I asked people what they'd pay for my Art and here's what happened

Last week I prepared an experiment asking you what you'd pay for my paintings.

Before I tell you the results, let me say: THANK YOU.

186 times thank you.

Nothing I've ever done has created this much buzz (and I know, 186 might not be "buzz" to you, but to me is huge. Thanks so much).

Now, for the results. As you recall, the idea is that individuals in a crowd don't get data right, but the average of the group is bizarrely close to the right amount. Got it? Well then, I tried to apply that to pricing Art, because no matter how many theories and systems to decide on a price, so much of it is contextual.

I'll give you the data in a sec., but if you are screaming:

"But the weight of a cow is objective, and the pricing of your Art isn't!"

You, my friend, are not alone. Loads of you had this concern. I hear you. This is an experiment, and I thought it was worth trying. There are so many myths and old believes in the Art world. I wanted to get out of those and try and approach this from a fresh perspective, and chose to use this experiment as a cue.

But let's get to the results, shall we?!

Drumroll...

 

First up, one of my Deedee paintings:

Maximum price mentioned:

15000 USD

Minimum price mentioned:

5 USD

Dishonest average:

482 USD (430 EUR)

Average (rounded up to have no cents):

313 USD (280 EUR)

 

Second up, one of the Storms Make Waves

Maximum price mentioned:

12000 USD

Dishonest average:

464 USD (414 EUR)

Minimum price mentioned:

10 USD

Average (rounded up to have no cents):

325 USD (290 EUR)

 

Following, one of the Eden pieces:

Maximum price mentioned:

15000 USD

Dishonest average:

599 USD (534 EUR)

Minimum price mentioned:

5 USD

Average (rounded up to have no cents):

426 USD (384 EUR)

 

Now, first up for the double pieces, a pair of Twins:

Maximum price mentioned:

8000 USD

Dishonest average:

369 USD (329 EUR)

Minimum price mentioned:

2 USD

Average (rounded up to have no cents):

216 USD (194 EUR)

 

The newest stuff I've been making, the Agathes:

Maximum price mentioned:

25000 USD

Dishonest average:

639 USD (570 EUR)

Minimum price mentioned:

5 USD

Average (rounded up to have no cents):

466 USD (419 EUR)

 

And, last but not least, a pair of Tiny Twins:

Maximum price mentioned:

12000 USD

Dishonest average:

409 USD (365 EUR)

Minimum price mentioned:

2 USD

Average (rounded up to have no cents):

164 USD (147 EUR)

(yup "dishonest average" is not a mathematical term. It indicates the average of answers only with 3 figures or more. Because you are worth it, kind of thing).

 

So, what do you think?

 

Learnings

1- Some peeps are crazy

One of you, my dearest lovely beings, decided to answer he/she would pay 1, 1, 1, 100000, 2 and 1 USD for my work. I've removed all his/her entries from the data. I've had peeps staying in the 1-2 USD range, and left them in there, and peeps in the several thousand, and left them there, too. But this person wasn't very cohesive, so, off it went! (only weird one in the whole lot, btw). Also, those saying they'd pay 2 USD, you made me curious. 3 USD was too much, but 1 USD too little?!

2- Normal peeps and Art peeps don't have coffee together often enough

If I had come home from school and told my mum "someone told me they'd pay 2 USD for an original painting that's almost 2 meters long" she would have probably said "Oh, never mind them, they are just jealous". This jealous theory never convinced me, though. Some peeps would say: "I'd pay 20 USD, that is SO beautiful!". To me that means that they are genuinely well-meaning, just completely clueless (doesn't even cover the materials!). And part of the blame has to fall on us who do the work. I have the feeling the Art world only shares 2 narratives with the rest of the planet: "the starving artist" and "2398573958 millions paid in auction for celebrity artist's work". None of these are relevant to say, a couple that wants to buy Art for the first time. There's Etsy, of course, but it's all over the place both in quality and pricing. We in the Art world need to make a better effort to communicate with the outside like normal folk, no myths, no snobbery, no taboos, no looking-down-on kinda thing.

3- Avocados add value

Somebody did mention they'd pay more if I threw in the avo in the first picture, so, thought you'd find this piece of info valuable.

4- Size matters... but not so much

This was HUGE. Loads of you wrote saying "but what can I say if I don't have the exact size?!". I am sorry, that was kind of done on purpose. Whether they are 100 or 110 cms tall, it doesn't matter so much, it matters that's big enough to go over the sofa, or not (at least for the kind of buyer I target). And the surprising thing has been that, according to these results, I've been overpricing big pieces and underpricing small ones. Who would have known?!

5- Disturb the status quo at your own peril

Some of you made a fuss about having my full CV with all the shows I've ever had. I kind of think that all the new things coming into the Art world might make this kind of info less relevant for the buyers that purchase because they love a piece, not because of investments. Mind you, I might be proven wrong on this one.

6- It's always worth asking

A specially touching comment I got said something like "I have been an artist for years and still struggle with pricing". Said it before, but it's worth repeating: we need to crush the myths and mysteries in our own field.

7- Not everybody is your peep

We knew this, didn't we? Someone who is willing to pay 1 USD for an original painting is NOT my audience. Period.

8- Questions matter

The specific question in the form is "what would you pay". As one of the answers pointed, "I'm cheap, and they are probably worth more than what I said" (yay for honesty!). When I did the pay-what-you-want experiment, some of you reached out to say you couldn't afford what you wanted to pay. That made me think. If my peeps can't afford my pieces, who am I going to sell to?! Hence the specific wording here. And yes, it would probably look like different numbers if I had asked "what do you think the price tag of this piece is"?.

 

Will I or won't I? (conclusion)

Change the prices? Price according to the result?

I don't know if I'll even out the numbers a little, but this is definitely useful data. I've calculated that about 21% of the people answering would be super happy to buy at the price of the results. That doesn't seem crazy to me. I'd rather sell X pieces a month consistently, than wait for the odd super mega ultra ideal customer who is happy to pay 5 figures for a single painting (and I know that can be a polemic position).

 

What did you think?! Let me know in Instagram or in twitter. If you are an artist willing to reproduce the experiment, please do go ahead! Please mention where you saw it first, and let me know how it goes!

Maria Gil