Pricing – How and what to pay for an Artwork.

It is a truth universally acknowledged ( as in the book of Pride and Prejudice) that artwork is expensive. It is a luxury that not everybody can afford.

There are different kinds of buyers and different kinds of art but how to know if you are paying the right amount for a specific work?

To be able to discuss this properly I am going to divide Art into 2 categories. Outsider art and Insider art.

Let us start with Insider art  -These are artists who usually have paid for their education and are formaly qualified as artists.

Outsider and folk art are artists who are not formally trained and usually do art as part of a ritual or  as an obsession  etc…

Before we start getting all pumped up defining which of these 2  categories is the best and most true artist , please lets keep to the point.  We are discussing prices not artistic merit. Therefore one must look into the artist’s background to be able to define the price.  Qualifications alone are not enough to sell artworks at very high prices.

Then we have to look into the artist’s longevity in the business.  How long has the artist been doing art? Has he/ she been doing art for a long time? Are they part of important collections? Have they ever worked with a gallery? If not working with a gallery are they managing on their own?  The most pathetic response by even members of artistic cultural entities  is that they equate an artist as more of merit if he/she lives off his/her art only.  Well that would depend on the individual. I  met artists who go crazy in the studio locked up on their own and have been prescribed to work part time to keep their head in check by their psychotherapists. Not everybody is the same. Generalising is not the way.

When buying artwork from a gallery usually the artist has to pay between 30% to 50%  commission to the gallery. Then there are taxes.

One  also has to keep in mind the price of materials. Has anybody ever tried to walk around an art material store? A stretched canvas can cost up to 500 euros( massive one) and even more nowadays.. Framers nowadays sometimes  feel like they deserve to earn more than the artist himself.

There are some oil tubes that cost around  60 euros (on the average) The brushes can go very high up in price as well. Studio space is usually rented, we have to pay for the electricity used , WIFI and count in the hours.

So basically when asking for the price of the artwork , the artist gives you the list of materials so you can understand what you are buying and how long it is going to last.A painting on linen will last 500 years, on cotton much less.

Also are you buying artwork as an investment? As part of a collection ? or to decorate your house?

Then you have to keep in mind the term- Art dealer and dealing.  Prices are usually negotiated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The things that really count.

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In 2007,when I had just graduated from Art school ,being selected by a gallery was a dream. So when I was offered a contract by a gallery in London and was flown to Italy to be introduced to  other important galleries  exactly when graduating was , in my mind amazing.10 years on, the thought of dealing with a gallery stresses me out

Why?

Let me explain. We artists are led to believe that we need a gallery and that we should obey them  and bend to all their wishes. It is not like that. The truth is one.  The artist needs to remember that you, the artist are the gallery’s client and the ones who buy the artworks are the Gallery’s friends not vice versa.Another thing to keep in mind is the business plan. Each and every gallery needs to have a business plan and in every country , especially if in other continents , business plans differ.

Another important thing to keep in mind is money. I don’t care how much hate I am going to stir now, but  the truth is , Art is about money, it always was and will always be.The problem is that we artists are too busy thinking up incredibly beautiful things to ever think about money and the asshole rest of the world knows that and abuses us.For us everything is priceless. For the others, we are ‘money making machines’ as one millionaire many moons ago called me. So when we get sick  of the horrid system we try to set up a what is called an ARTIST LED SPACE. It sounds amazing until you try to do it. I tried and the consequences were disastrous. I am way too creative to be able to deal with the monetary side of things  not to mention being the creative person I am I risked  and enjoyed making mistakes and tried to make something out of them, like I do with the process of painting. I can say I had come up with the most incredible business plan with the most outrageous artists.   There was one major flaw in the great scheme of things. I forgot to employ a full time psychotherapist who specialises in creative people. No wonder Van Gogh  had cut off his ear when he had trouble with Gaugin.  Disputes amongst creatives are pretty much what Hollywood drama aspires to be but never will ( Thank God for that)

The latest bit of drama I had to endure  almost catapulted me into a storm between  powerful people. I spent  2 days in a corner trying to figure out why the hell I always let myself into such situations. I was ready to swear on a facebook post to never paint again.  I just cannot believe how naive I can be, or rather how I let my ego and need to succeed  govern my little bit of rationality.

So I decided to post a painting I just finished, with my son next to it.  This photo does not show the painting in it’s glory but it shows the most important  and most beautiful amazing gift I have. I have a son who loves to be with me in my studio whilst I paint.

God has given me what I always wanted, a son, a man to love and a studio. I don’t need anything else.

My season’s blessings to all of you  and a little reminder to  be grateful for all you have.