. If you had not sold a work in years that 5% can decrease, for instance.

This formula is not written on stone, and artists can have grown an organic market on their own, positioning themselves in their own sector. 

The formula is just a guide line or a parameter which you can take on account if you consider that your work relates to it or if you would sell it even higher.

My advice as a selling artists would be:

Choose a parameter for your self, some amount that makes you comfortable to keep for a time. See how it goes, if the demands of your customers go up, you can rise a bit your prices. If you haven't sell anything in a month, consider lower the prices to their original amount [never ask for less!].

Have you had any experience with professional art appraisers?

What would be your criteria on pricing your artwork?

Let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from another colleague artists and experts out there so that we can all benefit from living from art or from knowing how to appreciate the value of creations.

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