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Pricing your artwork

Posted by silvamae (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 28, 09 at 10:38

After reading chinatreasures post, I hunted up this old article that I read some years back and found helpful. It's about pricing paintings, but I still found that it helped me price mosaic works; just have to tweak it a bit. It might help somewhat when pricing your work for shows.

"Pricing your artworks." Paraphrasing from an article written by Julia Trops.

1. Art Marketing 101: A brief calculation table from page 74/75 of Art Marketing 101, Constance Smith. "Most working artists will have to be able to complete at least five original works a month. This doesnt mean you will sell all five pieces each month, but you need to build a stock so your clients have a variety to choose from. If it takes you a month of working eight hours a day to finish one painting, this probably means you will have to get involved in the print market and forget about selling your originals.
1. Calculate the total business expenses for the year (dues, education, utilities, publications, postage etc) to figure the per month overhead.
2. How many pieces do you complete complete in a month on the average?
3. Divide the number of pieces you complete in a month by the monthly overhead.
4. Decide on an hourly rate of pay for yourself.
5. How many hours to complete an average painting?
6. Add a 10% profit margin.
7. Add a 100% commission.
8. Add the frame cost (if applicable). If you do the framing this price would include your labor but no markup, i.e. the same cost as a frame shop.
9. Then add tax and shipping.

2. Market Value pricing: "go to the marketplace (on and off eBay) and see what other artists with the same type of background are selling their artwork for. Most prices in the art world are related to the price paid for similar work sold in the recent past. When comparing pricing, keep in mind the aesthetic and technical merits of works, the style, medium and reputation of the artist and the intrinsic costs of production. It is generally a mistake to base prices solely on the amount of hours spent creating the work. Dont undersell your work."

3. "A third way to price artworks is by square inch. This is the method I generally prefer, but I keep in mind market prices as well. Length multiplied by width multiplied by value x, y, or z, depending on total square inches. The final price is the product according to the total square inches of the artwork: under 100 square inches is multiplied by value x, between 100 and 300 square inches if price, and over 300 square inches is price z.

i.e., an 8x10 = 80 square inches multiplied by $3.10/square inch (value x) = $248 (rounded to nearest 50) = $250

As artwork on paper generally gets less per square inch than on canvas or board, and oil gets more than acrylic, a fair pricing system is necessary. Again, this is why I keep in mind Market Values."


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RE: Pricing your artwork

Thanks so much for digging that up! I love to see how other artists calculate their prices. It makes me re-evaluate my pricing structure to make sure it stays in line with others.


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