Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How much do you value yourself?


What is value?

Well according to value means quite a few things:

1. relative worth, merit, or importance: the value of a college education; the value of a queen in chess.
2.monetary or material worth, as in commerce or trade: This piece of land has greatly increased in value.
3. the worth of something in terms of the amount of other things for which it can be exchanged or in terms of some medium of exchange.
4.equivalent worth or return in money, material, services, etc.: to give value for value received.
5. estimated or assigned worth; valuation: a painting with a current value of $500,000.
Value is important to all of us. It affects our well being, our relationships, our professional lives, our hopes and our dreams.

Do we value ourselves enough to believe we are worth being in good health? That we value ourselves enough to pursue an education? That we believe in ourselves to enough to say goodbye to the toxic parts of our lives?

To be honest, I value myself in a positive light about 89.9% of the time. There are negative things that hold me back from loving myself as much as I want to. Things that are both internal and external. I'm not quite where I want to be in life, but I do value where I am and I appreciate the work that's taking me to where I want to go. 

Let's take a look at definition #5.   

estimated or assigned worth; valuation: a painting with a current value of $500,000.

 I wish. 

Taking this from an artist perspective, how much do I value myself? My work? My time? As an artist one of the main goals of mine is to sell paintings. I very much enjoy the idea of having people buy my work and appreciate it for what it's worth.

But what is it worth?

This is a big question that happens to us all that are trying to sell our work. How much is my art worth? I ask myself that all the time when told to put a price on my paintings. How much blood, sweat, tears, hours of my life did I put into? What is that worth to me?

Well,  it's worth a whole damn lot. I'm worth a whole damn lot. I believe I am. I may not be some big named artist or have sold a whole lot of paintings (perhaps because of the price?) but I value the time, thought and energy put into them.

Monday, I was at the Axis Gallery in Downtown San Jose, and brought in a whole collection of animal paintings and drawings that I had completed back in August. I was submitting them to go into a show next year in January.  I had fixed a couple of the paintings up (I will show side by side comparison later) which put more time and work into the piece. I am never quite finished with a work because I am for that unattainable sense of perfectionism, but I digress.

I was asked to put a price tag on the selected works. Usually, when I have to come up with a price, I have to think about the whole picture. Time, materials, quality, energy, and how much I love the piece and believe it to be. 

I stared at my pieces. They stared back.

I stared at the price list I had originally written down. I looked at my work again, and they continued to look right back asking: how much are we worth to you?

There were three other women in the gallery at the time, one the curator Deborah, was leading the discussion taking place about pricing one's work. My head began its usual pained throb when it comes to this situation.
I had done quite a bit of research to compare what other artists were selling their work at. Many had their starting prices for a small piece higher than what I originally planned as my base. But I haven't been in the business quite as long as them.

How the heck do I price my work?


High price scare some buyers. Low prices may lead a prospective buyer to believe you don't value your work, so why would they bother buying from you?  You don't want to undersell yourself just to make a few bucks but you don't want a sense of an overinflated ego when charging an insane price for a work, unless you honestly, truly believe that the piece is worth that much. 

This coming from a girl who priced one of her pieces at $6,000. Not the above :) But hey, I believe the certain piece was and is worth that much money. 

Back to the discussion. Another artist, Laura was also trying to determine the prices of her work being submitted. Amounts were suggested to both of us. One of the suggestions surprised me because in my mind, I thought I had been pricing too high where as they thought I was pricing low. 

The point was obvious.

If someone truly values a particular piece, they will pay the price for it. They will pay for it what they believe it's worth. 

So, I could go back and forth over the prices, but that would result in more headaches. Simply, I need to learn to trust my gut instinct on how much I value my work and let the price speak for itself. If someone values the work as much as I, then they will pay the amount for it.

Here's hoping that people out there love my work :)

How about any of you readers out there. Have you ever had to put a price tag on something of great value to you? How did you come up with the number?

1 comment:

  1. seemed to me,... interesting facts..thank u.. :)