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5 TIPS: Pricing

5 TIPS: Pricing

  1. With fine art, prices are set by the artist or dealer, but they are established by the marketplace. For instance, you can set any price you like on your artwork, but if no one is willing to pay it, the art should not be priced that high. Which leads me to #2…

  2. How much is your art worth? Your art is worth what someone is willing to pay. Finding the right balance of time spent, material costs, and price can be very tricky. In sales situations, clients often ask me “who sets these prices?” and I always answer them with “you do!”.

  3. Just try a price. Set a value out of thin air - this value should be reflecting what you feel your time spent amounts to, but stay on the modest side. If you sell your first few pieces in 5 minutes, then pause, and raise the prices up.

  4. Prices should be on a sliding scale, with smaller works having a higher price per square inch, and larger works having a lower price per square inch. I prefer working with a “Price per Square Inch” formula rather than a united inches formula. I help artists make price charts all the time - please contact me if you’d like your own personalized chart. With my charts, you’ll be able to reference the chart for ANY size that a client requests, and you’ll always have firm, consistent pricing.

  5. Prices should only go up, slowly and regularly. I think it’s good practice to set a comfortable price that consumers feel is a “good deal”. After all, you want to sell everything you make, so you can keep making more and more! (sidenote: the more art you make, the more you will improve) Yearly, you should evaluate and decide whether you need a 10%, 15% or 20% increase, depending on the previous year’s demand.


Exhibition Labels Made Simple

Exhibition Labels Made Simple

Here is my basic template for exhibition labels. This style is well suited for use in exhibitions that include multiple artists, or in an artist’s booth at an art show. I always make sure to include the artist’s website and instagram handle because potential clients quite often take a photograph of the label if they would like to remember the artwork.

Label example 2.png

Note: An editioned photograph should also include the edition size on the label.

This label is sized 2 x 4 inches and uses Avery template 8923. Download your template here.

Click here to buy the labels to print on.

Let me know if you have any specific questions about artwork labels! Artwork in the image above is by Tash Damjanovic

5 TIPS: Writing an artist statement

5 TIPS: Writing an artist statement

Step 1: You can do this.

Stop thinking about this as an epic task.

Through this exercise I will break down the process of getting your artistic intents down into a digestible statement. This process works for artists of ANY experience level, trust me.


Step 2: Brainstorm, visual stage

You’re a visual artist, so draw it!

Use a bubble chart or mind map to get your ideas on paper. I find it easier to start with the outside bubbles and allow those minor thoughts to help draw conclusions towards the bubble in the centre. In this exercise, the centre bubble should end up being a 1 sentence statement that describes your practice.

Start with the outer bubbles (add as many extra bubbles as you like). Then use those statements to draw conclusions about the centre bubble, which should result in a simple sentence about what your work is about.

Start with the outer bubbles (add as many extra bubbles as you like). Then use those statements to draw conclusions about the centre bubble, which should result in a simple sentence about what your work is about.

Web example of how to create a mind map

Web example of how to create a mind map


Step 3: Now put it into paragraphs:

Use the following list of questions to gain a better understanding of your practice (answer as many as you need to help get ideas and words flowing)

- Describe your medium 

- Describe your method

- When you work, do you have a finished product in mind, or does the work take shape as you go?

- List any main thematic ethos to your work 

- List any major sources of inspiration 

- If you're able to say WHY you make art, please explain!

- School/training history

- List any important collections

- Countries your work has been sold in

- Countries your work has been exhibited in


Step 4: Structure it

A good basic structure for your statement is as follows:

Paragraph 1: Who are you and what are you known for.

Paragraph 2: What makes your work special? Describe a bit of process and how it informs your finished work

Paragraph 3: Summarize accomplishments (where your work is hanging, where you can view it, where you went to school, etc)


Step 5: Edit it

Find a trusted friend to offer a second set of eyes to help you edit, and ensure your ideas are coming off as you intended.


Easy right? If you would like more help with this process, I’m happy to assist! Feel free to contact me for statement writing from the ‘blank page’ stage, or editing once you’ve got your ideas on paper. Good luck!

How to: start working with an artist consultant

How to: start working with an artist consultant

If you are considering hiring a consultant to discuss your professional art practice, you may be wondering how the process works. I want to share a few details about how I begin work with a new client. Everyone is different, of course, but here are some basic topics I find myself coming back to.

Many artists appreciate help in the following areas:

1. Creating/refining your artist statement

2. Narrowing your focus, creating a cohesive curatorial look in your physical and online presentation

3. Discussing how to approach a gallery, which galleries you'd like to be a part of

4. Reviewing gallery agreements

5. Assistance with pricing, creating scaled price charts

6. Website curation or website re-design

7. Social media strategies

8. Strategizing sales (through all channels)

During my last trip to Saatchi Gallery

During my last trip to Saatchi Gallery

My favourite starting point:

Show me your work, as many finished pieces as possible. Pictures with sizes and prices do the trick. I'd like to see which have sold, and for how much. From there, I can learn what has been successful for you before making recommendations. I never like to fix anything that isn't broken!

The 'first hour':

After receiving these lists, my first step is what I call the 'first hour', where I spend one hour researching and making specific recommendations. When you see these recommendations, you can decide if my suggestions are in line with what you're hoping for in terms of help. From there, you can decide to hire me for future work (carrying out the recommendations) or work on those on your own.  I always strive to be helpful, and I only charge for work that I've completed, not in advance.

I am able to make studio visits in Toronto/Montreal & Ottawa (and anywhere in between)

Louise Nevelson at the Tate Modern

Louise Nevelson at the Tate Modern

Contact me

It never hurts to send an email! I can let you know right away if I can be of assistance, and you can decide whether you'd like to move forward with the First Hour consult.

EMAIL: alissalsexton@gmail.com or contact here

5 TIPS: Going Pro

5 TIPS: Going Pro

HOW TO TAKE YOUR ARTWORK FROM AMATEUR TO PROFESSIONAL LEVELS

Starting a career as a professional artist can be both daunting and exhilarating. I have summarized a few tips below for artists starting out.

1. Look at as much art as you can

Look at art in person at commercial galleries, public galleries, regional museums. See how paint is applied to the canvas, or how photographic presentation styles differ. See which ones resonate with you. Look at art online, and follow 100 new artist instagram accounts for daily inspiration. Read good magazines, and keep a record of favourite artworks and techniques.

2. Learn from the best, without imitating

If an artist's work inspires you, try making a painting or photograph just like theirs. Be a copyist as a learning exercise, and be sure to keep it to yourself. Use the information that you learned from the copy to define how your work will be different. See the inherent differences that evolve in your own creative processes, and expand on those areas.

Image detail of a Dani Cooperman artwork

Image detail of a Dani Cooperman artwork

3. Start a website or instagram account dedicated to your work

Your public artist persona starts from day 1. Define a mandate for your public profile, and stick with it. This refers to the look and style of your page, and the type of information that you want to share. Some artists feel comfortable showing parts of their process and studio, others simply post finished pieces. In any case, ensure the photos are bright, clear, true-to-life. Presenting high quality photos is the most important part of instagram. Get advice from a respected friend or professional artist advisor as you build the look of your profile or website.

4. Create a portfolio

Your portfolio should be representative of your recent work (not everything you've ever done). It should show a refined and highly curated selection. Once you've perfected your portfolio, (more tips to come in future posts), you will be better prepared to start introducing yourself to collectors and galleries. Artist consultants are integral to creating a polished portfolio  

5. Meet other working artists

Learn about other artists' experiences, where they are showing, what type of work they enjoy doing most vs. what work is selling, etc. A great place to meet artists is at gallery openings. Don't forget to keep your meetings concise if the artist is at their own opening - don't take their time away from waiting collectors.

Detail of a Vicki Smith painting 'Float'

Detail of a Vicki Smith painting 'Float'

Stay tuned for future posts in the "How To" series for artists:

- How to: Create a Portfolio

- How to: Approach galleries to request representation

- How to: Host your own art show

- How to: Create an amazing art instagram account

- How to: Create an online store for your artwork