Friday, July 09, 2010

On Pricing Artwork

When I mentioned to Greg Gusse, photographer, poet, owner of the Alaska Gallery in Palmer and collector of my artwork that I was lowering the prices on my art, he said to me, “how would you feel if you bought a piece of art from a particular artist and went somewhere else and found it for a lower price?”

That is a very dicey subject and always creates more questions than it answers. The price is based on many things; perceived value, location, providence of the artwork, artist recognition, whether the artist is alive or dead, time, materials, galleryist commissions (in some cases as much as 70% to them and a mere 30% to the artist) etc and so forth. You get the idea.

On the question of perceived value; that is if it does not cost as much as a small car it must not be worth owning. Gallery owners put a lot of money, time and energy into who they represent based on “whatever” “the Art World is fickle” “as they say” and nothing tickles the fickle as the need to possess something as rare and valuable as artwork.

If you bought the Self Portrait of Van Gogh (1853-1890) that sold for 71.5 million then you have a great treasure worth a fortune! The artist story is every bit as compelling as the art they create. This morning I listened to UPR and learned how valuable and collectable Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) is to people like George Lucas and Stephan Spielberg and their personal reasons why they love the artist and his work.

But what of the living artist? Do we create for the narcisstic need for recognition and fame while we are alive and immortality when we pass on? Do we create to express and communicate our talent and vision to the world? Do we create because NOT to create and express through our art is the same as cutting off an appendage? we would be lost. The answer is YES to all these statements. I would like to be one of Americas top 10 artists even one of Alaska's top artists like Jon Van Zyle or Sidney Lawrence 1865-1940. But honestly I have not reached that pinnacle in my career.

Yet each one of my art pieces are an original - special and unique in their own way and I think of them as my children and sometimes like our children they need to leave the nest. I am moving on with artwork I have simmering on the burner of my sub-conscious mind new ideas to explore for a great body of work. It's time to clear my space to let the new come in.

Sadly monetary gain is often the marker which we use to validate ourselves, the time, money, blood, sweat and tears we put into our work. I do not ascribe to that philosophy, while money is good, an affordable price does not devalue a good work of art, or the artist!

Because I am a member of an artists co-op:
Firefly Gallery
419 L. St.
Downtown Anchorage,
I have the freedom to reduce my prices and pass them on to collectors and future collectors of my art.  For a limited time at my discression my prices have been reduced. Who knows, when I become famous you would have an original piece of Judy Vars worth a small fortune. Did I word that right?.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I feel that the art world has never really change, people are fickle, the times are fickle, money is fickle. Every decade there is always someone who makes art and find places to hang their art in communities that share art criticism which leads to popularity and possibly fortune. There has always been these places. Unfortunately I could not find one in Alaska as of yet. Maybe Greg is right maybe sending our work to the Anchorage Museum will bring art criticism to our work. As for Fortune I don't know if the museum can produce that. AS for Pricing you can put any price on it and it would not matter , it's the person who is buying the piece that matters (a collector, patron, critic, etc.). "Seven days in the Art World" is a great book and can tell you what kind of art world exist today, it's very telling. Julius Cavira