I spend a fair amount of time in the art business forum in a site called www.wetcanvas.com Two of the most popular discussion topics are getting work in galleries and pricing. There are stories of how some galleries reject artists because they don’t have credentials, either educational or otherwise. I think most of the time the real reason that galleries reject artists is that they aren’t convinced that the artist’s work will sell.
So please be prepared to convince galleries that your work is saleable. The way to do that is to include a sales history as a part of your resume. Why not?
Art Sales History
|Date Sold||Original or Print?||Size in Sq. Inches||Price Per Sq. Inch?||If a print, how many in the edition|
Most importantly, you want the history to show a steady increase in prices and a steady increase in print edition sizes and the more sold out editions the better.
Even if you don’t wish to share this chart with another individual it is still a good exercise to go through. When you are finished, examine the list. Is the value of your work increasing? If it isn’t, your asking price is probably under value. After all, there were buyers of all the pieces listed. There are going to be buyers when you increase your price on comparable work.
Here is why. I am a print buyer. I have to love a piece before I buy it. I also might have to save for it. A lot of times I will put off buying until later but I better not put it off too long or the edition will might sell out.
I would show the entire world evidence that the value of my work is increasing. The way you do that is by telling the world what has been purchased and at what price. Bold, yes it is bold.
A gallery cannot quibble about a proven sales track record. So if you don’t have a strong resume, just include your sales history and see what happens!
Several artists I know pre-sell their originals. You must get on a list. That impresses me. I am a print buyer and the fact that there are other people who like the artist’s work is a factor to consider when hitching my wagon to an artist.
It is even more powerful to see the artist sell out editions on a regular basis. As a print buyer, it makes me feel good that I belong to a crowd of people who like the artist’s work. The editions are selling out, if I wait too long, there won’t be any left. Besides, the artist’s work is increasing in value. I better buy now.
You can bet that the successful artists manage this process very well. They nudge the prices upwards on every new original and print edition. Some say they are afraid of pricing themselves out of the market. Not so, you’re moving the market! The first step in planning is a situation appraisal. Take a hard look at your sales. Is your work increasing in value?
This newsletter has apparently been helpful to a lot of artists. We are swamped. Finally artists are realizing that original paints are far more valuable then they thought. They are producing high quality prints.
Here is what I have been working on. I’ve revised our price structure to reward artists that follow philosophy: They release 3 to 6 prints at a time, and then market the heck out of them.
They start with small editions, 25 to 100 in an edition to get started. Editions are based on what you can sell out in a year. They price their prints at five to six times the non-recurring cost of the print.
We have been welcoming artists who come to us with one image and who order one or two prints. It is not a very efficient way to do business for the artist or for the printer. Starting with only one print simply does not make sense. Printing one print for an artist doesn’t make sense either.
So now we offer our service in an all inclusive package price. Everything is included from setup and proofing all the way through top-coating and shipping. You know exactly what you costs are going to be up front.
It is an efficient way for us to provide artists what they need and we share the savings in efficiency with the artist. I think you will find that it is a terrific value for quality giclée printing. We will, of course, honor all commitments made under the old pricing system.
We urge all of our customers to pre-sell the first print of each of your editions to pay for your print order. So visit our new pricing page and let me know if you have questions and please let me know what you think.