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Does Beauty Equal Worth?

Have you ever gone to an art show and thought "I can't believe they are asking that much for such an ugly painting"? I have! What is the reasoning behind the pricing structure? How can an abstract painting be worth more than a landscape or a floral or that cute kitten picture over there?

I have also been the artist in the booth standing there when someone goes, your asking HOW MUCH?!?! Whether a person thinks the art is too expensive or inexpensive everyone has an opinion on the matter. Their opinion equates to, do they think it is beautiful, interesting or worthy of the amount being asked?

As an artist, many times I have people try to barter with me for a lower price. Early in my career this surprised me a lot. I felt I had priced my work at a fair rate for my experience and time. It was something I agonized over, making sure the pricing was just where it needed to be, not too much not too little. Still as an experienced professional artist I spend some length of time thinking, "Is it worth the price?"

Each of these images above took a different amount of time to create. Some quick, some slow. Does that mean they should be priced by the hour? These images are three different sizes. Some big, some small. Does that mean they should be priced by size? Each of these images used different supplies. Some more, some less. Does that mean they should be priced by materials?

It can be very confusing, not only for the art enthusiast, but also for the artist. Is it worth more if it is beautiful to the artist, or beautiful to the art enthusiast?

This past weekend, I showed my work to someone. They said, "I think I would like that one. What is the price?" I told them and... they literally sucked in a breath and said Oh. My. God! That OMG told me they just disqualified themselves from my artwork. And, that is okay!

The work they asked about in my opinion is worth it, it is beautiful, well drawn, and has a humorous aspect to it, making it one of the best works of art I feel I have ever made. In that OMG, I was for a moment taken back, again surprised that this person would judge my work as unworthy of the price. As quickly as that moment came it left, and my confidence in the pricing of the work came forth. I didn't need to qualify it to anyone. It was an easy confidence that what I was asking was the right price. Not too much for the art enthusiast and not to little for me as the artist making a living creating art.

Because art is relative many people at show believe the artist should just give them the work.

Whether an artist prices by size, materials or time, none of these things are wrong. All of them have reasons behind them as to why they would work for the artists.

For the art enthusiast, I would encourage you to ask yourself some questions... Do I like the art? Do I like the artist? If the answer to both those are yes, then ask your self, is there work in my budget and do I want it? If the answer is yes, then buy it! Enjoy it! Love it! Allow yourself to enjoy that work of art for what it is, a passion transferred to paper.

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