The following is a frank assessment of the current art market, from this artist’s perspective.
The truth is, my work is currently priced below market value (based on my FMV, over 40 years). The main reason is because I am not working through galleries at this time, preferring for the moment, to sell directly from my website. Galleries are expensive and add greatly to the retail cost of the artist’s work. I’m not saying galleries aren’t worth it. I ran the brick and mortar version of the Maniscalco Gallery in Grosse Pointe for eight years. Nothing will ever replace an art gallery, being in the physical presents with the artwork and the service galleries provide. But I have made a personal commitment to making my work accessible to people in a variety of financial situations because I believe art should be part of everyone’s lives, not just the rich. Even my portrait and custom art prices are lower than they were even five years ago, though of course, still much higher than my non-commission fine art.
The low prices I charge for my non-commission work reflect the cost of my freedom to paint what I like, what I am curious about. With Covid vaccinations, much has been said about our responsibilities as it relates to our freedom. Freedom has a cost. I pass that savings on to the consumer through lower than market prices on my art. I am literally subsidizing my fine art, for which demand is simply not as high, as my commission work. The reasons demand is not as high as it once was are myriad. It mostly has to do with a lack of exposure to my particular market niche, a disconnect in terms of marketing in the new socials terrain, where my skillset in reaching my market is lagging. Also, the market for representational work is pretty well saturated, so it’s easy to get lost in the mix. The result for my collectors is it is possible to get a great deal on my high quality work, because in this moment, the value is greater than the cost. The lack of equity between my commission work and my non-commission work of course is also not sustainable. Inequity anywhere is unsustainable. What that means for my art is we should expect my prices to rise for my non-commission work in the coming years. Buy low, sell high.
There are other reasons for the lower prices, in addition to the afore mentioned. One is competition. People now have access to plenty of good art globally, so the market is very crowded. There are alternative media and platforms available, including digital art and NFTs, which has put even more downward pressure on all artists. That is why I now offer images on my website in the form of limited edition, hand-embellished Giclees (5) and Artist Proofs (5). Most of my work is available in signed, numbered reproduction. Did you know, a signed, limited edition (under 200), hand embellished giclee is considered an original work of art, according to international copyright laws? All my work comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. I’m also doing a lot more licensing of my work.