Making money was not an impetus for my art making.
I have to accept that things are valued, in our society, by how much someone will pay for them.
Carlos Cortez had other ideas. Carlos, who lived and worked in Chicago, left in his will that the National Mexican Museum keep his prices in check by pulling more of his linocuts and wood cuts if need be to keep the market level.
I am between Cortez and those I call "artist-entrepreneurs", the artists who chose art and their "styles" because they believe art making is a money maker. Maybe they also look to the New York market as their role model. Carlos believed art is for the masses and should be affordable.
"Old Rhythms, New Beats"
Joyce Owens painting, DanceAfrica Chicago signature artwork, Columbia College 2005
How do you price your art work?
I know a seasoned artist who sells her work very inexpensively, starting at maybe $10.00-$20.00 for a small matted ink drawing. She wraps it in clear acetate so you can hang it without a frame.
I know a less experienced artist whose small framed collages are priced at $500.00-$750.00 last I looked.
The 4 or 5 year old wunderkinds are selling art for thousands, along with the monkeys, elephants, etc.
Outsider artists are doing well, pricing their work well (if they get the money or not is still a concern). I have been to the homes of three different well-to-do women who own Outsider Art, exclusively. I always related to that work. I went to school because I knew nothing except I loved to draw. If I had lived in another time and another place and not been able to get an education I would have done what I do now, make art from anything handy, as well as fine art materials. Only difference between me and the guys on the side of the road is I can make choices based on what I decide to do, rather than based on my limitations.
So we read about record breaking auction prices, mostly for dead artists that sets the value of their work at this time. In an earlier post I mentioned Lucien Freud, still ALIVE to appreciate how his work is valued. I have been in local and national auctions that helped me establish a price point for some work I do.
Does it matter how other artists price work in a show you are in? Found a helpful website you might like on the business of art. Here's is an excerpt:
In order to price your art realistically, you must understand and respect how the art business works and how collectors shop and buy. You must step back and objectively evaluate the significance and quality of your art in relation to all other art. You must also objectively assess your art world accomplishments and determine how they position you in relation to all other artists. These are difficult tasks and not necessarily pleasant, but they're absolutely essential to achieving the goals of making a go of it as an artist and of selling art.
...pretend the art listed below are the same size; should these all have the same price ?
a. a portrait painting by a recent B.F.A. college grad
b. a painting by an outsider artist who is completely self-taught
c. a landscape painting by a Chicago artist with a ten-year exhibition history
d. a landscape painting by a New York artist showing in Chicago
e. a still life painting by a newly rediscovered WPA era artist
f. a metal cast sculpture/portrait
g. a collage portrait using found paper
h. a black and white portrait printed in the darkroom by the artist
i. a giclee portrait on archival paper
j. a digital print portrait using Photoshop on archival paper
Is it size, it is process, is it how much you like it? You get my point. Reputation counts but not if people don't know the history.
There seems to be no universal standard for pricing that all artists adhere to....should there be?
What do you think?
detail: Joyce Owens, "Survivor Spirits" Installation 2004