Artist Issues

Why is ART Expensive?

Today’s post is not just for Artists, but also for those interested in art. Often enough we come across people who want to know why we charge as much as we do for paintings or commissioned portraits.

Well, we don’t start off with very high prices. First of all, we artists change or update our prices with time. There is a reason for it too. Let me start with an example. Suppose I quoted Rs. 1000 for a graphite sketch 7 years ago. I would quote Rs. 3000 now.
Several things justify this price.

  • The amount of time I have spent improving my art. My graphite sketches from 7 years ago don’t look nearly as good as they do now. There is more detailing in my work now. You can see for yourself.
  • I made graphite sketches on A4 size copier print paper before. A few years later, I used papers from a sketch pad which were of a superior quality. Now, I use the best paper there is that is available in India, so obviously, it costs more. As long as we are talking about paper, I would also like to mention that graphite pencils also come in various quality. Most of you (and I’m addressing my fellow Indians here) must have heard of HB, 2B and H pencils that we used in school. We artists use a variety of pencils to do a graphite sketch like 10H, 9H,..,..,..,..,H,..,2B,..,..,8B and so on.
  • Prices of art supplies keep going up.

You may ask why street artists at art fairs charge as less as Rs. 300? Well, for the same reasons I have mentioned above. Paper alone costs me that much or more.

Comparing a few of my works from before, to my current works

My First Textured Painting(6 yrs ago)
2 years after my first textured painting
My painting Made in 2013
My painting Made in 2017
My First Landscape Made in 2016
Landscape Made in 2017

It is not wrong to ask an artist why their art costs that much. Its your money you’ll be spending/investing. So it is your right to ask that artist. And it is their duty to answer you. But, don’t undervalue the artist. And know these things I have mentioned above, before you judge them.

Think about it. You may spend Rs. 3000 on an evening out with your partner, but you think it is too much when you have to pay an artist who probably spent hours or days making a portrait for you. Does it seem fair?

Well, that is just about graphite, the cost is less there compared to Acrylic paints or Oil paints. When you are paying for an artwork, you are not just paying for the cost of raw materials(Canvas/Paper, Paints, Other art supplies).

You are paying for the following

  • The skill of the artist, the amount of time he/she has spent perfecting the skill.
  • The amount of time the artist has spent making the particular artwork.
  •  The idea/imagination behind the painting, that came out of the artist’s head.
  • The amount the artist has spent on reference photos(if they have used any).
    Just to elaborate on that, My collection of bird paintings had to come from a variety of reference photos which were bought from the photographer. I had to pay the photographer because he spent hours trying to capture the perfect image and also spent on his equipment. So, I cant just paint something that he captured, and make money out of it and not give him any credits. That would be stealing.
  •  The amount the artist has spent on art classes.
  • The amount of paint/art supplies the artist has used, to learn that art.
  • Finally, the raw materials the artist has used in making that particular painting that you are buying.

So the next time, you tell someone “Hey I make that much because I spent so much on my Engineering degree” or something like that, remember, the same applies for artists too.

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DIY Valentine gift ideas

Every year most of us are faced with a dilemma on what to gift our loved ones on valentines day. If you are thinking of something materialistic, then this post is not for you. I’m talking about personalized gifts.
My husband never appreciated gifts that I bought from a store. Even things that he really needed. Well, with me it has always been easy. Just buy me art supplies and I’m the happiest person in the world.

One valentine, I gifted him a handmade card. It was very poorly executed, but he loved it because it had a very personal message. The next valentines, I made red velvet cupcakes and he loved them too. So every valentine, I make a gift for him and he really appreciates it. There is also a backstory, Valentines day is special, not because people celebrate it worldwide as a day of love, but because it is also the day we got engaged.

Well, so here are a few ideas to make your valentines day special.

1. Handmade card with a personal message.
You may not have a lot of art supplies ready at home so I’m going to tell you how to make a simple card.

Supplies required:
– Card paper/ Card Stock/ Bond paper/ Chart paper/ Recycled paper
– Patterned paper(not so easily available), so what you can do is print a valentines pattern by looking it up online
– Glue
– Scissors

Cut out your patterned paper in the shape of hearts or you could also cut out lovebirds or any other interesting shapes. Get creative. Now stick that onto the card paper and write a personal message.

You could also make a simple watercolor abstract on paper and write with a marker over it.

If your partner is into reading, you could gift him/her a set of four or six bookmarks.
How to make it? Same as the card but you have to cut it out in the shape and size of bookmarks.

3. Portrait
If you are artistic, you could paint a portrait of him/her or if you could afford it, commission a portrait from an Artist (remember to plan ahead).

4. Bake a Cake/ Cupcakes
I would always choose Red velvet with Cream Cheese frosting for Valentines day. You could also bake an easy Ombre cake.

5. Do Something interesting together, like ‘Make a Painting’
A couple of years ago, I encouraged my husband to paint with me. He was not very sure of it, but once he realized he just had to throw paint onto the canvas, he enjoyed it thoroughly. I made the choice of colors of course. It was an amazing day.

If you need more ideas about this activity, then try Sponge Painting and Splatter Painting. Follow the link to see how to do sponge painting.

You could also try fluid acrylic and splatter painting.

Let me make your life a little easier, I have two downloadable images that you can print and then add your personal message to create tags/bookmarks.

You will have to do a little bit of cropping . Easy right? You can thank me by subscribing to my Blog or YouTube Channel 🙂 Links below. If you have any questions, suggestions or requests, please mention them in the comments below. à bientôt.

Art Marketing Artist Issues

12 Essential Tips to know before you participate in your first Art Fair

As artists, at some point we all participate in art fairs, and we don’t know what to expect. I was totally blind-sighted by a lot of things at my first art fair participation. So here are a few tips to help you with your first art fair.

1. Apply in advance
If there are limited stalls, then you want to make sure that the odds work out in your favor. So, keep checking for their announcements and then, when the participation application is announced, make sure you get there as soon as possible and fill out that form and submit it immediately.

2. Prepare financially
Be aware of how much the entire shindig is going to cost you. To mention a few things – transportation costs, packing material.

3. Check out the display space
Go there the day before the art fair. measure out the space and plan out your layout of paintings. Decide what goes where. Find out if you are allowed to bring your own tables/ easels and then have a plan ready, so when you get there the next day, you’ll know what to do without any trial and errors.

4. Select your paintings
Dont take your entire collection there, especially if the art fair is arranged in an outdoor location. You have to remember these few things
– dust, heat/sunlight, possible rains.
– people attempting to touch your paintings
– kids running around
So here is a tip I follow to protect my paintings:
– Cover your paintings with plastic wrap OR transparent plastic covers/sleeves.

5. Prepare a Catalogue/Portfolio
Prepare a catalogue with photos of all your paintings and the prices next to them, so people are not intimidated to ask how much your painting costs. When they enquire about a realistic piece and you quote something like $400, they may not even ask for the price of your abstract piece which you may have priced at $100 and they might’ve been willing to buy.

6. Get your business cards ready
A lot of people don’t come to an art fair with a lot of cash. They may really like one of your paintings and may want to contact you once they reach home. So give them that business card so they can call you back and maybe purchase one of your paintings. Make sure to carry more than necessary. Don’t hesitate from handing out your business cards to anyone and everyone.

7. Promote
Mention about your art show on your website, Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter and other social media sites that you are active on. Create an event and share it with friends.

The Ad I created for my first Art fair

8. Carry Essentials
Wear lots of sunscreen, carry mosquito repellent, sunglasses, an umbrella, a jacket, drinking water and a few munchies/sandwiches with you. And don’t forget your buddy(a friend/ family member) because you will need company.

9. Dress Comfortably
You should be approachable and friendly.

10. Carry adequate packing material
Remember, if you sell a painting, you cant just hand over the painting as is. It needs to be securely/optimally packaged. I would suggest corrugated sheets, bubble wrap plus a brown paper cover. Think about how you would want the painting packed if you were the buyer.

11. Socialize
Interact with other artists when you find time. You may find some excellent opportunities to collaborate. Example: Find artists to team with for future group art shows.

12. Do not go there with huge expectations. Don’t think ‘Yes, today is the day I’m going to sell 10 paintings’. You may not sell any, you may sell all ten. You never know. And remember, people do bargain at art fairs. So be prepared for that. Don’t be discouraged. Go there for experience, and if you’re friendly and have a knack for marketing, you may sell a few paintings.

Bonus Tip: Don’t accept cheques.

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If you have any questions/suggestions, mention it in the comments below.

Have a good day.