Exciting as it is to sell your art for the first time, the uncertainty can be a damper. Pricing your work right can eliminate some of that uncertainty and increase the chances of it being purchased. However new sellers often feel lost when it comes to setting prices and don’t know where to start. We’ve put together a few ways to help emerging artists put a price tag on their artwork.
Before you begin exploring different pricing possibilities find out how much artists in your regional market charge for work that is similar in either size, shape, medium, weight or subject matter to yours. If your target price is higher compared to paintings similar to yours you might have to lower your initial price and vice versa.
One of the easiest ways to calculate the price of a painting is by using its size. Set a price for every square inch and multiply that by the number of square inches to give you a price.
Setting the initial price for every square inch can be tricky - find out the unit price of similar paintings in the UAE and possibly the MENA region. You can do this by either googling the market price and forming your own price to size ratio.
Another way is to set an hourly price and then multiply that by the number of hours you have worked on the piece. Finally, add the cost of your materials for a final price. For instance, if you set an hourly price of Dh150 and you have worked on the project for 4 hours. Then inclusive of your art supplies this may give you a price somewhere in the range of Dh800 – Dh1000. This is an extremely reliable and consistent way of setting prices.
Are you the popular kid?
Last year, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson earned a spectacular $124 million dollars making him the highest paid actor by quite a distance. However, an important reason why he raking in the cash is because of his social media following. Johnson has taken social media very seriously and instead of appointing a PR agency to run his platforms he built his own company ‘Seven Bucks Production’ to manage his accounts. In the art world you cannot price your art the same as more established or popular artists when you are just starting out. It is important to build a following that will inadvertently build the demand for your art work. In other words, unless you have the accreditations to back your high prices, buyers are unlikely to pay for it.
Measure your success
Selling half or more of the art you produce in six months is a good indication that you can increase your prices by 5 to 10 percent. Reaching a big career milestone such as receiving a prestigious award or having your work presented at significant museum show is also a good time to raise prices by 15 to 20 percent as your work holds more value now.
Remember to stay consistent with the prices and avoid putting pieces on sale immediately if they are not selling. This will deter buyers from purchasing your art at its regular prices. Instead, try to put more effort into promoting your work.