7 Essential Rules for Pricing Your Artwork

By Katharina Wenzel-Vollenbroich
7 Essential Rules for Pricing Your Artwork 7 Essential Rules for Pricing Your Artwork

There is a well-known Oscar Wilde quote that goes, "When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss money.”

As an artist, you understand the making part of your job like the back of your hand. You could probably paint blindfolded and come up with a decent-looking piece. You have spent thousands upon thousands of hours honing your craft. What we often struggle with is the part that comes after we put that last final touch on an artwork—pricing.

Pricing is awkward. Setting a price on something that is so deeply personal and doesn't have a set market value is even more awkward. As an artist, pricing your artwork can be a daunting task. You've poured your heart and soul into creating something unique, but how do you determine its true worth? Striking the right balance between undervaluing and overpricing is crucial for both artistic and financial success. By following these seven rules, you can confidently price your art pieces and increase your chances of attracting buyers who appreciate and value your talent.

Calculate Your Costs

Before setting a price, it's essential to determine the cost of creating each piece. This includes the materials used, such as canvas, paints, brushes, and any other supplies. Additionally, factor in the time spent creating the artwork, as well as any overhead expenses like studio rent or utilities. Having a clear understanding of your expenses will help you set a fair baseline price.

Research Market Rates

Explore what other artists in your genre and with similar experience levels are charging for their work. Visit art galleries, attend exhibitions, and browse online marketplaces to get a sense of the current market rates. While you don't want to undercut yourself, pricing too high compared to industry standards can deter potential buyers.

Consider Your Experience and Reputation

As an artist, your experience and reputation play a significant role in pricing your art. If you're just starting out, it's generally advisable to set lower prices initially to build a following and establish yourself in the market. As you gain recognition and your work becomes more sought after, you can gradually increase your prices.

Factor in the Size and Medium

The size and medium of your artwork can also influence its price. Larger pieces typically command higher prices due to the materials and time required to create them. Similarly, certain mediums, such as oil paintings or sculptures, may be more expensive than others due to the costs associated with the materials and techniques involved.

Pricing for Different Markets

Depending on where you plan to sell your artwork, you may need to adjust your prices accordingly. Art galleries and high-end markets often expect higher prices, while online marketplaces or local art fairs may cater to more budget-conscious buyers. Consider your target audience and price your pieces accordingly.

Offer Pricing Tiers

Rather than setting a single price for all your artwork, consider offering pricing tiers based on factors like size, medium, and complexity. This allows you to cater to a broader range of buyers, from those seeking more affordable pieces to collectors willing to invest in larger or more elaborate works.

Be Flexible and Adapt 

The art market is constantly evolving, and you may need to adjust your pricing strategy accordingly. Pay attention to market trends, feedback from buyers, and the success (or lack thereof) of your current pricing approach. Don't be afraid to experiment and make changes as needed to ensure your artwork remains competitive and appealing to potential buyers.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Should I charge more for commissioned work? Yes, it's generally acceptable to charge a premium for commissioned work, as it often involves more time, effort, and specific requirements from the client. Factor in any additional costs or complexities associated with the commission.
  2. How often should I re-evaluate my pricing? It's a good idea to re-evaluate your pricing strategy at least once a year, taking into account any changes in your experience, reputation, and the overall art market conditions.
  3. Can I offer discounts or promotions? Absolutely! Offering occasional discounts or promotions can be a great way to attract new buyers and move inventory. Just be mindful not to undervalue your work excessively.
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7 Essential Rules for Pricing Your Artwork 7 Essential Rules for Pricing Your Artwork

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