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As an artist it is hard to figure out what to price a piece of my work. Do I charge enough to cover expenses only? How much am I worth per hour? Do I price on size? I’m unknown, so should I charge less than something that I think it’s worth? Do I increase my prices if I’m selling at a market?

These are tough questions for many artists, well-known or not. We struggle with this on every level. Are we ‘worth’ what we think we are? Will people buy our work? I think this photo I have framed is worth 250 bucks, but will other people? It’s never ending. We are creating a supply without yet having a demand and our inventory is growing daily. We need to figure out what people want. Or do we? Do we do what we think others will want, or do we do what we love and find the market for it?

No matter what we do, we will have critics that tell us our passion, our pride and our courage are not worth the dollar amount we set to it. Why? Because art is subjective. Even a Picasso is not worth the millions of dollars society says it is to a person who does not love his work. Ok, close your jaw and stop feeling appalled. I am not dissing Picasso. Personally, I find his work interesting and inspiring, in the sense that one day, long after I am dead, my work will also be worth millions of dollars and the early works of me will be treasurers of which art historians will lust after. Careful, your mouth is open again…

Let’s talk about this. What makes something worthy of being in a museum? What makes a photo of a potato worth ONE MILLION EUROS?! (potato article here) Demand…. A collector. Someone who thought that piece was worth more than a couple of bucks. It is a potato after all. Certainly not something I would pay $20 for, let alone a million Euros, but I didn’t know this guy prior to this article and I certainly don’t lust after his work like the buyer did.

So how does a picture of a potato relate to your local artist? It’s simple really, your local artist has the potential to sell his/her work for a million dollars one day and you just got one hell of a bargain! Art is an investment, yes? Think about it for second. Even Mr. Abosch wasn’t an overnight success. He had to start somewhere and if we’re being completely honest, he probably wasn’t the first photographer to use a black backdrop in his studio, but he made it iconic, at least according to the above article.

The simple fact that the artist you are negotiating with – in essence telling her that her work is not worth what she is asking – has worked hard to even get to a place that would allow you to feel comfortable negotiating is not to be dismissed. If you don’t think it’s worth the asking price, simply say it’s beautiful and thank her. Don’t insult her by saying something like ‘I wouldn’t pay that,’ or ‘it’s not big enough for that price.’ You have no idea what went into creating that piece, if you did you would certainly be less likely to negotiate. Perhaps you could do the same thing, or something similar, go for it and when you have taken the steps that artist did, then – and only then – do you get to have a decent conversation about price, until then, please respect the time, energy, soul and money we have dedicated to our art that you love enough to want to buy. It could be museum-worthy one day and you just got one hell of a deal. Art is an investment after all…

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