- Don't be in a hurry to show. Wait till you are ready.
- Price by the square inch. Start low.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
I visited a juried exhibition yesterday. Most of the art was beginner level. What caught my attention though was the pricing. I don't know where these people got their pricing ideas, but they were consistently very high.
My art background does not include art school. However, I was very fortunate in being introduced to art by a person who knew what he was talking about as it turned out. His mentor was an artist trained in Montreal at L'ecole des Beaux Arts. He was a demanding teacher who gave bits of advice that came together after quite a period of training and development. Harold was his name. I never met him but I was quickly introduced to his wisdom. Harold gave some interesting advice including these two;
He claimed most beginners start to show when their work is basic beginner. Viewers remember this intro as the kind of capability of that artist (another danger lurks, in another post). A reputable artist who tells you the truth can tell you if you are ready (not a face book comment). Malcolm Gladwell would tell you that it takes a minimum of 10,000 hours on the easel with a good mentor. That would take a long time painting once a week.
Pricing should be by the square inch because area is proportional to value. A buyer does not care how long the painting took, or whether you think it is wonderful. She looks for value. At the beginner stage the price should be low. If every piece is selling, the price is right. As the painter emerges the prices can go up. At this stage the painter is able to acquire gallery representation. Then comes mid career and finally the mature period. These stages can not be achieved by short cuts. You cannot paint today what you will be capable of in 5 years. Painting every day.
My experience with mid career painters, mature artists, and gallery owners supports this pricing approach. Robert Genn subscribes to the methodology. By these standards much of the art at the juried show was between 3 and 10 times overpriced.
Harold's advice, second hand as it has been, has turned out to be true in every case. It took me some years to resolve these nuggets.