…and now a word from our sponsor, the left side of my brain.
I am attempting to do a breakdown of the costs associated with a painting which might prove helpful to the aspiring artist and collector alike. Some of these costs are actual and some incidental but they were all involved in the making of this particular work.
I have priced this work at $325, it is oil paint on primed wood panel, 5” x 7”.
I arrived at that amount by adding the time taken to paint the work, 8 hours at $35 per hour plus the cost to live in my house for one day, $45, which is where I work.
The rate of $35 an hour is not an arbitrary amount, it is what I was earning at the last job I had where I worked as an illustrator and designer. I also earned health benefits and vacation leave at this job as well as an implied promise of security as a vested employee, which seemed comforting to me at the time because my first child had just been born and I was responsible for a mortgage too.
Add 30% Sales commission for the gallery, which is not unreasonable, they have to keep the lights on. $97.50
Plus 6% Sales tax and we’re talking about $447.85 Out the Door. I’ll throw in the frame for free.
Shot-What it’s worth
Other factors which determine cost include materials:
The 8 new brushes I bought yesterday-$48
The paint, a single large tube of Cadmium red medium-$42.99
The primed art board it is painted on-$5.99
The computer I use to send these images-$1299
Internet access, Food, Clothing, Utilities, these are all expenses incurred to make this painting but they are spread out over the fiscal year and difficult to quantify on a per unit basis so they will all come out of that $35 per hour fee base.
Now on the issue of provenance which helps determine the value of a work, the cost can be devastatingly prohibitive.
This is what I had to do to make that painting.
I go to art school.
I go to L.A. to work on movies.
I spend 7 years building a career and relationships.
I become an alcoholic and spend 7 years destroying my career and relationships.
I got sober.
I got married and become a father.
I move to Florida to start all over again and paint pictures.
The shot glass was given to me by an old drinking buddy of mine, Sneeky Pete, who got shot dead in Los Angeles over one year ago.
I still don’t drink but Pete still did.
I could have never started over again if I had not got to zero. So really, it cost me everything.
What’s it worth to you?