How much?!

A couple visiting a gallery happened to comment while discussing a piece they both liked. I overheard them while volunteering behind the punch bowl during a recent holiday reception.

"Wow, that's beautiful!"

"It'll look awesome in our kitchen, and it's the perfect size."

"Yeah, lemme see how .....whoa! It's $500 big ones!"

"Okay, well maybe next year."

"Yeah, okay..."

I've heard this conversation among people numerous times, even from my own mother. Why does original art cost so much?

1. The cost of materials. Quality materials are up there. As a pro, I'd never use student grade materials of anything in producing my work.  A 5" x 7" Belgium linen canvas board starts at $20 with shipping. One tube of cerulean blue is around $20. A small, quality brush is $30. Etc... You get what you pay for. I've tried scaling back and using materials which are cheaper and it's a nightmare.

2. Paying myself. I've tried adding in the cost of labor. Trust me. It ain't happening. My accountant calls me his most dedicated, die hard artist ever!If you ask me how long something took to make, I'd tell you 40 years. That's how long I've been studying and selling my work. It's been a joy and I've got no regrets being a member of the sister/brotherhood. 

3. Galleries, shops, art associations now take a 40-50% commission on sold works. That's what I've got to work with when I price my work.

4. The cost of rejection. I don't get into every show I enter. There are jury fees to be considered for certain shows, and those fees are sometimes built into the cost of the artwork. Most venues now charge them because they cannot survive from the sale of art only. 

Buying original artwork is an investment, whether it costs $100 or $1 million. No one will come to your home/office and ponder with wonder over your framed Monet poster. Your personal story is connected to the work; why you chose it, what it depicts, how you met the artist and what you know about them.These moments certainly fill a great conversation that gives other people an insight into who you really are, and the fact that you have remarkable taste and sophistication!"Home Goods" is doing all right, pro artists...mmmmm....Buy Original.

Depending on your heirs' taste, what a great legacy to leave behind; works to family, friends, and foundations. Your expectation is that someone will enjoy your art collection just as much as you did. The bonus is that most original artwork increases in value, so bequeath accordingly!(A blog for another time!) 

Buy Original Art. Thank you for supporting the arts!