Every artist has their own method for determining the price of their art. . . you might add up the hours you’ve worked on a piece, multiply that by the hourly wage you’d like to earn, and add in cost of materials and tax.
Or, you might have a standard price for a specific size of work. Or, maybe you price your art based on what other artist’s work sells for.
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Whatever your method, pricing your art is never exactly easy. There’s pressure to “pick the right price” or at least be in the right ballpark so that you don’t scare away potential buyers. And of course, there’s extra pressure (if you’re earning a living from selling your art) to, well, earn a living by actually selling it!
So what would you do if I told you that there’s a smartphone app that can tell you what your artwork is worth. . . with just a few pieces of information? Would that change how you price your art? Or at least, take some of the stress out of it?
Well, believe it or not, there IS an app that does just that. You can find it at www.artpricecalculator.com as well as in the Google Play store.
After using it myself, I had to admit, it really does make pricing your work simple—all you have to do is plug in the size of your artwork, the medium you used, and how much your materials cost, and the app will instantly compare your artwork with tens of thousands of other works before spitting out a recommended price.
Whether or not that price suggestion is accurate is another question, of course. :)
I sent off an email to the creator of the app with a few questions, and got a quick response. Here’s what I was curious about, along with his answers:
Q: Does your app look at artwork currently for sale, or at artwork that has actually sold, when coming up with a price suggestion?
A: Art Price Calculator looks for both, and gives more weight to the prices of art that have already sold.
Q: Where does the app look to get those prices?
A: At the moment the pricing data comes from Foundmyself.com (the art community I run) and is updated often to reflect the latest prices. The sample size from which it pulls is quite large—in the tens of thousands.
Q: Would you ever consider adding “style” or “subject matter” as options in the app? Would that help to give more accurate pricing, say, if landscapes fetch higher prices than abstracts or vice versa?
A: That’s definitely a possibility for upcoming versions. At the moment the app’s main focus is to give as accurate a price estimate as possible given the options available, and to provide a good, simple starting point for artists when pricing their work.
There are so many variables out there that affect art prices—art being such a human endeavor—that it was important to me to strike that balance between usability and accuracy.
For now, I think it produces good estimates in general, but I will be playing around with the data to see what new options might be warranted—like if a specific style outsells another consistently. There are other features in the works for upcoming versions as well, which I think will be very helpful to artists selling their work. I’ll have more information on that soon!
Q: Do you have any plans for personalized pricing help (from an expert, for example?)
No plans at the moment, but it definitely crossed my mind, running an art community and all. At the moment I’m happy just working on making the current app more accurate and easy to use.
Overall, I think the app IS a good tool. I realize that the prices it gives may feel a bit clinical (after all, it’s aggregating data, not LOOKING at your art) but there’s still value in knowing where other artists are pricing their work—especially when it’s work that’s similar to your own.
Oh, and there’s one other feature that I have to mention, too.
Let’s say you use the app, and it gives you too low of a price (or too high of one) for what you believe your art is worth. Don’t sweat it! You can just click the gear icon in the upper right and adjust the price, and from then on, the app will remember that your art is worth a little more (or a little less) than what it expects, and give you more accurate pricing for the rest of your work.
Interestingly enough, when I took the app for a spin, it priced one of my larger pieces right on the nose, but it felt a little off on some of my smaller pieces. Honestly, what that tells me is that maybe my OWN pricing wasn’t as consistent as I thought. . . food for thought, anyway!
Take a look at the free version of the app online if you’re so inclined, or just head over to www.artpricecalculator.com and read more about it. There’s also a paid full version for $1.99.
If you decide to try it out, let me know what you think of the results. I’d be very curious to know how accurate it is across a wide range of art and artists!