For first-time exhibitors, pricing artwork can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With a few helpful pointers, you can feel more confident about assigning prices to your artworks.
So how do you set your Artwork price?
Before we start (because it’s easy to forget) remind yourself that:
- Your artwork has value, and you deserve to be paid for your unique vision, materials, time and effort;
- People will pay the price you set for it if you set the right price;
- There will always be someone who likes your artwork enough to want to own it
Step 1: Calculate Your Costs
When pricing your artwork, make sure you cover all the costs you have incurred producing it, including your time. You can do this by adding up the following:
- Decide on a fair hourly wage and then multiply this by the length of time it took you to complete the artwork
- Add up the cost of materials you used to create your artwork; such as your canvas, paper, paint, ink, clay, or other materials
- And don’t forget about other expenses such as framing or mounting your finished artwork, plus any additional delivery costs you may incur to get your artwork to the Curator or gallery managing your online exhibition.
- It can be trickier to factor in any business costs you incur as an artist (such as website hosting or annual accountancy fees), but once you have an idea of how many pieces you sell in a year, you can include a portion of these costs in your price as well.
- Lastly, if you are exhibiting your own artwork on The Exhibit, remember to take into consideration The Exhibit’s Sales Success Fee and Transaction Processing Fee. For more information on Fees and Pricing please visit our pricing page here.
So, for example, if your artwork took you 8 hours to create, and you want to get $15 per hour for your time, your materials cost you $55, and your framing cost you $100 – you could use $275 as the starting point for your artwork price.
But there may be some other things you need to take into consideration as well, so keep reading!
Step 2: Consider The Medium and Size of Your Artwork
Next will you need to consider the size of your artwork and what medium you have used.
This is because art buyers shop, not just on what they love, but also on perception of value.
For example, a small drawing on paper might not be able to command as higher a price as a larger terracotta sculpture, even though the time to create both pieces might have been similar. This is because art buyers have an expectation that works on paper are less expensive to buy.
The same goes for very large artworks, because they are so imposing and normally made out of more premium materials, such as stone or bronze, you may be able to command a higher price.
So look at the price you calculated in Step 1 and see if it needs a little bit of a tweak up or down based on the artwork’s size and the medium you have used.
Step 3: Do Some Price Comparison Research
Often a great way to get a proper indication of price ranges in the art market is to do some good old fashioned research.
Find a gallery which exhibits artists similar to you – such as artists who are students, new to exhibiting, just starting to get known or are well established. This will give you a rough idea of what numbers you should be looking at and what other people are charging.
You can also browse online at other exhibitions on The Exhibit to see what prices similar artwork styles, mediums and sizes are commanding.
As crass as it sounds, it is worth doing some price comparisons as art buyers do shop on price. You therefore don’t want to have prices which are wildly different (both higher and lower) from other similar artists. You want to avoid being the artist with the artwork 10 times more expensive than what art buyers are expecting to pay.
Step 4: Stay Impartial
Now that you have calculated your costs, compared prices with other artists, made any adjustments for size and medium, the next trick is to not let your emotions get in the way of your price.
Pricing your artwork needs to be predominantly about the physical attributes of the piece and not about your personal attachment to it.
However, this is often easier said than done! After all the blood, sweat, and creative effort you have invested in your work, it’s easy to get emotionally attached. So now you have to put your impartial art sales hat on and have a cold hard look at your price to make sure you haven’t sneakily increased the price based on the artwork’s personal value to you.
If there’s an artwork which is especially meaningful to you, consider listing that artwork as Not For Sale in your exhibition. That way you can exhibit it but also keep it for your personal collection.
Step 5: Keep Your Artwork Prices Consistent – online, in galleries, and from your studio
Lastly, check that your price is consistent across all the venues where you exhibit and sell your work, whether they be online or offline. This is because your galleries won’t like discovering they’re being undersold elsewhere, and art buyers also won’t like discovering that others have paid less for a similar artwork on a different platform.
And just because you are selling online at The Exhibit, don’t think you should sell your artwork for less. Online art prices need to match your offline ones. So make sure you have set prices that are generally the same across your studio and any other galleries which sell your artwork. That way people can buy your beautiful work from any location at consistent prices, and you can maintain a positive relationship with your galleries.
In a nutshell, that is how you put a price on your artwork.
However, now that you have come to a final $ figure, you need to have confidence and stand by your price. Remember the points we made at the top of this article, if you put a reasonable price on your artwork and someone falls in love with it, they will be prepared to buy it!
VIEW MORE BEST PRACTICE GUIDES
Find out what you need to do to curate an outstanding exhibition online.
HAVE MORE QUESTIONS? ASK US!
We hope you have found this guide helpful! If we have missed anything or you have further questions about pricing your artwork, don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get right back to you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zinnia O’Brien is a co-founder of The Exhibit. She has a Masters of Museum Studies and has worked in internationally recognised Art Galleries and Museums in Australia and New Zealand. She is passionate about using technology to find ways for galleries, museums and arts practitioners to remain viable and valued in the current under-funded Arts and Cultural environment. Sign up at https://theexhibit.io/ to get notified when The Exhibit launches!