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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Advice Needed: How Much to Charge for Outside Outsider Art?

A few years ago, Mr FS, who heretofore had evinced no interest in his artistic side, began to make creatures of wood. I suppose he can be classed as an outsider artist since he has never had a lesson. Still, he has been to the Louvre and other major museums, so I suppose he's a semi-outsider. The art is definitely outside.

The creatures reside on our fence and the outside walls of our house. They have been attracting a lot of attention from dog walkers and walkers. Many ask if they are for sale. So far, we've said NO. But the creatures are multiplying a bit too fast and this morning a prominent local resident, who has been involved in the local arts community, said she'd like to buy one, and to help us sell them. She knows well-connected types, and hinted at a freebie or cut price for herself.

The prominent resident told Mr FS he would have to determine a price. (Earlier she had herself suggested something like $1,000. This seemed crazy to us!) Of course, teacher types like ourselves tend to undervalue our time and our labor. So, Readers, another question: how much could Mr FS charge for these large creatures, some of which take him more than 30-40





hours to complete?

13 comments:

une femme said...

Oh wow, those are fantastic! I could easily see them selling for four figures in art galleries here. Remember it's not just the artist's time, but the artist's idea that goes into the value. I'd start at $1000 for the simpler ones, see what the market will bear and then adjust up or down.

dotsybabe said...

$1000 an average of 35 hours is about $28/hr including cost of materials. I'd determine the cost of materials per piece and take that off the top, then divide by # of hours. Remember this figure will have to pay taxes and so forth for the new small business Mr. FS now will have. I'd start with $1000 or $1200 for smaller or simpler pieces and move up from there. Lovely work. Mr. FS needs a website, etc.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

They are fabulous!
We have a local artist who works in wood and uses bright colours and charges $600 for small wind vanes and several thousand for bigger pieces....I would start at one thousand and test the market....you can always go up if they sell like hot cakes.

mjboese said...

I too think $1000 is reasonable, given the time, materials, and the capital investment. Some might say that since he would make them anyway, and in order to sell as many as possible, he should sell them for much less. However, since you seem to imply you are not in great need of the money (I get the impression you would be happy to sell a handful and clear up some space), I say set your asking price at the same amount you would want any craftsperson to earn. That way, those who do buy from you will value it more highly (even if you then discount it as a gift or favor--such is the power of the psychological phenomenon of anchor points), and you will not inadvertently undercut the work of other artists who may be depending on the income (again, anchor points--many seem to feel that creative work is free unless done by celebrities).

Gam Kau said...

Your husband is so creative - what lovely pieces of artwork! I have no idea how to price them, but good luck with the venture.

Jet Kuhn said...

I have a little experience with galleries and will take a large commission. If you think $1000 is reasonable, you will be lucky if you come home with $800 (some galleries have a 60/40 split!) Of course the exposure is worth paying for, but I would mark them up if in a gallery (I know a worldwide famous artist who marks his sketches up by 50% if selling through a gallery.) I think the large sculptures should be priced between $1500-$2000, adjust down for smaller pieces $800-$1000. Now if he isn't going through a gallery then he can make his prices less, but do factor in not only time, but materials and whatever else is needed (say a market booth at an art show.) If you need more info feel free to email me as I have experience with both artists and photographers who sell on their own and in galleries. They are quite unusual and beautiful and deserve a gallery to show them to their best advantage as well as gather the crowd that has that kind of disposable income to support the arts. I hope this helps! Jet

Rosa said...

I agree with Jet's point about the gallery taking a chunk. Around here, galleries take 50-60% of the sale--plus if you're providing a piece free to your gallery connection, that's an even bigger chunk to start with. You can shop them around to galleries with no intermediary, of course--or you can tack up a sign in your yard where they're displayed now offering them for sale with an email address (signed up specially for this purpose only!) and see if they garner any interest.

The Frugal Shrink said...

I have no idea about appropriate pricing, but I just had to say that those are fantastic!! The mister has some serious talent!

Duchesse said...

Happy readers have lent their expertise re the pricing.

Gentle spousal ribbing aside, the sheer slogging work artists-including Mr F.- put in merits respectful compensation; it rarely "just flows from them". Not surprised people want to buy his fantastical creatures; what a wonderful turn of events!

Shelley said...

What fun! I don't see why you wouldn't follow your friend's advice - she's the expert, right?

Frugal Scholar said...

Thanks to all! So many compliments (Mr FS is beaming). And good advice re not undercutting the market. Something we might not have thought of.

@Jet Kuhn--We will work on this in ernest late summer when we're not working all the time. Thanks for your offer--you will be hearing from us. (And my daughter also--who is thinking of trying to live by her talents next year)

Jet Kuhn said...

I'm always happy to support the arts, whatever way I can! I have a budding teen artist I'm trying to ease slowly with her prints into the market via my Etsy shop. I look forward to hearing from you later this summer & hope I can give you some good solid advice so Mr FS gets what he deserves for these truly unique beauties! Please, I don't mean to sound like a downer, but stress to your daughter that the art world is one of the most competitive (with little to no compensation) so make sure she has a regular income so she can sell her art on the side until it takes off and can be a full-time job. Always better to be safe than sorry, but she sounds like she has an excellent head on her shoulders (both you & Mr FS did a great job with your kids!) Jet

Frugal Scholar said...

@Jet Kuhn--Thanks again for your helpful comment. My daughter is well aware of the difficulties. She's going to give herself a year or two.