Friday, June 19, 2015

Why does it bother people that I charge so little for my art?

I got a message today on Linkedin from someone who thought that my prices are way too low.  I'm going to share the message and my response but I won't give out the person's name since the message was private.  I think they have some great points.  (I'm putting my price list at the bottom for reference.)

Dear Kenney,

As Gypsy Rose Lee said about why she never went to public beaches ...you can't sell it if you give it away.

Just saying.......
I feel your prices are quite low and had I bought your work when priced at $700.00 or above ....I would now be quite pissed and would tell my collector friends to stay away from your current work. Art buying circles are small in any community and many do know of each other or attend the same clubs or charity events. It may take a very long time to earn those larger prices without marketing well out of town. They could have just as easily bought stocks bonds or other investments. It's not too late to reach out at those higher prices but try it first in another distant community first. Rebuild your reputation there and it will follow you back home. To increase annual earnings get more galleries to represent your work. The more the merrier. How much do you really earn after all overhead is deducted ? Are you counting all your 'time' as well as cash and/or credit expenses ? Good luck!

____________________________

Hi _______________,

It's been very interesting to me the tone of some of the emails I've gotten from my fellow artists concerning my prices.  It almost seems like some of my colleagues are angry that I sell my work so cheaply. (Of course tone is hard to interpret in text.)  But I can say that you have a lot of company in your point of view.

Interestingly enough, since I stopped charging the higher prices my sales have literally tripled and every year it my profit goes up at least 3 to five thousand since I started.  If it keeps going like this I will be able to retire early and paint full time so that's kinda cool.

You have a good point "I would now be quite pissed and would tell my collector friends to stay away from your current work. Art buying circles are small in any community and many do know of each other or attend the same clubs or charity events. It may take a very long time to earn those larger prices without marketing well out of town." However, former clients who bought my work when they were thousands are still coming back and buying even more stuff now.  So my experience is a little different from what your very reasonable prediction.

The "circle" I am selling to has also really enlarged because I am now dealing with a different subject matter but also a different socio economic group.  I make mostly homoerotically themed work and so my following on social media has enlarged exponentially. 

In response to your questions, "How much do you really earn after all overhead is deducted ?  Are you counting all your 'time' as well as cash and/or credit expenses?"  Last year I earned around 20K after I deducted all my shipping costs and other expenses.  The year before was 15K.  I've figured out how to buy materials and ship stuff even more cheaply now and so next year I hope I'll be even more in the black.  I don't even consider the time I spend as a factor because painting and marketing are so fun for me that I guess I don't worry about that aspect.

I'm kind of wondering if you have some advice for me?  It feel slike your letter to me was to convince me that I should sell my work for more than I have the last 5 years or so.  It almost seems like my point of view annoys you?  Of course it's text and so I am probably being too sensitive.

I'd love any advice or insight you have to share.  I'm really curious why this is such a hot button for people.

Kenney

http://kenney-mencher.com/
Kenney Mencher

18x24 Painting Oil $158
18x24 Painting Acrylic $128
18x24 Drawing $118

16x20 Painting Oil $128
16x20 Painting Acrylic $98
16x20 Drawing $88

11x14 Painting Oil $98
11x14 Painting Acrylic $78
11x14 Drawing $68

9x12, 8x10, 8x8  Oil Painting $78
9x12, 8x10, 8x8  Acrylic Painting $58
9x12 8x10 8x8 Drawing $38