Calculator Instructions

Note: This tool is only relevant to artists working on two-dimensional art (i.e. painting, drawing, print, photography, pastels, collage, etc.)


Beyond the mystification of a piece of art, and the many subjective layers of point of views to access its value, a piece of art is a product created by one or more individuals. Thus, the price of it should be subjected to the same laws that rule the value of any other product. (Unless, of course, you are dead -maybe you cut your ear in despair a century ago- and talented enough to create a work with enough singularity to be traded and hype as a collector's commodity.)

When people ask me what I do, I say, "I'm an artist." And sometimes I add, hoping to convey a more accurate meaning, "I'm a professional artist." But what I really mean is that I am a producer of art objects. And that's only half of what I do, I produce art objects and then I try to sell them. That's the other half of what I do. The objects that I am able to produce are unique, one-of-the-kind items that most of people call fine art pieces.

The second half is the tough, less glamorous side of the business that many artists are not for it. How should you convey to the distributor of your product, especially galleries that have never sold a piece of your art before, that your pricing is not a capricious whim? How can you establish an accurate cross-reference point-of-sale network that backs you up and can validate your product's value from Cleveland to Tokyo? How can you establish a price system that ensures the occasional buyer or the repetitive collector that the price of your artwork is fair? And finally, how can you create a price system that allows you to grow and mature your business without loosing control of the size of your market?

What does make the valuable of an art piece? The raw materials used in the production, the time invested in producing it, the technique employed, the skill of the producer, the name/brand of the producer, the amount of time and money put into marketing, or the sum of all of the above? Or should we leave to art critics and curators? Their opinion and influence must be respected. Artists will always need their reviews to spice up marketing strategies. But letting them price a work of art is not a good option. They know how to appreciate it, but most of them don't create them, so they don't really know what goes in it.

Therefore, I recommend establishing an accurate price system for your product that will allow you to run your business with your heart based on numbers and not based on intuition or on the hope that one day you will be "discovered".

If you have not sold much work lately or your work is three dimensional, you should keep track of the following data related to your next five pieces: cost of materials, dimensions, time (amount of time conceptualizing, sketching, working that takes you to finish each piece -without including drying time of the artwork or doodling or waiting for the muse to come down.) Then, you should average all this data and determine an hourly fee for yourself based on an honest assessment of your skill level and professional experience. Then, you can figure out your market value or introductory price and start there. When determining the final retail value of a piece, you have to make sure to take into account hidden costs, such as framing, marketing and shipping costs.

If you have sold already several pieces, our calculator will be of great use to create a baseline price.


Our calculator is a two-part application. In the top calculator, artists will calculate the average price per square unit (cm, ",') based on the area dimensions and the final retail price obtained for their latest works. In the bottom calculator, artists will be able to calculate a baseline for minimum retail price of new artwork proportionally to their size.

The goal of this application is not to create a stubborn cold position, but to help art professionals to generate data that allows them to analyze accurately the current market value of their body of work, as well as compare the performing values of several variables such as style, media, theme, finishing, sale venue, among others within their body of work.

We are aware that the value of art is not only based on size, and that is why, we stress to pay attention to variables such as the ones mention above before and after analyzing and generating data based on the average square price per unit (cm,",'). For instance if an artist works in one particular style, media and theme most of the time - as I do- there are few other variables that will affect their retail price such as sale venue, framing cost, marketing cost, and shipping cost.

However, if an artist works on different styles and/or themes; in that case, you have to be accurate and figure out different price per unit values for each body of work. If not, one line and/or style can artificially inflate the price of the other one and hinder the sales of the rest of your work.

The trick is to be honest. The price per square unit value is just a tool and should work as a market reflection on your work. It should be go up or down based on demand of your artwork. If your art is not selling or if you sell pieces directly to customers giving them discounts or undercutting a gallery's commission fees at your studio. You must reassess your price per unit value and adjust it to the price that the market is really paying for your work when distributing your work to other sale venues.