Being Paid as an Artist, Part 1

February 2, 2010

Artists not being paid or not being paid in a timely fashion is a typical problem.  Often the artist will have items in a gallery, some of their work sells and months later a check is disbursed, sometimes only for the partial amount.  This can be the headache of having gallery representation.

This happens in reputable galleries as well as smaller, lesser known venues.  So what is an artist to do?

First off, I think that artists are always reluctant to talk money when it comes to their work so the first thing is to practice getting comfortable with that.  It’s important.  If you were selling a car and a potentially interested party came to talk to you about it, would you hem and haw over the price?  No.  Do you ask the potential buyer: what is it worth to you?  No.  That would be ridiculous because you’ve just said that you would give it away or didn’t know the value of what you’re selling, didn’t you?  That’s kinda kooky, yes?  As a buyer I would love to meet you as a seller in this case.  I could save a lot of money.

Artists who are very clear about selling their work don’t have as many issues getting paid.  Why is that?  Because there is less room for someone to take advantage of them.  It’s as simple as that.

Do whatever it takes to take that step away from your work so that you see it as a business.  If the piece is too close to your heart, don’t sell it yet because you will not have the right frame of mind to do so.  Hang onto it until you can let it go.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Once you’ve settled on a price for a piece, don’t be afraid to communicate that info.  Ask the price without apology!  It is what it is.  I guarantee that no one will ever apologize to you for the price of band aids.

Remember that you are the expert on your work, you know what it’s worth and you set the value for it.

Remember at all times:  you are enough.


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