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The Value of Art Represents the Value of You.

I am regularly asked by other artists and my clients alike…how to you price artwork?

I find this an interesting question & one with no easy answer.

There is much written about – and I also have provided my thoughts on how to breakdown the various aspects of creating an artwork to get to the retail price.  And many of these processes are absolutely valid. As artists we need to understand the cost and quantity of materials, the cost of canvas, of photographing the piece, of paints, of delivery and installation.  Add to that marketing & promotion, studio running costs, basic business costs.

And of course, we need to understand & calculate the value of the time it has taken to produce to add to the raw material costs.  And that’s the kicker….in my experience that is where things come unstuck.

I see so many artists selling products or services at a very very low price. It is like the ‘starving artist’ mentality has seeped into our consciousness and has formed the basis on how we view the world if we are creative – and in fact how the world perceives us. ie. If I am an artist, musician, writer then my prices need to be low.  I need to do this purely for the love of it.

When you google how to price artworks, the recommended hourly rate to use in calculating this is $20 -$30 p/hr.  When did it become acceptable to charge specialist and unique skills out at near minimum wage?

Its all well and good to love what we do, but we live in a society where money is one of our primary value exchange.  Put simply the amount of money transacted helps form a perception of who you are, and whether you – and your product is worth it.

And if you do not value yourself…how on earth is anyone else going to?

When I first started painting I was simply so excited that someone actually liked my work that I literally gave pieces away.  After about 12mths of doing this, earning next to nothing I started selling artwork for between $200 – $900.  And that was HUGE money I thought for my work. Yet still not honoring me, my work, the creative process.

The reality of my mindset at the time however was that I was not READY to value my creativity, let alone myself.  I was immersed in creativity, yet did not see the immense value that creativity, colour and the service I offer bought to my clients.

Fast forward a few years and I am now happy to place a true and strong value to not only my artworks and my services, but to myself.  There is an undeniable value in the ability to create.  It is unique, it is personal, it can change lives.  It is time that artists and creative thinkers stop underestimating their worth…and start believing, trusting and showcasing the value that they bring.

But there was one inherent problem with my process…me.  I had very little self worth, and consequently placed a low value on my creative process and on the outcomes. I continued to be grateful that I was even selling. I listened to the advice of others…the internet…of people who had ‘made it’.  Who all said the going rate for an artist is $20 – $30 per hour.  And that felt like too much.

Fast forward few years. I have a couple business’s under my belt, and I am absolutely clear on who I am, my value to others, and the impact I have in people’s lives.  I understand economically what I can produce and what – if I was working for someone what income I could generate.  So…within 12mths of being back into fulltime art – my pieces are selling for $7 – $11k.  And nothing has changed…apart from my determination, my business mindset and the belief I have in myself. I know I am worth more than $20 an hour.  I know the value of my time,, my product, myself.  And this has changed everything.

You will always have those who will disagree, but having the strength of intent ensures your business goals, your life goals can be achieved.  It is you who decides what you are worth.  You who decides what target market you choose to sell into, and only you who can decide on your success.

Regardless of the business you are in, the products you produce or the services you offer, an unwavering belief in yourself forms the basis of your success.  An artist who does not value who they are will certainly struggle to look a client in the eye and charge $10k for a piece.  A business person who is questioning their process, their value or solution will struggle to find clients.

The first step in growth is understanding your worth.  Find that…and you will find success…in every way.

If you want to hear specifics about how myself and others have navigated the fusion of creativity & business, join the free online summit ‘The Unstoppable Artist’.  Regardless if your industry I am sure there will be practical gems to help move you forward to the next stage of your business.

And in the mean time…happy creating!!