art, art as a living, art career, art for sale, Artist, cheap art, creating art, custom art, inflation, making it as an artist, making money with art, successful art career, why is art so expensive
The other day someone asked me if I would lower the price of one of my custom paintings. She said that she knew it was a “labor of love” so she would understand if I wouldn’t. I didn’t. It isn’t because I am greedy about my “love”. It’s actually due to the fact that creating art is a “labor of expense”.
A lot of people do not realize what goes into that painting you hang on your wall. Aside from a lifetime expenses like education, I am talking about the day to day. We have to pay for our inventory such as canvas, frames, mats, texture mediums, varnish, brushes and paint, but we also have to use a ton of electricity and water. We buy paper towels by the pallet. My studio requires plastic sheeting, special flooring, butcher’s paper to cover my table. I constantly need to purchase equipment and supplies such as tables, chairs, printers, scanners, printer ink, paper, pens, pencils, staplers, calculators, spray bottles, shelving, computers, cameras, containers, lighting, gloves and a special ventilation system (so I do not breath in toxic fumes all day). And when one of those breaks or runs out, I have to call an expert to come fix it or I have to buy a replacement.
And then there is the “F” word: Fees. We pay listing fees whether a piece sells or not, marketing fees such as CPC, yearly fees for art sites, fees when we sell a piece and fees to receive payment like PayPal and Credit Cards. Social media are starting to charge fees if you want to be seen too. There are so many fees that sometimes you just feel “F”d.
Very few artists get rich on their work alone. Yes, there are famous success stories that we can all fantasize about, but for the average creative, the best you can hope for is to make some sales now and again. If you are really fortunate, it might get to be your only job. But that is even more rare. Sharing household expenses with my husband has allowed me to make this my full-time career. But a lot of my artists friends work regular day jobs and create on the side. That is typical. It’s just ridiculously expensive to produce artwork and the income gained is too low in comparison.
Everyone feels the sting of inflation and artists are no different.
My hope is that this blog comes across as”informational” and doesn’t just sound like a rant. I rarely get on a soapbox because I am too busy working. 🙂 Maybe, when someone that is not into creating art reads this, they will gain a new appreciation for our labor and expense…Just maybe…