“How do I set a price for my art?” and other million dollar questions

It’s a funny old world, you know. When a chef crafts a meal, we pay the price listed on the menu. When an electrician installs lights, we pay the price on the invoice. But when an artist creates beauty, why do so many of us (particularly emerging artists) struggle with asking for dollars in exchange?

When an artist interprets the messages of her soul and translates it with paint, it is painful when the inner critic whispers, “Who are you to charge money for your hobby?”

It’s even worse when it whispers, “This is shit! Everyone will laugh!”

(I’m victim of this too — just check this FB post where I sneakily try and find out if the intended recipient of a gift likes it before I gift it to her! Ha ha ha!)

When a person is in her flow, doing that which she loves, riding the river and living her dream, is it fair to ask for money in return? <— This is the inner critic at work, folks. This is the inner saboteur saying, “Who are you to think your work is worthy?”

It’s been one of my biggest lessons to overcome the urge to give every piece away. Many of my friends have at least one of my pieces hanging in their homes — and I’m super grateful for that — but it was when I started giving pieces away to strangers that I realised I had to wake up.

I went back to “Money and Mojo” basics.

Money is a token of energy…

That’s all it is. A token of energy. Reduce the thought of money down to this basic principle and it becomes like the Wizard of Oz — a scary thing on the outside; something way less sinister behind the curtain. Strip away the fear, the need, the objectification, and it becomes… simply… energy.

How much money is exchanged represents the perceived value of the energy it is being exchanged for.

Easy, right? Sure it is!

Simply put: if I put in hours of my time, drawing on my artistic skills and passion, using physical materials (that cost me money in the first place) to create a piece, then it is fair that my energy expended deserves energy in exchange.

Now onto the million-dollar question I get asked in every coaching session I do…

“How much energy should I ask for my art?”

(Well, the question is usually: “How do I set a price for my art?” but I’ve evolved it for the sake of this post.)

Well, to me… Yes, the dollars are nice energy exchange. They let me pay the bills, take plane trips, and buy shoes and champagne.

But other energy exchanges I’ve enjoyed in the past include:

  • Trading skills, like haircuts or guitar lessons, in exchange for a painting;
  • Barter, like an orchard of saplings in exchange for a sculpture;
  • Happiness! Seeing happy faces brings me joy!
  • Karmic points. Yeah, I know, there is no such thing as “karmic points”, so it’s more like a #PayItForward or #LetsMakeTheWorldABeautifulPlace gesture;
  • Demonstrations of gratitude, like when new owners send me photos of my work in their homes:

Another way to work out how to price your art, is to tap into your inner knowing.

In the case of “Let Her Sleep (For When She Wakes, She Will Move Mountains)“, I loved her so much on completion that I vowed she would never leave the Heartland. After enjoying her for a few months, however, I realised I was being greedy, and that I could (after all), let her be loved by someone else.

To compensate myself for the fact that once Let Her Sleep is sold (and therefore I will never get to see her as I enter my home again), I did not cut corners when putting a “$/square cm” ratio on her. She is worth what I think is a fair energy exchange.

(She is also worth what economists will say, “what someone is prepared to pay for her”, but for now, the price she is represents a) my time, b) my skills and c) part compensation for the loneliness I will feel without her!)

Keep visiting this page if you’re interested in seeing the works I’ve gifted, ‘coz I’ll keep adding to this gallery (no doubt!)

Out of interest… How do YOU set your price for what you do? (Comments are open, below.)

Shine on!
❤ Anita Revel

PS Wanna cheer me on in the Art Challenge of 2015? Or watch me fail (ha ha!)? Subscribe to the blog (below) to stay in the loopity-loop.

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Behond the Light!
❤ Anita Revel