Art and Creativity: Offering "For Sale" is not the Same Thing as "Having Sold!"
Perhaps one of the more difficult chores we artists and creatives face is the issue of first setting prices, and then making sales.
It's easy to go onto a web site like Etsy or Saatchi art or another well-known sales venue and take a look at other people's work and what they are asking for it... but how much does that really tell us?
Original paintings by Jay Allen are priced at as much as $8,000-12,000. But do any of them actually SELL?
As a book editor, I can ask for $5,000 per manuscript for a edit, but if I never make a sale that doesn't amount to a hill of beans.
Similarly, I can take a piece of my art and mark it at $500 and claim that to be it's "value," but what does that actually mean, absent someone who's actually willing to spend $500 for it?
Although it may not have a direct bearing on art, I know a lot of people get all excited about going on eBay and seeing people "Selling such-and-such an artist's work for $10,000!"
But Do They REALLY?
The whole notion of "price" doesn't actually mean anything until you've actually sold something!
I remember this well from the days when we still had the Red Dragonfly Gallery as a brick-and-mortar business. Quite a few artists would stop by in the hope of us representing them, but the dialogue would come to an end when it was perfectly clear that the gap between the projected asking price and "reality" was far too great to overcome.
One of the features I have always liked about eBay is the ability to search for specific things with the parameter "SOLD items."
It can be a fascinating educational experience to see the sometimes huge gap between the price of actual sales and the for sale prices that are little more than (it seems?) random numbers tossed up into the wind. It's not all that unusual to see asking prices be as much as 3-4 times the average actually sold price.
It Can Be a Tough Sell...
Of course, I am not writing these words to discourage anyone... they are merely here as a reminder to have a reality check, every now and then.
Personally, I tend to underprice things, as a result of which I have pretty decent turnover, but I don't make a whole lot per item sold. Which is fine as long as I can keep up the pace of getting things ready for sale.
And that's not always easy!
But the thing we need to remind ourselves to keep in mind is being aware of whether or not we actually want to sell our work. And not every artist cares! And I honor that, too...
Thanks for reading!