Guest Post: Knowing the Worth of Your Artwork
Do you (or do you want to) make a living from your talents and passions? Do you struggle with the idea of putting a price on your work? You’re not alone. In this week’s guest post, artist Gaia Orion offers words of support along with her own shining example. Whether you are a visual artist as she is, or any other kind of entrepreneur, Gaia’s message is definitely one worth heeding:
Many people are artists but only a portion feel right about selling their art. Out of those that don’t mind selling their artwork only a very few will want to do it professionally (which means that when they paint they have in mind that the painting will be for sale.)
For many artists their paintings are too personal and they simply cannot part with the created piece or even put a price on it, as no amount of money will make up for what it is worth to them.
For those that decide that it is okay to sell their paintings I find that one of the biggest hurdles is to accept the worth of their talent. When I first started I had this problem. I felt very uncomfortable when the subject of money came up. For example I would sound hesitant or even apologetic when I told the prospective buyer the price of a painting. I would give a break to people even though they didn’t ask for it when I felt like I was taking their money unfairly and that it wasn’t worth it.
There is a strong accepted image in our society about “the starving artist”. When we think about making a living as an artist we do not think about success but imagine a life of devotion and passion to one’s art, which will not include the need or the want to make money. And if your work is somewhat “spiritual” –like mine- we now combine the “starving artist” concept with the “starving monk” image. A misconception we have in our society is that we cannot be spiritual, wise, enlightened if we have money. Another hindrance is the idea that the artist should only be painting for the passion of it and that if he/she thinks about making money from it, it will taint the intention and not make the process true art.
All these underlying preconceived ideas make it difficult for the artist to ask for money in exchange of their talent. When I started my career I had to work through all these mixed feelings and conditioned ideas regarding the worth of my artwork.
First of all, art emerges naturally from the life of inquiry whether it is destined to be sold or not, the artistic process is from an entirely different aspect of our being and has absolutely nothing to do with the price tag on the final painting. Is the work of the healer that does transformational bodywork not as pure because we pay for an hour of his/her services on a massage table? How can it be different for art that moves our souls? Of course, one can be doing true transformational artwork with the intention of selling it.
With time and experience I found that people that are interested in purchasing art have a budget for it. They are not looking for a bargain when they ‘shop’ but find that when they are touched by something unique and have a connection with the artist they are actually more than glad to spend their money for what they are getting. They know what each piece of art means to the creator and there is great respect in that exchange. I also found that once I accepted that my work was worth what I was asking and that I presented myself as a professional, I was treated as such by prospective buyers and clients and the money part was never a problem anymore.
By being professional we contribute to breaking down all these pre-conceived notions that impede the artists moving forward in his/her career. We also educate people and inspire other budding artists by showing them that pursuing one’s art is a respectable and viable form of making a living.
To see Gaia Orion’s artwork visit www.artbygaia.com. For more information & support material for professional artists check out Renee Phillips from Manhattan Arts International http://reneephillips.blogspot.ca/ andhttp://healingpowerofart.blogspot.ca/
What are your feelings about putting a price on your creative work? Comment below.
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