02 May 2012

How to Make Money as an Artist

Got any ideas on this? I decided that each packet would have four of each denomination plus one "Jubilee" note for a total of 17 notes. It would also be possible to make packets of 13, with three of each denomination plus a "Jubilee." I like the number 17 better than the number 13, though. Plus, the packet is nice and hefty with 17, a little skimpy with 13. Genrosity seems more in keeping with my theme, so I decided to go with 17.


Curt said...

Well, since you asked... If you want to make an hourly rate R and assume you'll sell all of the bundles in a short amount of time, then the math is simple for determining the price P: costs = expenses, i.e.

98*R + 678 = (60*P)*0.75

Thus for rates of 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 per hour, you'll want to get 15.07 36.84, 58.62, 80.40, 102.18, 123.96, 145.73 or
167.51 for each bundle.

Tibi Chelcea said...

I really like the tabulation you've shown here -- it shows how much time&money an artist have to invest in making their works.

I think you could use a simple formula for determining the price:
P = ((total hours)*(hourly wage for artist) + (production costs))/(number of packets)

So, with total hours = 98, production costs = 678.23, and number of packets = 60, the only thing you need to decide is what's your hourly wage. Let's say it's 10$ (which is probably on the small side). Then, P = (98*10+678.23)/60 = 27.63$. You could round to 30$, which comes to less than 2$/print.

Curt said...

Tibi, the gallery takes a quarter off the top. Otherwise your algebra works out.

Annie B said...

Thanks to you both. The math is simple, it's true. You've made it even simpler by breaking it down hourly for me -- much appreciated! The not so simple part for me is always in trying to locate the price that people might actually pay, what the market will bear. In general, I find that a price I think is fair in terms of what I've put into the work is too high for most potential buyers. It's a conundrum.

Lee said...

I agree with Unknown's formula, it was what I worked out before I saw their's.
As to what the public is willing to pay, that's always the dilemma. But it's also a truth that giving yourself a substandard wage (which $10 most definitely is for skilled labour) continues the preception of art being worth less than it should be...and yet you do want to recoup something for the effort rather than having 'stock' sitting on the shelves. Not an easy decision. My first impulse was to say to use the $20/hr wage. It's not great but it's not McDonald's wages either (at least where I live, and local cost of living should be factored in).

Curt said...

Coercing a mulitdimensional value (e.g. time, health, clean water, ecological processes, etc.) into a scalar (e.g. money or a rating/index of some sort) is somewhat error prone, yes. Let us know if you figure out how many smiles the Concord River is worth.

You've made a heady mix of money and poetry. As has been noted earlier, we commonly die for lack of both.

Curt said...

Foo. I don't know why it's showing up as Unknown. My name is Curt and I'm an environmental data analyst by trade. I'd like to see this kind of work valued like mine is. More if this is a primary income source or you don't have health insurance.

The calculations surprised me as well. Before that, I was tempted to offer a trade for a hand carved wooden spoon, but mine aren't worth that much.

Annie B said...

Thanks for introducing yourself, Curt. I always feel a little nervous around anonymous posters, but you had me at "how many smiles the Concord River is worth"! Fortunately for me, my health insurance is provided by my spouse's job. I do need to bring in some income, though.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

You could show your tabulation sheet to everyone who wants to buy and have them make a donation based on those numbers, what they think is right, and their own ability to pay.

VictorNYC said...

I've always felt reluctant to treat it as an hourly rate thing, just because—for me—I will pull out a sketch from a sketchbook from 14 years ago sometimes and make it the primary motif in a piece...so research and even the design part is ongoing, and after 22 years...well, I don't know that you can charge for that. ;-)

That said, I put the price on the production of the tangibles...It seems the answer might be in getting the work past one venue and into the broader 'marketplace'. The market-will-bear vs what-I-think difference is likely to get narrower if you can reasonably *expect to sell more units or sets every time you make a small body of multiples.
So I would argue that it's a matter of getting a wider audience to be able to sell more units for lesser per unit—a volume game.

Annie B said...

@Lee - I agree that $10/hr is a pretty pitiful compensation. I'm leaning toward the low end, though, because I feel like the spirit of this currency is a spirit of generosity, of being grateful for the things in life that are both free and priceless.

@Diana - I'm going to be printing live at a gallery this Friday and I was thinking of doing just as you describe: bartering with people a little bit on a sort of sliding scale.

@Unknown 5/7 - LOL your 22 years comment! I think volume is the way to go with this, if I can manage to find volume buyers at a lower price.