The Basic Formula to Help you Price your Art Work

Let’s get down to business!

Cost to make and exhibit your art: receipts for things you can count and measure, which end up leaving your studio when you sell the piece. This is everything that you put into your art, such as the materials and the substrates on which you make it. This includes any frames, hanging systems or presentation pedestals that you use to exhibit your work.

Overhead: make a list of all the tools and equipment that you keep in your studio to make your art. Determine what your monthly costs are for those tools and upkeep. Include space, utilities, taxes, insurances and security.

Labor to make Art and run your business: write down whatever you pay your assistants, contract employee or companies, business professionals (e.g. bookkeepers, accountants and lawyers) plus any commissions you pay out to your representatives (whether they be artist representatives, curators, galleries, art consultants, interior designers, etc).

Allocate an hourly rate of pay for the time you spend on your art, from conception to completion. Include the time you spend on art marketing, as well as shipping, handling and installation, too.

Now that you have the first three factors figured out (costs, overhead, and labor) you can put them into a spreadsheet and divide them by a time period, say, every month.

Then you can divide your monthly costs by the number of pieces you sell each month to figure out your “cost of goods sold.” This will be the minimum you should charge for each of your works of art.

Your Talent and Track Record:

Professional accomplishments – You may be able to charge a premium on your work if you are a member of an elite group of artists or art association; or if you are the recipient of juried prizes, awards, residencies, honorary degrees.

Past purchases – Take into account what your artwork has sold for in the past. The highest price you have been able to consistently get becomes the minimum for your next series of work.

Geographic reach – Typically, the further away from home that you sell your work, the higher the price. In other words, if you are located in the Midwest, but sell your art in galleries on both coasts, you will be able to charge more for your art than someone who only sells their work in their hometown.


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