Saturday, 21 April 2012

Failure



I had three paintings in the Cambridge Drawing Society exhibition here in Cambridge.  I had left it until the very last minute to decide whether or not to enter and sent off an email giving the title, media and price etc.  It was only later that I realised I had put far too much down as the price.  When I went to the show it looked like I had a hugely inflated idea of how much my paintings are worth.

Pricing paintings is so difficult.  They are both worthless and priceless.  How much you sell them for does matter, because it influences how much you can sell them for in the future.  When I look at how much I was selling my paintings for twenty years ago, it is pretty much the same as I price them for now - it certainly has not really kept pace with the rising cost in materials, or studio rental costs or other artistic overheads.

Funnily enough this is also true of the rates of pay for illustration, which have barely changed in the last twenty years.  Having said that, I would expect to be paid more for a piece of work were it used on a book jacket say, than I would receive if I sold the artwork as a painting.  Which seems odd given that when you provide an illustration you should get the artwork back.

It seems that there is a kind of barrier for most people in terms of what they will ever spend on a painting. For a painter to make a living - and luckily I do not rely on it as a source of income - then he or she has to sell to the people for whom this barrier does not exist.

All of which is a bit of a long-winded way of saying that no one bought my paintings and so I had the long walk of shame to pick them up and take them home.

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