Another Show, Another Painting Sold Too Cheap (+Perfect Freehand Circles)

I stand and look closely at the painting.

It’s a flamenco dancer, and she’s absolutely ravishing.

It’s Emma Plunkett’s trademark dancer, and I love the energy and movement in them.

From up close, there’s something really cool:

The way she plays with light, you can really see the curves on the dancer’s behind and thigh.

So clever.

Next, I look at the price, and I don’t like what I see.

So of course I round on her and give a her piece of my mind.

Because in reality, that painting should be at least three times as expensive.

In fact, I would gladly pay 3x the price.

“You may”, says her husband, with a smile.

Especially given the high level of proficiency she’s built up over the years, her work is worth more.

The price shouldn’t reflect just the size of the painting or the time it took to make.

If you work with a lawyer and he keeps you out of trouble – and he’s spent a small fortune on his education… doesn’t that explain why they charge hundreds of dollars an hour?

A brain surgeon saving your life – shouldn’t he earn a high fee, after 8 years of training and hundreds of hours of practice?

Of course.

And you’d thank him for taking your money.

So then why would an artist who’s been at it for decades only charge a small fee?

That’s just not right.

It reminds me of a meditation practice in Zen Buddhism.

It consists of drawing a circle, geometrically perfect, freehand.

Or trying to, more like.

Because a freehand perfect circle is essentially impossible to draw.

Can be done, but it take decades, and thousands of almost perfect circles.

The say that once a monk manages to pull it off, that means he’s enlightened – but that’s neither here nor there.

The point is that if they’ve done it for so long, so often, that they get it right, they’ve put in the 10.000 hours, and then some.

And you bet that a person who’s given that much has become a very different kind of person.

Just like you, after decades of painting, have become a very different kind of painter.

And you deserve to get paid for all that experience and practice and training.

Just like a lawyer, surgeon, or judge.

Besides: selling art is tricky business, hard to get right.

And I promise you it’s a lot more fun to not sell expensive art, than it is to not sell affordable art.

A low price barely makes it easier, if at all.

So I dare you, I challenge you:

Sell your art for what it’s worth, not what you think the market will carry.

You’ll very likely find that higher prices make it easier to sell, not more difficult.

Cheers,

Martin


Also published on Medium.

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