Half Skull Horse Sculpture
(43 Hours work over 7 days)
This blog is purely my thoughts on the subject of pricing mosaic artwork. I'll give examples, explainations and common isssues surrounding the topic.
I'm using my latest piece as an example as I have logged the exact hours it took to make. I generally use the time it takes to make for pricing 3D artwork whereas for 2D pieces I use the formula Length x Width x Price per square inch (the artist deems appropriate.)
This piece took me 43 hours to complete so lets do the maths...
If I were to charge national average minimum wage that would be 43 x £8.75 = £376.25
Increase that to £10 P/H and that increases to £430. A lot of artists charge £30 P/H which equalls £1,290.
BUT, we're not finished there! That is just the artists time. Let's look at other factors.
When pricing artwork there are many other things to consider...
This is the time it takes to complete the work, however, as you become more skilled you will naturally work faster than someone starting out so this alone is not the only consideration.
You need to buy everything you need to complete the work, this doesn't just include the tiles or glass. It's the tools, glue, grout, business cards, paint for the back, packaging materials etc...
Consideraton needs to be made at where you are in your career. A hobby crafter or serious full time artist? Are you just starting out or have you years of experience? Are you well known in your field, famous even? Have you got clients worldwide? A waiting list for your creations? Do you sell out each time you make new work? Popularity. Are you respected by peers, do they seek your advice or knowledge. It's not simply about how many likes you have on social media. I know famous artists who sell their artwork for thousands and are in constant demand who have a few hundred followers. Likewise there are others whose work is of a lesser quality/appeal who have thousands of followers. It's really no benchmark.
You have a website, that's a yearly fee. Advertising, fees for using payment methods. Where you work, whether you rent an art space or have a room or purpose built studio at home. You need to factor in your bills, rent, electricity etc.
Now, by default every mosaic you make is original because it is made by you and you alone, every artist makes their cuts unique to them. We each have a style like no other BUT is the artwork you are buying a one off or are several going to be made the same? Is it the artists original idea or have they stolen it from another artist? A personalised commission should always be more because they will never be replicated for anyone else.
Some people have a natural flair for things that no other comes close. You recognise that artists work instantly as being theirs, they have worked hard to learn, perfect and hone their techniques, whether self taught or having studied, there is no substitute for time...it takes time, a lot of hours to really get to know yourself, your style, your capabilities and to grow the confidence in your own belief.
Complexity of Design
This includes size below. A 10" x 10" mosaic can be two very different price points if one is a simpler design made using larger pieces, taking less time and effort and the other is an intricate design with lots of smaller cuts and details.
Size is obviously a huge consideration. A 6ft sculpture is obviously more expensive than a sculpture for your mantelpiece. Size really is linked to complexity of design when working on items of similar size but with vast differences in style and compexity.
This too links with other considerations on the list but for me it's a simpe question to ask myself when pricing. Would I be happy to make another? If the answer is yes, it was 'easy' to make, then the price point is lower. If my instant reaction is hell no, not unless I charged more accurately next time for the effort involved, then I know my price point is not high enough.
Where are you in the world? Are you in an art hub which is buzzing with galleries, exhibitions and where art is revered? Or do you live in the middle of a field miles from the art scene where you don't have a local following? Are there other artists doing similar work to you nearby? What do they charge? But remember they may be at a different point in their career to you or your art may be more in demand than theirs. Is it easy for you to network, collaborate, get your art in the public domain?
Now, lets go back to pricing my horse sculpture. You have seen the figures above. It is accepted that once you have worked out the time it took you then add your materials so lets say for a figure that adds £75. Once you have that price you then double or triple (depending on your level) the amount to reach the final price to allow profit.
So lets look at that...
Minimum wage £8.75 x 43 hours = £376.25 + £75 = £451.25 x 2 = £902.50
Choose a higher hourly rate which covers the other factors for exampe...
£15 per hour x 43 hours = £645
Or another way to look at it...settle on a monthly wage you would be happy to 'pay yourself' If you would be happy to earn £2k a month and the horse sculpture took a week to make you would charge £500. Or settle on a day rate, say £100 per day would make this piece £700.
Do you see how there are so many variables, that it really comes down to personal choice? It basically comes down to this...do you value your time and your ability enough to pay yourself a decent living wage? Only you can answer that and only you can decide as a customer what value you put on their work.
Just remember, I don't know many artists who accurately charge their worth. I know most don't. For me, I know I undercharge every single mosaic I make but I carefully work out what it should cost and deduct some until I settle on a price I feel is fair at that current time. I have priced with my heart and have discounted too many to mention which has left me feeling annoyed with myself that I let my lack of confidence win over what was fair.
My prices have increased slightly over the years but so has my skill level. I also donate mosaics for charity/do community installations for free or heavily discounted which balances my need to give back, using my skill for the good of communities. I'm not alone in this, mosaic artists are very generous in nature for some reason I've found.
So, next time you visit an artists website and see that price leap out the screen at you...remember it is quite possibly no where near what it should be and if it is, good on them for knowing their worth.
Now, how much (after all this insight) will I charge for the horse? £430 is allowing me to receive a £10 P/H wage for the 43 hours he took to create which I am happy with if it sells. I could charge more to allow a profit, I could charge less and sell myself short. Most importantly I'm being fair to myself...
Thank you for reading and I will be posting Part 2 very soon.