Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Artist Speak on Pricing

"once, in the early days of my visual art career, i followed a lead to an outdoor art market in vancouver, bc. without doing much research, i organized a very expensive trip to the market and was surprised to find that other artists were selling their work for less than half of what i was charging. it never occurred to me to ask what kind of work was being sold there. to me, it seemed like a great reason to take a trip. amongst outdoor vendors selling leather jackets and crafts i was very much out of place. needless to say, a lot of people looked at my work that weekend, but didn’t buy."


  1. This is a tender topic. Storytellers hold their fees like a closely guarded secret. Finding out the going rate in an area can be tricky. I suppose it's not like that in fields where the price tag is right on the artwork! Then there are the beginners who want to start right in charging what I've been building to for a long time.

  2. I feel the "closely guarded secret" of prices is one that is common with American Folk art - whether that be storytelling or paintings, or music or any of the myriad of Americana Art where the artist doesn't need traditional credentials in order to participate.

    Storytellers don't need a Master's degree to be great tellers and some of my favorite painters never went to school. An MFA, what?

    Unfortunately, though price tags are built upon credentials and reputation. Something that many in the Americana art scene are insecure about.

    It's good business practice to keep prices out in the open. As one's value as an artist builds so do increases in fees. Restaurants have prices on their menu and so do stores for a reason. It allows the public to understand the value of their products.

    Rather than it being a mystery, posted prices become a number that can be understood and when it comes to art, the world and our fans need more transparency.