Tag Archives: money

Is It Worth Entering Shows?

16 May

Entering your artwork in shows — local, regional, or national — is not an inexpensive proposition. There are entry fees, which can range from $5 to $50 per piece — as well as costs to box, ship, send, insure, and return your work should it be accepted. Oh, and those entry fees? They apply whether your work is accepted or not, and depending upon the size of the show, “or not,” may be a very real option.

Homeland 1 by Steve Henderson. Original sold; open edition print available at Great Big Canvas.

Homeland 1 by Steve Henderson. Original sold; open edition print available at Great Big Canvas.

“But think of the exposure if I get in,” you tell yourself. Well, there is, that, but the exposure may not be as grand as you think. Some shows attract the same crowd, year after year; others, which promise exposure through national magazines, take out an ad, one in which your painting does not appear. The top tier shows, the ones that really do draw in crowds, are not particularly friendly to newbies.

So is it even worth it, doing shows? The Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson, has entered and continues to enter shows, but we have found that far more sales occur in other venues — through the website, through contact with individual clients, through Facebook, even — than they do through shows. And doing the math at the end of the year — calculating entry fees, shipping, and shipping back — we find that there are more efficient ways to turn a profit.

Being Abnormal, an article by Carolyn Henderson in Fine Art Views (and yes, that’s me, the same person writing this article), talks about doing things differently, including entering, or not entering shows. After you read this article, make sure to check out the comments from the various artist readers; frequently, in any online article, the most interesting information comes from the comments, and most especially from the people who comment through the Fine Art Views site.

So what about you? Have you entered shows? Has it been a profitable experience? Or do you find that you’ve picked up more in experience than you have in monetary compensation?

Evening Waltz, original oil painting, 30 x 36, by Steve Henderson

Evening Waltz, original oil painting, 30 x 36, by Steve Henderson

There are a lot of people out there these days trying to make money off of artists, and one of these ways is through assessing entry fees on shows. I’ve always found that it’s worth being wary of the continuous e-mails in your inbox announcing, “We’ve extended the entry date for this show! You have another two weeks to enter!” Two weeks later, the deadline is extended by another week.

Also not a good sign is a show that is exclusively online. While there are verifiable and legitimate online shows, online events are increasing, and it is becoming easier and easier to put them on. Make sure that, when you send your money and enter your artwork, that there is the potential for something good to happen — actual exposure, to people who are genuinely looking to by art, comes to mind.

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Dream Big!

31 Jan

Bold Innocence poster -- Dream Big! by Steve Henderson

Things change as we get older.

Christmas and birthdays come and go without the weeks of agonizing beforehand, that feeling that the good day will never arrive, the sheer joy and abandon when it does.

In the process of growing up, do we become . . . boring?

“Dream Big” reminds us to reach for something that is bigger and grander than what and where we actually are.

Someone wrote me the other day, “Yeah, I could do what I want with unlimited money and time.”

So do we all think, but when we look around at those people who actually do have unlimited money and time, it’s intriguing to notice that even they don’t seem to be doing what they want. Rather, they’re more concerned about keeping what they have, and are worried that if they don’t look a certain way, act a certain way, speak a certain way, they will topple.

Dreams are big things, and they are not achieved overnight, nor without hard work,┬áperseverance, determination, and patience — the gritty elements that work in the background.

Dream big!

(The Bold Innocence poster — Dream Big! is part of Steve Henderson’s Inspirational Poster collection, and is available at Steve Henderson Fine Art.)

How Do Artists Price Their Paintings?

20 Dec

Shore Leave by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art

Great question.

As you may suspect if you have looked at a lot of art, there is no centralized standard by which paintings are priced. If clothing were sized the way artwork is priced, you could be a size 2 and weigh 550 pounds.

But paintings, in a way, are like cars, and often their price is based upon the name and perceived status of the artist (the more well known the artist, the higher the price). The high price does not necessarily denote the quality of the painting so much as the demand for the artist’s work, namely because people deem it “collectible” and plan to sell it, at a later date, for more than they bought it for.

A Realtor relative encapsulated it thus:

“Something is worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it.”

That being said, if you are out to buy art because you like it on your walls, and not because you see it as a financial investment, then you can find reasonably priced, well done prices for something that fits into your budget. These works are done by what we call “emerging” or “mid-range” artists — people who can be quite good at what they do, but who do not yet have the publicity name value that escalates the price upward.

Many of these painters achieve their retail price by comparing their works with other painters of similar style and career level. Generally, the smaller the painting, the lower the price, but even a miniature work will command a higher price if it incorporates detail that required extra time on the part of the painter.

Keep in mind that many artists offer their work framed, and a decent frame costs money. If the artist is selling the piece through the gallery, they owe the selling party a commission, often between 30 and 60 percent, and the artist’s take has to pay for that frame and any shipping costs of getting the work to the gallery.

And although all paintings require time and material on the part of the artist, not all paintings sell, or at least not the moment they leave the easel, so artists build this risk factor into the price of their paintings.

Do not expect to pay $50 or $100 for a well done original painting, because no artist can make a serious living selling his work for this price. Think about your dentist — as much as you would like to walk out of that office owing $10, what would you think of the man or woman’s professional abilities if that is what they charged after all of their education and experience?

If you like an artist’s work but are unsure about the price, feel free to write him or her and open up a conversation. Some may rebuff you, but others will not, and it seriously never hurts to ask. And remember this: while on your end, you do not want to feel cheated, on the artist’s end, he/she does not want to haggle and bargain simply because the client has the idea that this is a flea market and wants to get the piece for a super great deal way lower than retail price.