• Randy Martinez

How Much?...

One of the most uncomfortable exchanges between an artist and a potential customer is getting down to brass tax. It's easy to talk about art with an artist, but when it comes to talking about price... it can get so awkward that an artist will lose a sale and the customer walks away empty handed, simply because no one knew how to breach the subject of price. Buying art, or commissioning an artist doesn't have to be an awkward experience. You are a customer, you work hard for your money, and unless money is no object, you want your money to stretch as far as it can. Let's just say it out loud, EVERYONE WANTS A GOOD DEAL! There I said, now we can talk about it. Getting a good deal makes us feel good about ourselves, and it means you can now afford a beer to celebrate your new art purchase. Don't worry, you are not cheap for wanting a good deal on art ... AND let me let you in on a secret... we (artists) know you want a deal, so there is no reason to feel sheepish about negotiating a deal. One of the most common concern I hear from customers is they don't want to come off as cheap or don't want to insult the artists. Which is actually a very respectful sentiment, because it means they actually really respect the artists and know their work is how they make a living. Let me assure you, 99% of the artist you meet will never be offended by you asking how much something is. I keep the 1% open for that artist with an attitude we've all met. I honestly have no idea what is wrong with that 1% artist, I cant speak for them, but DON'T let their bad attitude keep you from talking with the rest of us very friendly and talkative artists! But I digress... Yes, most artists would love to talk to you about their art and would LOVE to sell you a piece you like. But how do you breech the subject of price if they don't have art clearly priced? Easy, just say "How much is this piece?". Odds are the artist will happily tell you. If you are the artist in this situation, you can breech the subject for the customer, by simply asking "I see you're interested in this piece?" or " See anything you like?". The point is, instigating the purchase conversation is much easier than people think. Now that you've asked how much an item is, and the artist tells you, what do you say? The most common mistake customers make is they feel obligated to give a quick answer, and/or feel pressured to give a response in the positive. DON'T feel this way. It's okay to take in the price and dance with it in your mind for bit, in fact this is a great time to ask more questions about the art. Seriously any question is acceptable. I can only speak for myself, but your questions make me feel even better about selling my art to you, because I know you are into it. If the price is good for you, great! Make the artists day and buy the art! if it's a little out of your price range, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO SAY SO TO THE ARTIST. While we definitely can't just give our art away for peanuts, it also makes us feel good to know our art is going to a home where it will be loved. Its perfectly okay to ask if the artist will give you a deal , or offer to buy more than one piece in exchange for a better price. The worst that can happen is the artist says no, its at the lowest price point they can afford to sell it. But sometimes, you can get a great deal just by asking and both you and the artist will be happy. Don't worry about insulting the artist by asking for a deal. They are here to sell art, and its appreciated that you are interested to buy the art. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to give you the impression that artist will ALWAYS give you a deal. I, for instance, price most of my work at the lowest price point I can make. But sometimes, if a piece has been hanging a round for a while, I'll make you a deal. Just don't EXPECT a deal, just because you ask for one. I'm saying don't be afraid to ask, it's not insulting. Whether you pay sticker price, make a deal, or cant meet on a price, always stay respectful. NOW, with all that said, there are definitely ways you can offend or insult an artist. This may sound funny, but seriously, NEVER EVER tell an artist " I like the frame". You might honestly really love the frame, but saying this to the artist basically says you like the frame better than their art. Some say, as long as you mention the art first its okay to mention the frame. I say, why even go there? Concerning price, it is rude to tell the artist they charge too much, make faces or suggestions that their art isn't worth it. That may be your opinion, but there is no need to belittle an artist trying to make a living. Better to just say thank you for the artists time and move on. Concerning deals. While everyone loves a deal, don't take advantage of the artist, just to get a deal. It should make you feel good to get a good deal on art , and to help the artist you like stay in business. Breaking an artists spirit by getting them to take a loss on their art is simply shameful. For the Consumer, there really isn't anything to feel awkward about. For the most part, the buying of art is like any other transaction you might make. In my experience, most people are very kind and respectful, but I've gotten a hand full of arrogant rude people too. Either way, I make it a point, as the artist, to be respectful and professional no matter what the customer is like. I mean you never know who you are talking to, and you just don't know if you might be catching someone on the worst day their life. It's not only good business, but its just a good way to be with people. I have made a point to try and make my customers feel as comfortable with me as possible. There are no dumb questions, and I love to let you know all the details of process and concept, if you want to know. My goal, whether it's browsing through my store or table, or hiring me to do a commission, is to send you home with a piece of my art that you love and connect with. To me, the purchase of art, between the artist and customer ,should be a mutual good experience. The customer should feel great about the art, and their interaction with the artist. The artist should feel great their art is going to a home where it will be loved, and feel great that they made a good honest sale. While any great artist doesn't create art for the strokes, its definitely a great feeling of fullfilment when that connection with customer is made and you get paid for your efforts. I never take that for granted.

I would be remiss if I didn't give a little plug here, so check out my store I hope to have something, or somethings hanging in your art collection soon!

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