Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the prices of my art and the pricing of art in general.. a little background about me- I have an extensive retail background. For about 20 years, I managed some sort of retail operation.. sales, merchandise, Customer Service, etc.. in all those years, and throughout handling all those transactions, the notion that all customers paid the same price for the same goods was super important.
Take away the occasional price increase or sale/off sale situation, pretty much, all customers paid a similar price for a comparable product. So, here is why I am thinking about that with regards to paintings these days..
Last week, a local gallery informed me that they would not hang my show because my pricing was too readily available on the internet. I explained (or I tried to) that if my paintings were hanging in their gallery, they would not be for sale on my website at the same time. I completely understand that it is my courtesy to the gallery for showing my artwork, that they receive commission for selling art during the show. (In this case, the gallery was mandating 50% of the sale- the highest that has ever been proposed to me.) During my show (s) I always remove the art from my website- you cannot see my art in two places (in this case, in person and online) at the same time. They rescinded their offer to hang my show.
Now…this other point.. when I look at art to purchase online, nothing makes me turn away faster than “Price available upon request” or “email for price”.. Why? Frankly, if I read “upon request” (on a menu too)- I can’t afford it. Second, having to contact the artist is a second step…my purchasing is so fast.. I loose interest or see something else (things are literally ONE click away)..and third..I can’t help but wonder if everyone who contacts the artist gets the same price quote. Seriously!
I strongly feel…and I am sure I can find some studies to support this somewhere, that the easier it is for anyone to purchase something, the higher the sell-through will be. You see something in my feed? It’s there.. I make every effort to get things into my inventory listing BEFORE I put them in my feed so that they are there..because it only takes ONE buyer, and I don’t want to miss that single opportunity to sell anything. Also- what the hell am I supposed to do anyway? Wilt away here and wait for the chance to hand over 50% of my earnings to a gallery manager because they send a few emails and make some connections? Artists gotta eat. Families need to eat. Growing tennis daughters eat a LOT.
Add this conversation to the fact that people are emailing me and asking why my prices are so low… LOL (I can’t win, it seems) and I am a ball of confusion. What do you think? You’re a customer (maybe you’re a collector?) I’d love to talk more about this.