Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Value of Art?

I sold a lot of work today - more than any other day in my life, actually - via my personal facebook page. It was work that needed a better home than my studio floor, never destined for a gallery wall. As such I decided to price it between £10 and £45...

So, loads of lovely friends said, yes please, I love your work! And I thought, well, this is fantastic, but all twisted. A lot of them have never been able to buy my work before. I never wanted to become an artist to sell to only those with hundreds of pounds worth of disposable income! Myself, I wish I could buy loads of art, but never really consider it as I just do not have that kind of money each month. And yes, I'm rubbish at saving... That was what dictated the prices - they are priced in a way that I could afford them, either for a gift or my own special purchase. If they cross the £45 border - doesn't matter how close - well, that goes out of my and many other's league, really. A friend saw the idea and did the same this afternoon, so now I'm the proud owner of a Jenny Oldknow painting - for a fiver. Happy Days!

Ok, the debate though. I need to make a full time living from this, as do thousands of other artists around the UK. This wouldn't be possible, selling work at prices this low. Can't paint 20 a day - don't want to, that really would devalue my work - and these paintings I sold are the result of expensive materials, weeks of work and obviously a lifetime of experience and study. Does it just devalue the work? I don't know. Who sets the values anyway? Is the value of art set through collaboration between artists, agents, galleries and customers? Not sure how balanced it all currently is...

I've kept this little sale all to private friends anyway, I'm not about to drop the good relationships I have with the galleries and various middlemen with whom I'm fortunate enough to have a relationship. Just trying to figure out how this could all work a bit better.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think you can realistically be both, Jen - either an artist needs to (like you) build good relations with gallery owners/ agents / art collectors and price your work at a realistically high price, or be like me (and my aunty!) and just produce work to sell directly to people who can't afford to pay £100's or £1000's for a painting. I think there is room for both in this big old world of ours! I Just don't think an artist can be both at the same time (apart from selling the odd few paintings on FB to friends! ;~) people would soon realise that there is no point paying £1000+ for a painting when they could get them for less than £50 elsewhere. Anyway, I am now the proud owner of a Jenny Aitken original now :~)