the above portrait was one i drew up in february and only had it in my hands a few days before it was put into a show and sold. i'm certain i priced it too low, as it left me in a matter of minutes, but that's not the issue i suppose.
there's a lot of art out there that can be yours for a pretty low price. it's always a source of contention with artists: how much to charge for art. most of us will under-price it, questioning its worth. and i don't think you ever really get back what you put into it. materials can be compensated for, naturally, but what is time worth? i'm not sure i even have an issue with the time aspect of creating art. but the idea that you've invested a small piece of yourself into whatever you've made, only to have to part with it is always a hard thing for me to do. i stuck my little astronaut into a frame and never saw him again.
i fantasize about his new life on a brightly painted wall in someone's home overlooking a tv or a window to prevent boredom as he fantasizes about space. i didn't spend much time on him, to be honest, maybe two days worth of work to me-- i've spent more time than that on other pieces that were easier to part with-- but the ones who have a piece of my soul i always miss. i'm not sure any artist ever gets over that.
i like knowing he's being appreciated, admired, and hopefully fawned over.
i got into an interesting conversation at work that arose out of some experience my boss had been running into with a gallery she'd been trying to "get in with." the gallery peeps were unorganized and had given a day's notice that she needed to bring art in that night for the big ol' First Thursday gallery hop downtown. we scrambled at work, framing paintings we had in stock, only to find out at drop-off that the gallery commission was 60-40, meaning, the artist only receives forty percent of any and all sales.
i was angry, my boss was even more so. not only had she paid for the framing of the art, but now she was expected to hand over more than half the profit to people who were basically peddling fancy wall real estate.
i've never run into any disagreements with any of the galleries i've had stuff in. my art is usually on the wall for months at a time and i see that commission as paying someone to sell my work for me. i certainly don't have the time to do it myself. so when a gallery expects 40 or even 50 percent of my sales, i can get behind that. but a gallery asking for 60 percent, riles me up.
all the time, effort, inspiration, material an artist pours into their work seems to be completely disregarded just because a gallery has a good location.
i'm not sure how the rest of the art world feels about gallery commission and prices. my boss and i share a sentiment or two about it, of course, but i am curious about where my painting peers stand on this particular issue. i like galleries. i like what they can do for me and i understand that we need to help keep them in business, but asking for more than half seems... unnecessary.
my show is still up at the basement gallery in boise until the end of the month and i'll be going down in the next few days to drop of a few new pieces to fill up some wall space. word is, the new owner of "my brother the black sheep" wants to hang up his piece as soon as he can get his hands on it and the gallery owner prefers not to have empty wall space.
and who can blame him? apparently it's all about a blank wall in a really good location.