Low Print Prices, the History
There are a fair number of comments on yesterday’s post on Size and Price which comment, not on the the strange relationship between size and price, but instead on the whole idea of low prices.
To simplify things I’ve added a ‘Print Pricing” category. You can read every post I’ve written on the subject (including, along the way, responses to most of the arguments advanced against very low print prices) by reading the entire series of posts.
Here are a couple more thoughts on low print prices which so far have not drawn much comment:
1. What about the idea that even folks without much disposable income deserve to have a bit of nice in their lives? I’ve been rather startled at the degree to which photographers, many of whom seem to tilt toward the liberal end of the political spectrum, seem absolutely determined to price all their art at a level where only the wealthy can own it. In this comment, Mike Mundy points out printmaker Elton Bennett, who apparently preferred selling more prints at a lower price and who never sold a print for more than $15 in his life. Was Bennett crazy?
2. There are aspects to selling artwork at a low price that can be appealing. Diversification is one – if your prints are priced low enough that the average Joe can afford to buy not just one but several, your potential customer pool is larger. There’s less invested, risk wise, in a single patron. On the other hand, if you sell your work into a pool of a dozen wealthy art collectors, the risk that you’ll do something to alienate a substantial fraction of that pool of patrons becomes significant. When your artwork changes a bit, you risk stepping outside the zone where your current patrons will buy. That’s bad. If you have thousands of patrons, the risk that you’ll leave them all behind in one fell swoop is substantially lower. To what extent do the folks who sell just into the wealthy crowd limit the work they do to match the upscale wealthy market? If you make ‘edgy’ work, would you find a much deeper market if your work was priced one or two orders of magnitude lower?