Nicola over on Pointy Pix, started a discussion on how to price your work. Well being a jobbing artist who will never grow rich on the sale of originals, I can only relate how I made a living on the margins by selling cheap prints of my work. I don't pretend to be the expert nor do I want to teach my grandmother to suck eggs ...
... My most successful pictures, commercially, not necessarily artistically, were the two scenes of Monschau. I confess these were drawn to fit what I considered to be a niche market, albeit I loved the subjects.
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|Stone Bridge in Monschau, Eifel, Germany|
Pen & Ink 10" x 6" John Simlett 1981
Let me explain. Monschau is a delightful village in the Eifel mountains in Northwest Germany. In the summer it was full of hikers, canoeists and tourists. In the winter it was a ski resort.
I noticed that the rich tourists crossed the Stone bridge to use the hotel. The less affluent, ate their picnics down by the Metal bridge in the area to the front right (see picture below).
I drew the pictures in pen and ink and had 100 prints of each made, across the border in Roermond, Holland (Judy's neck of the woods). Pat and I then bought really nice but very cheap frames in Germany and framed the lot. They sold like hotcakes! We only took £5 ($8) profit off each.
We then repeated the exercise, over and over again.
|Metal Bridge in Monschau, Eifel, Germany|
Original Pen and Ink etched onto metal plate
10" x 6" John Simlett 1981
The only reservation customers had was that the glass could get broken when flying home. I therefore had them reproduced as metal etchings by an English company that employed physically disabled people, and that made Pat and I really happy. I still only asked £5 profit off each ....and they sold and sold.
The other idea I had was to display both pictures alongside each other, amongst all the other pictures. People didn't want to spend a lot and so they would ask how much the metal bridge was - they were so pleasantly surprised at how cheap it was that they bought both pictures - spending far more than they had intended - and went away delighted. I was told by all the experts that I was underpricing. But if the customer was happy and we were happy, who could ask for a better outcome?
Now I'm not going to lecture here. That's the story take from it what you want. There are lots of ways making a living from art, but don't wait for the markets to come to you.