Have you ever looked at a beautiful piece of art, and then gasped at the price tag?
Why does art cost so much?
I’m not talking about the .001 percent of artists who are household names and sell art for millions. I’m talking about the rest of us.
I’m talking about why my painting here is selling for $1100 USD/800 EUR. That’s a lot, right?
(By the way, you can find it at Xanadu Gallery if you’re interested in buying it.)
Let’s have a look at my income and expenses. First, the expenses.
Here’s a breakdown of what it cost to make “Purple, Silver, Copper.” Let’s use Euros, because I bought my materials in a country that uses the euro.
Canvas – 40 EUR
Molding Paste 15 EUR
White 15 EUR
Dioxazine Purple 7 EUR
Silver 7 EUR
Copper 7 EUR.
Assorted other colors 5 EUR.
Brush 10 EUR
Palette Knives: 2 for 5 EUR each – 10 EUR
In materials alone it cost 109 EUR.
One week of studio time: studio rent 100 EUR/wk
After the gallery takes its 30% cut, I am left with 560 EUR. Deducting all of the above expenses and dividing the rest by the 50 hours of work it took to create it, I make an average of 7 EUR or 9.62 USD per hour, which is slightly above minimum wage for the United States. I didn’t even figure in tax.
The overwhelming majority of artists are not rich. We don’t sell for millions. We’re lucky if we make minimum wage. I love what I do and I wouldn’t do anything else, but for most of us, making art is a terrible way to make money.
So the next time you look at a price tag, you’ll know why the price is that high.
Related post: Want to buy some cheap abstract art?
Got something to say about art prices? Leave me a comment in the box below.
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- “I want to buy cheap abstract art”