19 June 2009

Now I know what it's like to win an Oscar...

OK, that's a bit of hyperbole. But, it is nice winning an award at the first judged submission I have participated in. That award being the Juror's Choice is icing on the proverbial cake. I submitted 5 B&W images to SAAN's Downtown Gallery (http://www.saansdowntown.com/index.html) and was happy that all 5 were accepted. To then be honored with the 1st place leaves a very satisfied feeling. The reception tonight was a very nice affair with lots of people flowing in and out of the gallery. Good conversations followed with several other photographers. One such was about pricing of images. I have perseverated quite a bit over this and have always felt that fine art can be affordable. But where is the line between affordable and expensive? Someone once said (well, okay, it was Tom at SAAN's, with tongue in cheek) that you need to price art just low enough so that it sells. There is, I think, a reverse phenomena that presumes that fine art must be priced high, otherwise, perhaps, it is not fine art. Name recognition pushes this presumption as well. What am I to make of a very nice print next to my very nice print with an extra zero separating them in cost? Mine under-priced? Theirs over-priced? Both? Neither? Well, I reject the latter answer at least. There is also the argument that price, for art, really doesn't matter. I reject this as well, at least without modification. Someone who loves a piece of work and is inclined to spend say $150, would also be inclined to spend $250 or perhaps $350, but $1500? There is a line somewhere and it is different for each buyer and of course starts with where the seller places it initially. And now we are back to Tom and his aphorism! I'll perseverate a bit on this and perhaps while I do so, a sale or two will transpire.


  1. I think this is the same dilemma (don't take this wrong!) as exists with the glut of "bad assets." It's not that the assets are valueless, but they have no known value until a willing buyer meets a willing seller. One way to ensure that some value is attached to your art is to be the willing seller at any price, but then the only known value of the product is the (apparently) low monetary value you ascribe to it. Wouldn't you rather have objective feedback on what your art is worth?

    (This has little to do with the beauty or artworthiness of it, but when you choose to sell it, you are making an economic decision)

  2. Good points Steve...but, is it really possible to have "objective feedback on what art is worth?" It seems to me that the only objective aspects of art are the materials that go into its creation. Even the time that is dedicated to a given piece is arbitrary (or, rather, the rate one charges is). So then subjective valuation is really only possible (beyond paper, ink and frames/matting). You are absolutely right that SELLING art (as opposed to creating it) is a an economic action and I am approaching it (perhaps) more as a political act (affordable fine art for all!). I will cogitate more...