Is it just me or is it possible that we all break so easily? Today I’m ‘hiding’.
If I ask someone to paint my lounge say its £10 per hour (yeah its great value here in rural Wales) and the job takes 3 days, it’s £240 plus materials – no problem, no quibble.
As an artist, I paint a work of art, it takes the same 3 days. I procrastinate, deliberate and ruminate over what to price it at. I can’t charge an hourly rate like my builder? Can I? How do I value this piece of art? What would be the ‘market’ rate?
I look at other local artists for inspiration. I seek out affirmation from friends and family. I have a bond with this work. So I think well, I’d quite like it on my own wall. So I think, “how much would I be prepared to charge to let someone else have it on their wall instead”. I price it. I rethink, I add a bit; I knock a bit off, I add it back on again. I ask my artist friends. If I worked it out hourly I feel it would be ‘unaffordable’ in the local market. In the end I price it at what I’m prepared to lose it for.
But then a friend wants it. A friend will ask for ‘mates rates’. Ok, I think, this is a friend, I ‘should’ do a deal. So I offer a super special price thinking, its part business/part gift. Its declined. I’m dejected. My self-esteem is crushed. I think “maybe my work is just not very good'” .
Or, another scenario, someone simply says, “I’m give you £xxx for it” I’m offended. dejected. My self-esteem is crushed. I think “maybe my work is just not very good'” .
I want to hide. I’m embarrassed by my work. I want to be angry and offended, but I just feel like a fool…….
Is it all crafters/artists who struggle like this, or is it just me? Are there any other professions suffering from these dilemmas? What do you do about it? How do you price your work?