Monday, July 8, 2013

Pricing Question

Q: A friend wants to act as my agent. He says I should price my paintings based on how much time I spend on them. Is this a good idea? 

A: That method is quite unusual among professional artists but beginning artists and non-artists sometimes think it is appropriate. The problem working artists and gallery owners see, is it overvalues time and undervalues the things that separate art from mere labor. It means pieces that were struggled with end up being priced higher than things that were not, even though the latter may be way more successful -- or smaller or bigger. Furthermore, very few artists punch time clocks and, as you well know, much work is done while not actually wielding a brush or snapping the shutter. What makes this pricing method even more unsatisfactory is that most artists work on more than one piece at a time and will often put something aside for days or weeks then come back to it later.

The idea of an hourly, weekly or monthly wage comes out of the industrial revolution as a way for factory owners to control costs. These owners did not base their own incomes on how much time they themselves spent, however.

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