Pricing artworks is never easy. I'm pretty sure if they did any lectures on this at University I slept through them. Sorry tutors but apparently 19-22 year old Erin never thought she'd be in the position where she'd have to find a price for her artwork. Ho hum.
As with most adult conversations, when things get uncomfortable it all goes downhill, hence the pants discussion*. I decided a quick search with good old google might help. I found this article on the Abundant Artist, and then this wonderful wiki-how. Neither of which actually answered my burning question of, How Much Value Do I Place on A Piece of My Artwork?
I honestly never thought I'd have an existential breakdown around pricing artworks. There were a plethora of questions and no amount of internet searching was helping me. I could price by size, I could price by time spent. I could also price by the amount the materials cost. Which is great for those that are ploughing lots of money into their art practice. I could also just give away the work for free.
The discussion with friends brought up some things that when pricing artworks I wanted to consider,
Is it a collector buying?
Are they rich?
Can I bare to part with an Original Artwork? (because this isn't a print we're talking about)
Could I just make some limited edition prints and sign them and sell more? (but do I want to go down that route?)
This isn't a sticking point for just artists though. Illustrators, designers, self publishers, anyone that needs to place a figure next to their time and efforts. I'm starting to believe that I'd be useless being self employed, handing out everything for free.
This whole escapade ended up stressing me out so much that I sat in a dark room for awhile. There's a nagging concern that I'm not even getting this bit right. That any price I pick is going to wrong, too high and I'm basically kissing my own, too low and how do I expect others to value my work when I obviously don't?
I'm ever so good at making a simple task the hardest in the world, and over thinking is dangerous territory. Do you ever feel like this is a turning point and you're blind and you need to pick the right route? That is exactly how this feels.
I know I've said before how I don't make artwork for others, I make it for myself. I'm not too concerned with earning money from my art either, I mean, it'd be nice.
Actually, it'd be awesome. I could have a studio (again), with a big drafting table, standing height of course. A wet and dry area. White walls and huge windows with mountains of natural sunlight. High ceilings with the room to make life size sculptures (and then some). An A0 printing space. Room to try out all the big ideas that are in my mind that I don't have space for.
But how do you do that these days? Hold out, never selling anything in the hope the day you do you hit the jack-pot? Throw away artworks for meagre pounds? I'm pretty sure the answer is not in offering everything for free.
I never wanted to sell my soul but maybe I need to shed little pieces to get where I want to.