January Sale

A blue pound symbol on a white background.

Digital Art by Ronnie McInnes Pound Sign © 2017.

A couple of years ago I ran into someone I knew (not well, but we got on) from my school days. The man had, leading up to that point, been following me and my work as an artist online. I liked chatting to him and finding out what he had been up to since our school days. We then got talking about his interest in art and he mentioned that I must be "Raking it in" as an artist because of the prices I charged for my work. I laughed at that, not because I wanted to belittle his point of view, but I thought it was funny how things could be percived from outside my own bubble. My simple answer was "No I'm not unfortunately".

Prices are something that have troubled me for a while, specifically for my original work (however my commissions seem to be pretty well priced for my clients). As I see it, the originals should cost more than my commissions due to the simple fact that more work goes into them. More research, more preperation time, more of my favoured style choices and more of me goes into every single one of them. I have sold a decent amount of my commissioned art, some of which has made it's way to a number of different countries across the world. But I have sold just a few original pieces and in the UK only. I reckon my pricing has a lot to do with the lack of sales.

The majority of my prices are figured out from a calculation of time plus materials. The hourly rate I charge across the board is far below the UK minimum wage, simply because I am still an emerging artist. If I were to use the UK National Minumum Wage my prices would be a lot higher still. This is the reason I laughed when I talked with my old classmate (I do not rake it in, I work a huge amount of hours just to make ends meet). But that must change. Eventually I should be in a position where I can demand large amounts of money for little work, once I have transitioned from an emerging artist to an established one of course.

Prices often increase once work goes into an art gallery because of the (gallery) commission that is charged upon every sale. It's often a commission rate of between 20-40 percent and that is added onto the base price of the artwork. Once the exhibition is over I don't reduce the prices immediately because that would cause the gallery to lose faith in me. Why would they agree to exhibit my work again if they knew I would discount it once the exhibition was over?

Another reason why I find it more difficult to sell originals is because they are much harder for me, on a personal level, to part with. I like them all for different reasons and the majority sit proudly on my walls at home. Some works mark a significant point in my development as an artist too. I try to learn from each piece of work so that I continually improve, which results in some paintings being more important to me than others. But I don't try as hard to sell my originals as I do for my commissions as a result.

I am conscious (or perhaps self-conscious is a better way to put it) about the prices I place on my original art but, considering the average painting takes 2-3 weeks of work, how much is that actually worth. I mean, how much would you expect to get paid for 80-120 hours of work in your line of work? Add the material costs on top and see what the figure would be. Are my prices that high after all?

Anyway, this is just one long drawn out way of stating that I plan to have a January Sale. In it, a range of original acrylic paintings will be discounted between Boxing Day and the 16th of January. That's three weeks, the same amount of time it takes me to paint some of these artworks. Bearing in mind I still have to support my family (and to eat) with my work, I won't be selling at ridiculously low prices, but there will still be a decent discount. Look out for more info on December 26th.

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