Progress Report – And a Discussion About Pricing Art

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Painted Corner
New Paint – Two Rooms Done, Two to Go…

Yes, I have been working these last few weeks, but I haven’t had a lot of photos to share. That’s partly because a lot of my work has been non-art related. I’ve been painting walls that should have been painted several years ago, but I really, really hate painting walls. This week seemed like a good time to do it, since the weather has been so miserable that I can’t spend time outside, and the paper mache on Harry and my chimp has been drying painfully slow.

No excuses left, so I bought some paint. (And now I remember why I put it off for so long – I still really hate painting walls…)

Harry the greyhound’s clay form was redone, as you can see in the photo above. I removed all the old grey clay and started over with Super Sculpey. I realized that I was putting off working on Harry because of the icky feeling of the sticky oil-based clay. Once the old clay was gone and I replaced it with the Sculpey, it started to come together and I felt a lot better about the work.

The nose and mouth area were cast in Aqua-Resin. I then replaced that area of the clay with the new resin piece, and started covering the form with the shop towels and fast-setting paper mache paste, like I did in the Pantalone mask video series. When that was dry (it’s taking forever, even with the fan), I filled in the wire mesh ears with paper mache clay. Today I should be able to add the gesso and begin painting.

As you can see, the chimp is also coming along, but slowly. The face is cast Aqua-Resin, the body was made just like the masks, and now I’m adding paper mache clay to texture his fur. (You can see how dark it’s been here – they’re sitting in my greenhouse window, but still I didn’t have enough light for a decent photo. Sigh…)

But enough of my slow progress – I want to talk about how to price artwork.

This is what I think about this issue – and I’d love to know if you agree or disagree:

  1. If you feel better about having the money than the sculpture, you’ve found a good price.
  2. And the value of the sculpture or painting has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with how much time it took to make, or how much you think your time is worth.

This week I actually received some support for both of these ideas. In the little photo at the top of the page you can see that I watched a video of a conversation between Cory Huff and Melissa Dinwiddie while I applied the layers of paper mache to Harry last week. Melissa said in the video that one way you know if your prices are too low is to check to see how you feel when you’re making something that will be sold at that price. If you find yourself feeling even a little resentful of your buyers, it’s time to charge more.

Then this morning I was reading The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau, and found this statement:

Price your product or service in relation to the benefit it provides, not the cost of producing it.

He had several examples of people who sell information products and other services for many times their cost, and people were more than happy to pay the price. The key, according to Chris, is to make sure you understand what benefit the buyer receives from owning the product, and then choose the price accordingly. An example from the art world would be prints that sell for several hundred dollars, when the print itself cost $10 or less to produce. That would mean that the benefit of owning the print is worth far more to the buyers then the cost of the paper and ink.

But now the questions is “how can we determine the benefit of owning an original sculpture or painting without determining first how much it cost to create or how much time we spent on it?” And, since we all tend to be far more judgmental about our own work than other people are, how can we get inside the mind of a potential buyer and forget, for a moment, our own insecurities — and our natural qualms about asking for money?

When you shop for art, do you buy something because you have a strong emotional attraction that overcomes your reluctance to part with your money? Or because you you like the idea of showing the piece off to your friends? Or because you think it will fit perfectly with the look you’re trying to achieve in your room? Those are benefit-related buying decisions.

Or do you think “like the artist” and calculate how long it probably took to create the work, then multiply that number of hours by the hourly wage you think the artist’s time is worth, and compare the amount to the price on the sticker to see if it’s a fair price? Somehow I doubt it.

So, this really just means that we should price our work the way any business owner would do who is thinking about creating a little low-cost start-up company based on a particular product. If we knew how to make widgets, we would look at other widgets available in the marketplace, determine how our widget would fit in to that market, and determine if the average price of related widgets would be high enough for us to make a reasonable profit. This assumes no emotional investment in creating the widget – which also means that if the numbers don’t come out to our advantage, we would shelve the widget idea and think about making what’s-its instead. Many successful professional artists do go through this process, but beginning artists often have a hard time thinking this way.

So, after all this meandering, what do you think? Is there a practical, reasonable way for someone to put a price on artwork, if that person has never sold anything before? What kind of advice would you give to that person? If you sell artwork, how do you determine the price?

49 thoughts on “Progress Report – And a Discussion About Pricing Art”

  1. Hi Jonni,
    I know the subject of pricing artwork has not been at the forefront lately and I have re-read your entire article and responses several times, still I have questions. While being involved with art my entire life, I have never taken the step at entering my work into art shows or thought of selling. I am finally doing that, being juried this monday on 4 paper mache animal sculptures. It is for a fine art show and they want me to provide prices for the pieces. When pricing, should it matter that you have never sold your art? In actuality, I am not all that concerned with the pricing, I am really just looking for the validation. Is the price part of the validation? I am at a loss, and I must admit, a bit terrified!

    • Hi Eileen. Do you happen to know an artist who has been accepted into the show in the past? That might help figure out how to price the work, and to figure out exactly what the judges are looking for.

      I’m really terrible with the art pricing question, even though I try to answer this question fairly often. With my books, it’s easy – I just see how much it will cost to get them printed, and how much other people are charging for similar books, and try to make my prices competitive. Pricing art just isn’t that easy. However, if the price is “right,” it will feel right – you’ll be glad to sell the work for that price instead of keeping it. (Remember that the show will probably take a chuck of the price for their commission, too.)

      If there are any artists online who sell similar work, check and see how much they’re charging. Etsy has a few paper mache sculptors, and there’s a list of them at the bottom of this page. (Some of the links might not work any more – I haven’t checked them lately.) I wish I could be more helpful – and I hope you get into that show.

      • Jonni- Well, I survived my first art show jury, still don’t know if I got in but in all it was a positive experience. I have to tell you a bit about it-I’m sure you will get a kick hearing it. So, they take my sculptures, bio, pricing list into the jurists while I fill out some paperwork. They call me in rather quickly. Before the introducions were even made, the sculptor of the group excitedly asks me what medium I work with-“Is it paper mache???” I grin and say that he is correct. The whole panel state that they love the sculptures but want to hear about the process. I try to explain it as simply as I can but when I get to describing the paper mache clay, he interrupts and says “There’s this gal on Youtube who does tutorials on paper mache and using the paper mache clay.” Again, I grin and tell him that is where I learned how to do it. Jonnie- You are infamous! Here you are in the midwest and people in Pennslyvania know all about you! This particular juror is an art teacher at Immaculata College. Anyway, I won’t hear back for about a week. They asked if I would be willing to write up the whole process for the art show. (Yeah- only if I get in!) We will see…it is a high end show in a wealthy area- let’s see if paper mache makes the cut! Thanks- I wouldn’t have ever done this without all of your help in your books, videos and this blog. You are the best.

        • How fun! Small world, isn’t it? It sounds like you’re in, but one can’t know for sure until the official notification. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you. Will you be able to post a photo of your pieces on the blog so we can all see them? Maybe on our Daily Sculptors page?

  2. Hi Jonni,
    Long time no posts, not been doing any artwork, nothing was working, life got in the way of what I wanted to do, but that is the way things go at times.
    I found this discussion about pricing very interesting, its such a difficult topic. I live in the country and the pic I will attach (not paper mache, but just using it as an example)
    ?of something I made just would not sell for even $200, then I put it into an exhibition that was much closer to a city, and I sold it for $570 easily, so if you can go to an area that people have money to spare, it makes a difference. I have sold quite a few peices of paper mache, but I have priced them quite low, some have sold before the exhibitons even open, this tells me they are priced too low, but building confidence in yourself is another difficult aspect to over come.

  3. Pricing is a difficult discussion because there are so many factors, impressions, variables that go along with it and to know what someone would pay. I see so many people on Etsy giving their work and products away. Although I do wonder how many might actually be resellers too.

    There’s the old saying in sales, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. I’d say start higher than you think you might because it’s always easier to lower your prices, (or better yet, offer sales from time to time) than it is to raise them. Sometimes it’s impossible to charge for the actual hours, but it’s important to take them into consideration. Along with everything you use for materials, advertising/making the sale, overhead…all that “fun” stuff. I think it’s easy to forget about these things.

    I just started reading Chris’ book and am really enjoying it. Haven’t been able to stop thinking about everything he says. Now I just need to start implementing more of it!

    Love the beginnings of the mountain lion. Gosh, such talented people here! It’s fun to see what everyone is working on.

  4. Hi
    I never sold any art so I can’t realy say much about that yet. I am trying to find ways to make a living by using my creativity though!
    I do like to drop a thought fro Jonni…
    perhaps you should sell your video’s and knowledge, like you do with your books.
    You can show us half and anyone who is intressed in the results will buy if you keep the price right. I am sure they will. I know I would. You share and offer so much, you should get something in return.
    Some blogs you pay to be a member. Perhaps there is something tin this to think about?

    Do hope I have not upset anyone now πŸ˜‰ I only mean it with good intentions.

    • Yes, Gea – I’ve thought about making videos. In fact, I’m mulling around the idea of one now, but they take a huge amount of time. However, my books are selling quite well right now, (a big thanks to everyone who bought one!) and they’re getting really good reviews on Amazon. I don’t think I’d want to do another strictly paper mache book, though, because the market is limited and I think I could end up competing with myself. (Have I ever ranted about the fact that books about making stuff with duct tape outsell me (and Dan Reeder, too) by about three or four to one? That bugs me, for some reason… πŸ˜‰ )

      • I did not understand your last allina… the part about ranted to the smily

        It is great your books sell so well. I have one of yours on my list to buy soon!
        I still don’t see why you can not have different public. One for the papermache books and one on the mixed technics you have been using as you went along with the chimp. Part of it is still with the papermache but a leval further. I would love to know and see more about it and you explain things well and have a pleasent voice .
        I do realy believe people will be intressed an might want to by a video tutorial like that.

        You could sell it and still be able to provide your responce to questions on a ( special) blog. You could sell it including a login for that link?
        It would not scare the person that might want to buy your books!

      • I’m glad your books are doing well Jonni. I had no doubt. Out sold by Duct Tape huh. Sorry you couldn’t hear me snort when I read that. I image every pre-teen and teen who can talk their folks into purchasing that particular book for them is the reason.
        Ever notice how items gain popularity at warp speed until the market place is flooded with them, then in a blink it’s crash and burn?
        Or until China takes on mass production.
        I’ve noticed the popularity of those mass produced ‘trophy head’ wildlife masks taking over the market. Their selling price is a fraction of the cost to consumers of those which are hand made. Etsy, for example has them. Even though that particular site is not supposed to allow this practice, they’re still there. I’ve seen the exact same identical product selling on Ebay and they are a hot commodity.
        Now, That bugs me.

        • Yes, I’ve noticed that a lot of the work on Etsy comes from China and Eastern Europe. Not that folks in those countries don’t need the money, too, but it does make it hard to compete.

          • Well, the masks I was referring to are Not sold out of China, but from China via U.S. sellers. You know, buy cheap, sell higher to make a profit? That’s what bugs me. Actually, this puts a shadow on the Etsy site. Of course, they wouldn’t permit it if they knew, but they have grown so large it is impossible, I’m sure, for them to police everything. They do ask to be notified when their policies are trespassed.
            For me, I’ll just lump the issue with our prior talk on copyright infringement. I really want to just leave it be.


            It irritates me. Because I see the ME, MINE, the loss of integrity, lawlessness, and deterioration and the results of that combination in this country. Yet, I am determined to force myself to let it go. One of my strong reasons: After the U.S. government’s ACTA, SOPA, PIPA and all the rest of the unconstitutional crap they’ve been rapid firing through Congress behind closed doors, I can’t help but feel sick in my soul . Fair warning as I’m getting off the topic of paper mache… I’ll just say that when it was revealed that what took place in the 1990’s when the HIV/AIDS virus epidemic began running rampant in West Africa and U.S. Pharmaceutical Company’s costs for meds remained astronomically unaffordable to them…that country was unable to pay U.S. prices. Africa wanted to manufacture generic drugs of their own for their sick and dying, or buy such from another country. Oh No! our U.S. billion dollar profiting Pharmaceutical companies would have none of that so, they passed law, claiming all copyrights, and made it impossible for West Africa to do anything for their 20,000 people dying each month, because they could not pay. The U.S. Pharmaceutical companies stood by and did Nothing. Their greed is shameful. I’m only citing one instance here.

            I’m not beyond getting greedy, or indignant if I think somebody is stepping on my toes…. but that one instance leaves a really bad taste in my mouth.

            I hope our own citizens open their eyes and take a stand on their own initiative to support their own home grown artists and small businesses. How about some respect for what we produce here and the rights of those who produce it.
            Maybe we should all stick labels on our work…AMERICAN MADE WITH PRIDE by A Home Grown U.S. Small Person.

            • Well, not a U.S. Small Person. How about, A U.S. Small Business Person?

              That’s enough from me.

            • I kind of like US Small Person, too. At least as compared to Big Corporation vs. Small Person. : )

              Anyway, Jonni, about the idea of writing more books being competition for yourself. I wonder about that. Personally, as long as the designs were different and there were new ideas and information, I’d be inclined to buy more books. The books are nice, because they’re portable, and I don’t worry about them when I’m using paste or paint (unlike the computer) … I’m not sure how many people need to buy a book to make it worth your while to write it … but I’d hope that selling more books to the same people would make up for the folks who only bought one.

              Of course, if you don’t want to write another book about the same topic … or are ready to branch out … that’s great too. (After reading your post, I’m immediately scheming combo paper mache and duct tape projects (tho really, masking tape or paper packing tape would be better … but if it has to be duct tape, it can be! … : ) ).

      • Hi Jonni,

        I am enormously grateful for your instructional videos that have cost me nothing. But I have to agree with gea that there is certainly money to be made there. And the books! I ordered “How to Make Masks” and paid extra to get it quickly and it’s worth every cent.
        I live in the country so I hung out near the front door all day, waiting for the UPS truck for fear he would zip on by. And he did zip on by at 6pm! I was ready chase him up the road on foot! But he diligently turned around somewhere and came back and I was all smiles to see that truck coming back down the road. I was reminded of that old song “The Wells Fargo wagon is-a-coming down the street, oh don’t let it pass my door!”
        I have only had a brief look at this gem, I wanted to say thanks. Now I have to make supper, alas. But you know what I will be doing the rest of the night.
        Thanks for this dandy article on how to price things. I sometimes sell little drawings on ebay and I have never been sure where to start my prices. You have given me a better idea on how to judge what I want for my art. I have usually been happy that a few sales keep me in prismacolors and paper. I am just preparing to learn how to do paper mache, and who knows? Maybe someday I will be able to ponder an asking price for a piece of sculpture.

  5. Hmmmm… I have been selling mache figures for about 3 years. I do try to track my time and material, and try to get a minimum of $10 per hour. That being said sometimes a piece will figure out to $2 an hour because I redid the eyes 80 times. My work is not near as developed as Jonnis and many of the artist here. It is very primative. I had my work in a small gallery and pieces priced at $50- $80 sold ok. Sized about 15″-20″ The next time I did an installment I raised the amount because the commission of the gallery left me feeling flat. I sold very few. I then look at what I would have made at my “REAL” job for those hours( and I have a minimal paying job), and it would have been better to clock in. But what would my artist soul felt like?? I say price em high, have faith and hold on.

    • Finding the price that pleases the consumer and gives the artist a living wage is difficult. I think that may be especially true with paper mache, because it takes so dang long. One thing that was mentioned in the book $100 Startup is that some hobbies don’t make very good businesses. That’s partly because if you turn your hobby into a business, what will you do for fun? But the other problem is what Monica is facing – prices that meet the needs of the producer don’t always mesh with what people are willing to pay. Back when I sold art for a living, I sold prints for that very reason.

      I did a video series a few months ago showing people how I made a wolf mask. The series took me forever, so there was no question that people seeing the series knew how long it took. For some reason I received more requests to sell the wolf mask than any other item I’ve ever shown, which was kind of cool. But the amount offered was usually less than $50. My “wolf-mask factory” couldn’t make them at that price and pay it’s sole employee a living wage. (And working in a wolf mask factory would be horrendous drudgery for me – no thanks!) The low perceived value, as expressed by the people who asked me to sell one, would mean that I can’t sell them and make a profit — but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the mask is “worth” more, at least to that particular market.

      However, if marketed correctly, it’s entirely possible that someone could make a good living making wolf masks, if they presented them differently, and to a different group of buyers. Maybe that’s what you should do, Monica – find another gallery or sales outlet where buyers have a bit more ready cash, so you can do more market research.

      By the way – do you have any photos of your work that you would like to share? I’d really like to see them.

      • Hi Jonni,
        I read your post above some time ago and I was going to comment at that time on a statement you made in it. Just going to do it now.
        Discovering the prices you were offered for your wonderful wolf masks was extremely disheartening. True, cash flow is pretty much on a tight leash for most everyone. Nevertheless, reading your post here reminded me of why I stopped participating in Art and Craft Shows many years ago. When I realized customers had turned to flea market mentality, when some attempted to bargain with me on my prices, when a customer admiring my original art asked me where I purchased my stencil for it…that was it for me. The most sincere appreciations I received on my work came from other artists. Regardless of their chosen medium, artists are pretty clear of all that goes into a piece.
        Oh, I almost forgot. Last year my daughter talked me into participating with her in a show here in town. I told her I quit doing arts/crafts shows years ago/had no interest, but of course she talked me into contributing a couple of my pieces. When a customer admiring my work said,…”this isn’t arts and crafts, this is fine art”… it became crystal clear the difference in perception of the value of original work according to the category it’s consigned to.
        At the Wild Life Art Show I recently attended, there was only one paper mache sculpture. It was nice, but my taste ran different on the subject matter and quality of the work. Nevertheless, this was a ‘fine art show’ entry that sold for over $200. I truly believe the selling price worked only because it was promoted as ‘fine art’ in a ‘fine art show’.
        Someone mentioned here that paper mache conjures memories of kindergarten crafts, so I can see how those memories of art with this medium could diminished it’s value in the eye of the beholder in that instance. I’ve come to the conclusion that exactly how we promote our art, particularly in paper mache, and the value and price we set for it, deserves quite a bit of thought in regard to just how it will/can and possibly be perceived.
        Just some food for thought.

        • Good points, Sharon. To be fair about the wolf mask pricing issue, I should mention that the offers came from people who saw a video showing how to make one. The video would put the piece in the craft category, I think, since the creation of the video implies that other people could also make one. If it were shown in a mask gallery, where people aren’t thinking about how it’s made, but how it looks, I think the response would be very different. Which means, of course, that you’re right – how the piece is presented, and the market where it’s shown, will greatly affect the perceived value.

          I hope that lady bought something! πŸ˜‰

          • Oh – and you reminded me of something else, too. Back when I actually made my living selling art at local outdoor arts and crafts shows, I discovered that I sold well at juried shows. The harder it was for artists to get in, the more I sold. When I set up a booth at a show where anyone could have a space if they were willing to plunk down the entry fee, I went home empty-handed. The reputation of the show really made a difference. That was many years ago – I don’t know if this is still true, but I would assume so.

          • Came back to this topic since reading several weeks ago. Very good points! I had problems years ago when I made baskets from oak. My baskets were small and people who also see small items think they should have small price tags. I think that if the wolf mask was marketed in New Orleans around Mardi Grai or a like venue, it would sell VERY well! The venue is important. I live in Atlanta, GA and galleries in Atlanta will triple the price over what a smaller gallery in an “Atlanta Area” venue would sell the item. So, season and venue?

            • Yes, good points. How the piece is marketed, and to whom it’s marketed are really key to getting the best prices, I think. That would be true for any kind of product, so art shouldn’t be any different.

  6. Hi,
    I sell my art in a Art Center the main center where there are loads of other gallery’s all around. I think pricing is huge, people are sitting on their hands and do allot of looking, I look at it one of two ways #1. would I be willing to pay that, for this? I think in terms of people, not wealthy people, just regular schmoe’s like you and me. #2. As an artist, am I happy with what I am getting for my art? I have to admit, not all the time, but if you want to “sell” in a bad economy sometimes you have to take some hit’s. So you have to make the call how bad of a hit am I willing to take. Trust me I am sitting on some of my art, and when people have a more disposable income I will try and sell it then. My husband said one day “if it doesn’t sell, it was meant to come back.”

    • Good points, Kathy. I know that a lot of oil painters are able to create more expensive original paintings, and then sell prints to the ones who can’t yet afford the originals. Sculptors have a harder time doing this, since we can’t just have a machine print out a copy of a sculpture. Maybe there is another way to create a wider price range, though – so we can afford to hold on to the big pieces until the economy picks up, and still make the rent selling the little ones. Or add some other service, like teaching, to the mix.

  7. Jonni,

    Maybe you have explained it elsewhere, but I don’t remember reading about it, so I will go ahead and ask….. why the Aqua-resin castings on certain parts of the dog and chimp sculptures? Is it to make future sculptures easier (ie, re-use the chimp’s face) or because you wanted those certain areas more durable or more detailed than the paper mache clay will allow?
    I’m just curious because you always are so generous in sharing not only how you do things, but also the why. It’s great to read your thought-processes.
    Thanks again.

    • Hi Lisa. I’m actually using the resin on the chimp as a test to see how the product works. The face could have been made with the paper mache clay instead, but I wanted to try something different. I also wanted to try the re-usable wax mold material, and I really like it. It isn’t as good as silicone, but it’s way cheaper if you use the material for more than one mold.

      For Harry, the teeth would have been really hard to do with the paper mache or the paper mache clay, because they’re tucked up under the nose where tools would be hard to reach. Since I already had the wax mold stuff and the resin on hand, I decided to use them. I think it worked just fine. But again, it wasn’t really needed. Sometimes you just have to play with new toys…. πŸ™‚

  8. Great topic of conversation Jonni.
    I have to go with “prevent resentment” when pricing. At the moment I am STILL working on my mountain lion. How many months has this been. Hum, I’ll round it up to 3. Of course that’s working off and on between replacing water pipes, tearing down a wall then sheet rocking and texturing, on and on. Then working a few hours now and again on my cat, making myself do this when I’d rather be finishing something else, then getting sick of my poor ole mountain lion because it’s demanding my attention. All and all, if I sold him based on materials + hours + pain in the neck, I would have to sell him for at least $10,000. I doubt that’s likely….

    • But he’s looking great! I do understand how sometimes a project can drag on so long you end up resenting the unfinished thing for making you feel like you “should” be working on it. But in the end, it’s almost always worth all the work. How big is this guy? (I love the bend in the wrist – he’s very lifelike. )

      • This cat is sitting on tile squares that are almost 13″ x 13″ each. So, the length is about 33″ give or take. Height about 13″. I set my unfinished doll next to it which is only about 11 1/2″ high (she still has no arms or hands…only been working on HER for about 3 years), and boy does she look teeny. I was hoping to get the cat done for 2 shows the City’s Fine Arts Council is putting on. Just missed the deadline for one at the Wildlife Center, and the next juried panel is coming up in a couple of weeks. Got to make this cat a priority because I really want to see what comes of this if I get him done and entered.

    • Hi Jonni
      My cat challenge from your April mache cat tutorial is finally done so thought I would post a picture. Did not have the camera available when my siamese, Sam, stretched out by him one day. Fickle stinker won’t do it again. My cougar is about 3+ times larger than Sam who is full grown.
      Unfortunately I just noticed the shadow under the cat’s head I picked up in the image. Oh well…

        • Thank you Jonni for your compliment. Most importantly I want to thank you for your cat tutorial here and your challenge to follow your lead. That is what got the fire started for me to get this project going. I’ve wanted to create a mountain lion for a very long time but couldn’t force myself to start until your post.
          So now that I’ve done it, my thanks to you wonderful lady.
          Question, do you ever work on a project so long and diligently that by the time you think you’ve done enough…you get absolutely NO satisfaction or pleasure in your completed work? Then find after months or a year, you can look at the finished project with some degree of satisfaction? Rather quirky but that happens to me some times.

          • Yes, that happens. But usually, if a project takes a really long time, it ends up unfinished at the back of the garage. πŸ˜‰

            I like the ones that I enjoy living with, no matter how long they take to make. I don’t even remember the work, if I like the piece. My giraffe is a good example – I tried a zillion different things before I finally finished it, but once it was done it felt like having another friend in the house. If someone else had made it, I’m sure I would enjoy it just as much. Your cougar must feel like that – if you can forget much time it took to make him. He’s beautiful.

            • You make me laugh.
              Maybe I ought to get my unfinished pieces out of eyesight. Great idea.
              Your giraffe is beautiful, as well as everything else you’ve created.

              To answer the question about what I’m going to do with this guy…I am going to enter him into the Fine Art Show jury. The deadline is tomorrow. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. If he passes the jurors criteria, I’ll enter him into the show.
              I really don’t have high hopes he’ll sell…There is an entry fee plus a 50% commission charge. I’m not going to compromise on what I want, actually need, to get for him. So that sell price is only going to appeal to someone who MUST have him.
              After that, he just might go on Etsy. I will let you know so you can take a look and see how these sculptures go.

            • Oh, I’ll see if I can provide a link…if my guy passes the big test.
              I added a couple pictures on my blog, better ones I think, even tho the breeze was blowing making sun splotches all over the body.

            • Thanks. Laying by blackberry bushes probably isn’t where I’d find a mountain lion…but it was better there than under my lemon tree.
              I dropped him off and will be hearing in a day or two if the judge decides he goes or stays. I don’t think there will be any problem….but you never know. They were having an art show in progress so I looked around and found a couple of P.M. relief sculptures included. Gave me an idea to try one. I realize now that I didn’t even look at the prices they were offered at. I always seem to forget to take my notes along with me when I go anywhere. Another gift of the Golden Years. Notes are now a necessity.

            • Jonni I want to share some fun news with you on my venture. I received a call this morning and was told my cougar passed the Fine Arts judge’s jury process. Whoop WHOOP!!!
              My question next to my caller was “Did I Win Anything??”
              Well, she didn’t want to tell me but I became very persuasive. So she did…
              My mountain lion took 3rd Place in the show!
              Officially the show won’t begin until July 17th. At that time I will try to figure out if there is a link.
              Confirmation that our paper mache art falls most definitely under Fine Art! That category in itself ought to bring greater appreciation and hopefully increased monetary value to our work.
              Yay, I’m going to celebrate by mopping my kitchen floor with a big fat smile on my face!

  9. I ask myself “do I want them to look at it or do I want them to buy it”. I think what I would pay and start there; but you never know. I had a lady pay my price of $75.00 for garden art, after she paid said “I would have paid $175.00” In the end we were both happy with what was sold and the price paid.

    • So tell us – did her comment make you change your prices next time you displayed your work? Or did you decide that the prices you’d already set were exactly right for your business, even if one buyer might have been willing to pay more?

  10. Hallo!

    I usually think that the work that takes little time to do cost a bit more and that takes longer a bit smaller than the actual time it took to create. And if I want something left for some time, it costs a lot.
    It’s also good to do some market among their friends or others interested in art so you know where to put the price.
    Some ideas I use.

  11. My experience is that amateurs typically overprice their work, but I price my own work based on two things: 1) how bad I will feel if, as Jonni puts it, I have the money but no longer the art; and 2) the market — am I selling through a carriage trade gallery or at an art fair?

    There’s no point in trying to figure your materials unless you are deducting for something like the government, which will allow you the value of the materials. Try telling someone that the piece of paper their art is on is made of cotton rags and cost you $35.00, and see what sort of derision you come up with; the paint is negligible, and of course, the framing is so often not a factor (again, if you explain to someone that no, you will not take off for the work to go unframed, as the mat and frame were chosen for the painting and useless without it, you run into raised eyebrows often). With papier mache and clay, you are talking even less dignity in materials. And no point in trying to figure an hourly wage for yourself either — sometimes miracles happen easily, and sometimes you toil and struggle for mediocre results, that’s just the way things are.

    So you price for your market withe the sure knowledge that you will be expected to bargain anyway, 99% of the time on originals. If you are selling through an art fair, hopefully you have added up your expenses,, and know that if you sell X amount, you will have bested the basic expense and thus can consider things successful thereafter. This is even easier if you give your things to a gallery, as there’s a set percentage, and my attitude is always go ahead and bargain if you don’t mind cutting the bargain out of your percentage……………….


  12. PRICING?

    You are too low if the first person to see it, rips it from your sweaty hand and forces you to take cash.

    You are too high if -after a reasonable number of showings- your chunk of art has learned its’ own way back to the car. Or, sadly, you have to learn how to make better art.

    As a maker of paper mache, I’ve learned to say “mixed media” when queried. Try both descriptions alternating potential buyers. Kindergarten carries a lot of negative baggage and you can see eyes dull at that recollection.

    Price is a reflection of perceived value. If you can document that your paper widget is wondrous, your establish that is has been judged as “having worth” by experts. You can be judged into the local town square festival and that has merit, but not too much and is kin to having your family validate it. Or, you can apply to exhibitions where the judge’s name is an assurance to fact that buying your blob is a reasonable act.

    Remember that we all make sculpture and that sculpture represents 10% of gallery sales. Then deduct all the acceptable medias (stone, wood, concrete, bronze, etc., etc., etc.) and we likely live in a less than a toothpick sized sliver of the total market. Conversely that small fragment of the market has customers – find them and watch their eyes. When they blink, ask for their money.



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