When The Price Isn’t Right: Why Pricing Your Artwork Matters

The majority of my time in Digital and Social Media is filled with scribbling down helpful insights, practices, and websites that truly define why social media management is a career of its own.

However, last week’s class left a bad taste in my mouth upon discovering Fiverr.  In a nutshell, this website boasts offering services (everything from logo design to Jesus up-voting your Youtube videos) for $5.  While I see the practicality and reason to rejoice for some, I feel it is degrading to those in the industries to which these individuals are selling their services.  Some Fiverr “services”, such as leaving positive comments/reviews, align with costing $5; however, the majority don’t.

This distaste stems from my overall perception that people underpay artists, and that artists let them.  When I graduated university in 2011, I accepted $30 per product review.  Now, instead of seeing the value of writing increasing, it is available on Fiverr for mere dollars.

Putting monetary value to any form of art is challenging, especially when you are starting out.   I know many artists who work for next to nothing or severely undersell themselves for fear of overcharging and turning away potential clientele.

While the “veer on the side of caution”mindset is usually the better option, it often has negative connotations for the artist and the arts industry.

The general public may not know the time spent on the piece, the materials used, and cost of studio rental space that artists must factor in.  Artists are educating the public on their practice when they price their work accordingly.

With that said, Winnipeg does offer help for artists.  A standout organization for me is Synonym Arts Consultation (pictured below).


Photo by: Meg Kroeker Photography

Andrew Eastman and Chloe Chafe work tirelessly to bridge the gap between artists and the public.  Since starting up in 2013, Synonym has created synergy and education .  Andrew and Chloe began with the successful (and much needed) business model of turning local restaurants, hair salons etc, into momentary galleries for smaller-scale artists.  This allowed artists to connect with the public in a way that wasn’t easily accessible prior.   Synonym has evolved and now offers guidance in many ways; I encourage you to check them out if you haven’t already.

Winnipeg also offers classes and workshops pertaining to pricing artwork.  A lengthier program, The Art of Managing Your Career,  is one that I have graduated from and offers immense support for freelance artists.  This program is offered in the evenings, but only twice a year.

If you are shorter on time, Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA) and the Arts and Cultural Industries of Manitoba are putting on a workshop adequately titled: Pricing Your Artwork this February.

When in doubt, ask around for opinions and take your time to settle on a price.  Remember that nobody expects free labor from other career paths and you are no exception.


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