Thursday, 4 July 2013
Is The Recession Squeezing The Life Out Of Art And Artists?
I arrived at work yesterday to find an envelope packed with 'Thank You' postcards from St Georges School, Langton. I taught there a couple of months ago and the work that they produced won them a Silver Medal in the PAW Awards. It was a lovely way to start the day, far better than the usual bills.
I am continuing the debate about pricing work as it continues to be at the forefront of my mind. I know I explained how I price my work. I won't be repeating that, but feel free to look at the blog post that was about that specifically.
Is it true that something is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it? I am starting to wonder whether there should be a reserve price that must be met then people can pay whatever they value the work as on top. A gallery run by the same principle as Ebay. I think it could work, I have to say that I would not like to be the one who had to organise it.
Why raise this point? I obviously am privy to conversations people have about the work in the gallery between themselves. I hear them say 'I would be willing to pay £350 but £500 is a bit too much'. Yes, in theory I could meet them in the middle to a certain extent. But they also have come to some kind of conclusion about their perceived value of the work. I don't know whether or not we should be listening to this?
If I didn't have to make a living from it I would be tempted to put on a 'priceless' mixed exhibition. Make the buying public think about the value of the work that they can see. No sensible offer refused.
I have spoken to 'famous' artists who are telling me that they are struggling to sell their work. Should art become more affordable in a recession? To encourage sales? Should gallery owners acknowledge this and publicise the fact that there are bargains to be had. Cheaper prices and less commission?
I am being deliberately contentious, but if no one is making money artists and gallery owners alike what can be done about it?
Is it more important to get the work sold? Rather than ending up with the work that lives under the bed scenario and galleries closing down.
You could argue that it would be better to have many more smaller value sales than none at all? Alternatively, offer terms, but this does add another level of admin, I have no desire to become a debt collector.
What would make you change your mind and buy a piece of art that you loved but couldn't really afford? A discount? An assurance that it would be an investment? Meeting the artist and creating a relationship with them about the art?
Answers on the back of a postcard. You may need a second mortgage to pay for the stamp.