If you are an artist, or maker, or performer, or teaching your art, you will frequently come across people who say that what you are offering is too expensive.
It is important to be prepared with good answers, which allow people to appreciate the value of what you do. Remember, it’s not somebody else’s job to pay your bills, it’s your job to make sure they understand what original art, performance or learning is actually worth – to them.
Here are some good replies to give them!
1. The cost of living is the same for an artist as it is for everyone else.
Artists shop in the same places, need the same things and pay the same rent as people with regular jobs.
There isn’t a special artists’ supermarket where we can go and get cheap food, or a subsidy for our other living costs.
Whilst it is of course NOT somebody else’s job to pay for your art habit, if people want lots of good quality art, they need to be ready to pay artists enough to have the time to make it.
2. You’re buying more than a ‘thing’ or a few hours of learning
When you pay an artist, you are paying for years of practice, training, experience and all the costs that go along with that. You are also paying for the unique touch of the artist, the artist’s inner world and experience which has been poured into the work.
3. Original art, live performance or personal development is worth the money
Pound for pound, the longevity of a creative purchase, the enjoyment you will get – memories, self expression… the list goes on, is extremely good value.
4. That hourly rate covers many unpaid hours, too.
Don’t forget all the training, the practice and the making terrible work so that the artist could get really good!
5. In the case of art or learning, cheap is not usually the best.
Cheap goods are often made very quickly, with poor materials. Quality may cost more, but it will last longer!
6. Expensive compared to what?
Nothing is more frustrating that somebody comparing a handmade, high quality piece of jewellery to a mass-produced bit of tat from a pound shop. They aren’t the same thing, so they don’t have the same price! It’s good to practice how you convey this to your customers – perhaps by talking about your process and materials.
Art makes the world a better place in which to live, and the only way art can get made is if artists are supported, financially, so they can make as much art as possible!
What reasons do you give people when they say art is expensive? Pop over to my Facebook page and let me know!
If you are wrestling with the Starving Artist persona, please take a look at my free ‘Myth of the Starving Artist’ playshop here.