With a new solo exhibit coming up I thought it might be good to reveal some of the mysteries of artwork pricing. I think its important for collectors and other artists to know how your work is priced and why. I don't think this should be a mystery. I am an artist and a business person and I believe its important to have consistent pricing on all of my work and a logical and transparent system for that.
A lot of artists agonize over pricing their work. It always seems to be an issue and area of stress and frustration.Some artists price emotionally, making the work they like best higher priced even if its very similar in size, medium, ec.t to their other work. Others just price randomly lowering and raising their prices per venue or market. I think both of these are the wrong way to go. By pricing the work you like the best higher you are basically saying you don't really value or care for the other work. If you price your work on a whim, change it according to venue or lower/raise your prices a lot you are going to potentially make some collectors and galleries unhappy. While looking at your art I can pull up your website, galleries and other info on my phone and compare prices. If the prices are different, I'm not going to be happy and won't buy your work. In the past, pricing for different markets may have been acceptable, but now with any information at our fingertips it’s just not a good practice. People are savvy and the internet has leveled the playing field in some ways.
There are a variety of factors that go into artwork pricing. Materials, time, marketing, promotion, business expenses, artist reputation, sales commission, framing, and years of experience are several. All of these things need to be factored into the pricing formula in some way. I feel very strongly that artists under price their artwork a majority of the time. Unfortunately it ends up hurting everyone and an artist actually devalues their own work—as well as the works of every other artist in the area by doing this.It is important to educate the buyer/collector on what goes into your artwork and justify to them that your prices are fair and reasonable.
With all of that said, here is how I price my artwork. I use a square inch formula that has been adjusted for the very small and large pieces. I have a spreadsheet set up with the formula. I input my width and height and it calculates the square inches, then it multiplies that by the price I set per square inch to determine the price. If a piece is framed I factor that in and add it to the price. That's it, I don't stress or worry about how to price my work anymore. I just input the data and it tells me the price.Its always consistent, and I am confident when someone asks me how I came up with that price.
So how do I come up with how much to charge per square inch? That is the place each individual artist needs to determine for themselves. As mentioned above I factor in many things.
What materials I typically use.
I compare my art with similar artists in my area and experience level.
How long it takes me to make a piece. I have been doing this a while, and know my average time to make a piece of my art.
My experience level. I have been exhibiting my art for 14 years. I have exhibited my work in over 100 shows, that's an average of 7 exhibits a year. In addition I have received several grants, and artist residencies.
My business expenses, marketing, promotion, website maintenance, shipping, printing, studio costs, and many more.
This is not the only way to price artwork, there are many different formulas and ways. My main piece of advice is to keep it consistent and be able to explain why you price your work the way you do.
Here is a list of my top
10 favorite artists in no particular order. These artists have inspired and
influenced my work in many ways. There is no way my little blurbs will do these
creators any justice so please check out their work for yourselves.
Mike Starn - Their work first
exposed me to alternative process photography and different ways to experiment
with displaying photographs. When I first started learning photography (yes, in
a dark room many moons ago) I loved the process but wanted more. I wanted to
use my hands and be more intimate with each piece. Seeing the Starn brothers
push the boundaries of photography really inspired me.
GustavKlimt - I am in love with his
work. I think everyone has seen his image The Kiss but he has so many other amazing pieces as
well. I hope one day to be able to see some of his work in person.
Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison - Robert and Shana are a married artist couple
who create painfully beautiful photographs. These are the kind of photographs I
always wanted to make. They are so thoughtful and imaginative. I was able to
see one of their pieces recently at a local art fair and was blown away.
Cornell - Assemblage will
always be my first love and I think Joseph Cornell is the king of assemblage
artists. He creates fascinating little worlds you can easily get lost in. I saw
an exhibition of his artwork at the SFMOMA and fell even deeper in love.
Sue Blackwell - My first experience with book art was viewing
the work of Sue Blackwell. Her work took me to a wondrous and enchanting place
filled with fairy tales and mysteries.
Bantock - I discovered the work
of Nick Bantock with his Griffin and Sabine book series. Such magical and
wonderful books, one can easily get lost in the stories and imagery. I love all
of his other books and artwork as well. I was fortunate enough to see a large
collection of his work at the in Denver a few years ago.
Man Ray - I enjoy all of the Dada artist but Man Ray in
particular. He was such a versatile and Avant-garde artist.
Chihuly - I had always thought
glass art was beautiful but it never really moved me until I saw a Chihuly
exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. It was extraordinary! The way
they displayed and lit the sculptures really brought everything to life. The
work really seemed to fill all of the senses.
Hieronymus Bosch - While some teens have posters of their
favorite bands or actors on their walls I had a poster of The Garden of Earthly
Delights on mine. I could sit and look at it for hours and always find new
Haeckel - How can a natural
history loving girl like myself not adore Ernst Haeckel. His illustrations are
amazing and so detailed. The colors and forms are incredible and so inspiring.
There are many more
artists whose work I admire, if you want to see some of them check out my
pinterest board Art
In the past my color
palette has mainly consisted of natural tones with lot of dark color vignetting
the scenes. I am drawn to earth and jewel tones and you can see that in a lot
of my artwork.
My current series is completely different and I must say a little uncomfortable
for me at times. The prominent color in this series is white with accents
of gold, black and peeks of brown. Previously I have stayed away from white and
have never used gold, if I used a metallic color it was always a copper.
So it was a big surprise for me when these colors demanded to be used.
I think a lot of it has
to do with the meaning behind the series and what it explores. For me white
represents clarity, spirituality and new beginnings. White is also a mourning
color in several cultures. Gold embodies tradition and strength; the warmth of
it balances the coldness sometimes associated with white. It also illuminates
and enhances other things around it. Brown is a grounding, earthy color, its
stability, comfort and balance.
I have been working hard
on this new series and can't wait to share it with you in April. I have not
shown it to many people yet, deciding it best to unveil it to everyone once it
is complete. Below are several sneak peeks, little corners or sections of various
As an artist I often get inspired by a variety of things I see in books, magazines, galleries, museums, gardens, etc. If possible I try to take a snapshot, rip out a magazine page or keep some kind of memento of that inspiration. Many years ago this led me to creating an inspiration book. This is not a sketchbook or anything like that. Simply a place to collect and look at images and words that inspire and stir something in me. This is a place I can refer to for get ideas, motivation or just enjoy the beautiful imagery. There are several benefits to creating this type of book.
Appreciating someone else’s work can motivate you to take your work to the next higher level.
Creating & filling your book is a great way to relax and express your own creativity.
Looking at your favorite images or creations usually inspires you to get creative as well – sometimes a small detail might trigger a ground breaking idea.
Its a great way to organize all those bits and pieces you collect into one place.
A lot of people now use Pinterest for inspiration boards including me. There is just something really nice about having a tangible book to hold and turn the pages, something meditative that slows you down and makes you think.
For my book I just bought a large spiral bound sketch book. I went through and painted all of the pages with different colors to give the backgrounds a pop. I then glue or tape images into the book, I also write words, phrases or quotes that inspire me.
Here are some things you can fill your book with.
Images from magazine, catalogs or other print collateral
Art exhibit postcards
Lyrics from your favorite songs
Material from artists you admire and look up to
Images of your role models
Textures and patterns that you want to use, and subjects you want to explore
How to articles for techniques you like.
Special cards or notes from people you care about.
Recently the Silicon Valley Business Journal decided that they would like to feature regional artists in their Book of Lists publication. I was honored to be one of 10 artists chosen to be featured. There is also a big gala at the San Jose Museum of Art that I will be attending next week. I will be sure to post some pics of that event. I am not really sure what to expect but I love any reason to get dressed up and look at great art.
Being a mixed media artist I need and use all kinds of
different supplies, not all of them are traditional art supplies either. Some
of the places I patron are pretty standard but others are very unique. So I
thought it would be fun if I shared some of my favorite supply stores with you.
The Bone Room
1569 Solano Avenue
Albany, CA 94707
This is an amazing natural history store. They have everything you could ever
imagine, bones, fossils, insects, feathers, teeth, books, eggs, taxidermy,
meteorites, casts and more. It’s a small store but they have it filled from
floor to ceiling. The staff are really wonderful as well. In the past they have
sold my copper electroformed jewelry. They have reasonable prices and if you
have a business with resale license you can have your resale permit on file so
you do not have to pay sales tax.
One of the best priced traditional art supply stores. I love
this place, I get a lot of my encaustic paint and boards here. You usually get
a discount for buying in bulk. They often have sales and have almost anything
you could want or need
This is another natural history store but with a more
decorative higher price point. They sell a variety of unique air, succulent and
carnivorous plants. They also have insects, fossils, bones, books, and other
I think every artist/crafter knows about and shops at
Michael’s. They are great for quick trips when you need something standard.
They also usually have really good coupons and sales on frames. Recently I got
$300 worth of frames for $125 because of coupons and sales.
This is a local art supply store, they are more fine art
than Michaels and are convenient for a variety of supplies. If
you have a business with resale license you can have your resale permit on file
so you do not have to pay sales tax.
Antique, thrift & flea markets
I also get a variety of items from these places. I try to
visit them frequently so I don’t miss anything.
I usually get my used books at the local library sales. They
usually have them once a month and most of the time you can fill a paper bag
At the end of each year I like to look back and reflect on
everything that has happened in my life: the successes, challenges,
adventures and accomplishments.
Oh what a year 2014 has been, lots of ups and downs - a very transformative
year to say the least. It began with an inspiring trip to Joshua Tree. There is
something so beautiful and tranquil about the desert. One of the
highlights of the trip was the Noah Purifoy Art Site; you can see some of the
pictures from the art site here.
Sadly in late January my Mother passed away. It’s difficult to convey the way
something like that changes you. Needless to say it has and will continue
affect me and my creativity. Through the challenges and heartache I still had a
lot of positive and happy moments during the year. My two year old daughter
continues to amaze, inspire and challenge me. In February I attended a fun
luncheon gala at AT&T Park for the Hearts and Heroes event. You can read all about the
event and see some of the event photos here.
I participated in five fantastic group exhibits, SV Open Studios and raised
caterpillar larva into moths. I was also interviewed by The Creative
Insurgents for a podcast on artist grants and residencies that you can watch or
listen to here.
One of the highlights of the year was a trip to Eastern Canada for my solo
exhibition at theNathaniel Hughson Art Gallery. It was a really fun and inspiring trip, everyone was
incredibly friendly and kind. You can read all about my adventure here.
So now, after this very testing and transformative year, I am looking forward
to healing, reflecting and creating. Soon I will be heading off to a tropical
paradise for a few weeks. I plan on floating in the ocean, getting lost
in the rain-forest and making lots of art.
Save the Date:
I am excited to share that I will be having a solo exhibit in April at KALEID Gallery. I will be showing a whole new body of
I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!
On Friday I will be giving a talk to a group of interior
designers and architects about the importance and benefits of sourcing and
commissioning artwork from their local arts community. I will also be informing
them about San Jose’s South First Fridays Art Walk and all of the participating
In preparing my talk for the designers I thought that these points
really apply to everyone and that it would be a good reminder to share why it
is important and beneficial to support and patronize your local artists and art
Acquire Something Unique: When you
purchase from a local artist or art venue, you are getting unique, one-of-a –kind
items. Not something that is mass produces at Z Gallery, Ikea or other big box store that thousands of other
people have. You get to bring something special and exceptional into your life.
Better Service and Product:
You will often get better service and a higher quality product when purchasing
from local artists because they are passionate
about what they create, have a better understanding of the products they are
selling and will typically take more time to get to know their customers and
ensure they are satisfied.
Meet the Artist: It’s
rare that we ever get to meet the people who create the products we buy and use
daily. When you buy from local artists, you can learn their backgrounds, follow
their careers, and even arrange a studio visit to see where and how the magic
happens. This builds relationships that can last a lifetime.
Keep Money in Your
Community: Studies have shown that for
every $100 spent at a locally-owned business (sometimes we forget that artists
are small businesses), $73 remains in the local economy, and $27 leaves.
Compare that to the same $100 spent at a non-locally owned big box business,
where $43 remains in the local economy and $57 leaves.
Impact: Local artists and locally owned art businesses make more local
purchases, requiring less transportation, and they generally set up shop in
town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This means
contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.Also,
many local artists recycle, reuse and repurpose items to create their work.
Cost Effective: Often
times you can get fantastic artwork at very reasonable prices from talented
Support Future Growth:
The unique character of our community is defined by our activities. Shopping locally
is the best way to show pride in your city and help protect the businesses that
make our city unique.
Creating new artwork is always a little scary. So many things go through your head. Will this series be any good, will people like it, will they like my old work better, is it recognizable as my style, does it mean anything? It’s no wonder so many artists get blocked. I am starting to create a new body of work for an upcoming exhibit in April. Its new, different and a bit daunting to work on. It’s very personal work influenced by the past few years of my life.
In addition to the personal influence and inspiration of the work the medium is going to be different than my typical as well. My past work has mainly been photo based; woven, painted, transferred or other techniques. Photography has always been the focal point with other media complementing it. The past few years though, I have been working more and more with encaustic and book arts. Working with wax and paper feels very natural and fulfilling. I have become very fond of creating and experimenting in sculptured, layered and textured work.Photography will always be my first love but I feel that it is receding into the background a bit. Instead of being the main element it may just be an addition complimenting the main mixed media work or not included at all.
So, new very personal work that's not photo based, needless to say I feel very vulnerable about creating and exhibiting it. I am enjoying the process though, it’s not all fear and panic. I love being an artist and being able to create and express myself through art, it can be a very cathartic process.
Books have always been sacred to me. I can remember from a
very young age my Mother reading to me or encouraging us to read. Reading
has always been an adventure, a
daydream, a way to escape or learn.
So many books are discarded or recycled now in favor of lighter digital
versions. They are abandoned in boxes at garage sales or stacked up in lonely
piles at thrift stores. I have no aversions to e-readers, I have one
myself. I enjoy the freedom and convenience of having thousands of books at my
fingertips, able to escape at a moment’s notice. But I still love the smell and
feel of a book in hand. There is something comforting and familiar in the sound
of a page turning.
I get such a thrill searching for and rescuing books. So far
one of the best places to find a variety of interesting books is the monthly
library book sales. A lot of the time you can fill a whole bag with books for
$5.00. Now most people go to find things to read, current fiction, etc. but
they always have a few boxes of strange old books with sturdy covers and well
worn pages that are just waiting for me.
My love of reading has naturally evolved into creating art
from old, discarded or unloved books. For many years I have dabbled in book
art, using pages in mixed media pieces or folding books to make free form
sculptures. This past year or so though I have really been focusing on creating
artwork with discarded old books; creating a variety of sculptures that sometimes
include encaustic wax, inks, and other natural elements. I have been making books
the focal point of my artwork rather than just an element. I give these
abandoned friends a new life, a second chance to shine and impact someone.
Every once in a while there is a book that’s subject begs to be interpreted, but
most of the time I try not to let the title or text influence my creation.
Below is a new piece entitled Flying Book Family. It was inspired by a wonderfully magic short animation
titled The Fantastic
Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Inspired, in equal measures, by
Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books,
“Morris Lessmore” is a story of people who devote their lives to books and
books who return the favor. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory
about the curative powers of story.
Flying Book Family Book Sculpture 2014
Flying Book Family - Detail of baby books Book Sculpture 2014
Well, it’s been a while since I posted anything. I tend to
lay low after a big exhibit opening. There is always such a build up to these
events, then it happens and afterwards you are not quite sure what to do with
I have been continuing my creativity
coaching training and really enjoying it. I don’t know what I am going
to do with it yet. I do like teaching, mentoring and helping others. I think it
might be fun to offer a creativity workshop or class series. I am
exploring offering online & email workshops as well as in person ones. The
beauty of an online workshop is that you can attend at anytime from anywhere,
there is a lot more flexibility. I might even use this blog as a starting place
for my creativity tips and articles.
I have been really wanting to attend another artist
residency. Now that I have a child my options are a lot more limited. It is
difficult to find places that allow children. A lot of the ones that do having
waiting lists and or you have to apply a year or more in advance. It’s
difficult to plan that far ahead with a toddler. So for now I have decided to
create my own art retreat. In January I am going to go to the Big Island of
Hawaii for 3 weeks. I hesitate to call if a vacation because I plan on working
while I am there. I am so excited about just getting away and creating. No TV,
housework, obligations, etc. I will be bringing my daughter so I am
sure there is going to be an adjustment period but I will just have to
roll with it.
Here is a book art piece that I recently created. It is
currently for sale at Gallery
85 in San Jose. Often I try not to use a specific book when
I create, I just let the form, size, color, etc. guide me rather than
the subject. In this case I did draw inspiration from the book
content, Dante's Inferno. As you can see the book has been burned
and chard butterflies are emerging from the burnt section.
The title of the piece refers the section that the book is opened to
which refers to Myrrha the mother of Adonis. Libythea Myrrha is also a species
What a wonderful whirlwind adventure I had last week. I
thought I would share a little recap. Currently I have an exhibit up at the NathanielHughson Gallery in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It is a wonderful gallery and
they represent some fantastic artists. I flew out to Toronto from San Francisco
for the reception.
We flew into Toronto on Thursday and got in pretty late. The
overall travel day was pretty easy with just a few quirks. Namely I slipped and
fell on my knees in the airport and now have huge bruises on them and sometimes
limp. Also I had kind of a strange fellow sitting next to me on the flight who
decided it was a good idea to floss his teeth (ewww).
Friday morning we got an early start and headed over to the
CN Tower. It was the world’s tallest tower, building and freestanding structure
from 1976-2010 at 147 building stories, 1,815 ft, 5 inches. It was pretty cool
but very touristy and crowded. They have a cool edge walk attraction where you
get harnessed in and walk around the outside of the tower. I would have loved
to do that but the price was a bit steep at $175 per person. After the tower we headed over to the Art Gallery of Ontario. Sadly we just missed
the Francis Bacon and Henry Moore exhibit. There were some other great exhibits
and I particularly liked the bone carvings of Manasie Akpalipik
After getting terribly turned around and lost in Toronto
traffic we made it to Hamilton about 30 minutes before my reception. That was
really not what I was planning. I was a bit stressed and got ready faster than
I ever have before. Luckily the gallery was only a couple of blocks from the
hotel. I arrived at the gallery and was so happy to meet everyone and see what
an amazing job they did hanging my artwork.
I was able to have a glass of wine and relax a bit.
Hamilton is a beautiful green city filled with friendly
people. I felt so welcomed by everyone and truly enjoyed the opening. The Canadian Authors Association
participated in the event and there were several authors reading poetry and
short stories. It added another great creative vibe to the evening. I met lots
of great people and several other artists during the evening.
Saturday morning was a little more leisurely. We went to The Art Gallery of Hamilton and
saw an amazing installation by Jenn E Norton. It
was completely immersive with projections, sound and sculpture. It was haunting
and nostalgic, kind of hard to describe. Then I stopped by the gallery to say
goodbye and take a few pictures of the artwork.
We then made the hour drive down to Niagara Falls. After checking in to the
hotel the first stop was the Niagara
Butterfly Conservatory which
was amazing. They have over 2000 butterflies just floating around a lush
tropical conservatory. They were everywhere landing on people eating old fruit
and just flittering about. It was really wonderful and kind of magical.After
a terrible, overpriced meal we went for a walk by the falls, took some
pictures and made our way through the zillions of people. That evening we took
the Hornblower tour of the illuminated falls. It was neat to see them all lit
up in different colors. It was a fun, wet and loud boat ride (as it should be).
We got back to the dock around 10:45 and decided to try our luck at a casino.
Well the penny slots did not disappoint and I left with a few hundred extra dollars
in my pocket. They 6:30am drive from Niagara
to Toronto was a little painful, especially since we didn't go to bed until
after 2am. At least I got to watch a couple of movies and take a nice nap on
the flight home.
for a fantastic trip filled with genuinely friendly and welcoming people. I
hope to visit for longer next time.
Now it’s time
to try and figure out what I am going to do next.
few weeks I will be flying across the country to Hamilton Ontario Canada.
Hamilton is about an hour away from Toronto and Niagara Falls. It is a port
city on the west end of Lake Ontario. I will be spending several days in the
area exploring the local art scene and other attractions. The Royal Botanical Gardens look fantastic and they currently have an Ephemeral Earth Art exhibit
that looks very interesting.
The main reason for my
visit is to attend my opening reception at the Nathaniel Hughson Art Gallery on
August 8th. I am very excited to be exhibiting
my Selcouth series and have created several brand new pieces specifically for this
show. The reception is the same day as the James St North art crawl where over
20 galleries and art spaces host their opening receptions.
If you are in the area stop by and say hi. I would love the opportunity to meet
and talk to you. I am really looking forward to getting to know the art community
in Hamilton and learning more about the city. I was able to connect with
several of the area artists online and they were so friendly and helpful.
last few weeks I have been busy building custom shipping crates and outer boxes
so I can ship my artwork 2,665 miles across country to Hamilton, Ontario,Canada. It has been an interesting challenge full of painful cardboard cuts and
lots of tape. Shipping artwork safely can be a challenge and concern for many
artists. I have been very apprehensive to do so in the past and that has
limited my exhibition opportunities. When the opportunity came to be represented
by The Nathaniel Hughson Art GalleryI knew I had to get over my fear. The gallery
represents many great artists whose work I really like and I wanted to be a
part of that.
I did a lot of research on shipping large artworks safely and found several great
resources. One great site with a ton of info is encausticshippingiea.wordpress.com They speak mainly to shipping encaustic work but the techniques would definitely
work for almost any kind of 2D artwork. They also provide a resources section
where you can find many of the materials needed. I used their tutorials on
building an insulated shipping crate and shipping box. Below are several
pictures of the process.
Cutting the rigid insulation - A messy, messy job
Packing two 24 x 24 pieces
Finished insulated shipping crate
Finished shipping crate with unpacking instructions
Toddler testing out the strength of the crates
Insulated shipping crates inside of custom made shipping boxes all labeled and ready to go
I was recently interviewed by the Creative Insurgents. We talked about artist residencies, grants and a bunch of other fun stuff. You cant watch the video or listen to the interview in itunes. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Silicon Valley Open Studios is one of my favorite events and
I would love for you to join me this year. In addition to hanging out with me
and getting a behind the scenes look at my work space here are a few other
reasons to stop by.
Try your hand out at painting with hot wax! Create and take
home your own mini piece of encaustic artwork with my complimentary encaustic
art making station.
Win a piece of original artwork. For the third year I will
be having an artwork raffle.
Enjoy art and music in a fun and comfortable
environment. I will have lots of new work on display as well as cards, prints,
gifts and more. There will also be live music by Mark Camp, snacks, iced tea,
and a beautiful garden to enjoy.
Saturday May 17th and Sunday May 18th 11:00am – 5:00pm Amidon Art Studio 492 Arleta Ave San Jose, CA 95128