Why We're Starving Artists


Yesterday and today I dropped off the art for the two fine art shows I am in.

One show has two pieces of mine. Because the gallery owners want the art to sell in this economy, we had to price them "reasonably". Each piece was priced at 150.00. Which means I will get 100.00 for each one after commission, IF I sell it. Now the average price for each piece with frame and glass and spacers was about 25.00. It took me at least an hour to frame each one, so figure 15.00 for my time (and I refuse to work for less than that!) which brings the profit to 60.00 for a piece. Entry fee for each piece was 5.00. We are now down to 55.00. Then there is the cost of the materials for the art (who knows how much that is..) and the time it took me to make it. I am guessing after all said, I am making 15.00 an hour, with a bonus of 15.00 per piece. Or, that adds up to 22.50 an hour. Not that much for a professional. And I am not counting in the heat for the studio, the electric, blah blah blah.

Barely a living wage.

Then there was the piece for the other gallery. A wonderful encaustic work, which over time took many hours. It is small but complicated, so I priced it at 165.00, with a 10.00 entry fee, and their commission should it sell, puts me back at the same formula as above. Oh, and that organization has a yearly membership fee.

THEN THERE WAS THE PARKING TICKET that set my morning java off really nicely. I went out to warm up the car as it was covered in a thick layer of frost, and was running R-E-A-L-L-Y late. I spot an orange envelope on my window and think ah, the school kids are out making out tickets in the criminal justice class and I got one as I have not transferred my parking permit from the EOS to the Audi that I am borrowing from Lois. I opened it up and to my horror see that it was given to me by the Kingston Police while I was dropping off the artwork for 5 minutes downtown. Now mind you, there were NO cars parked on the street, no one wanting anything downtown, but I had forgotten to feed the meters as I usually do, putting a measly nickel into the meter so I could deliver my work.

20.00 f-in bucks for 5 minutes of parking. Tell me, who is making the money here?
NOT THE ARTISTS.

I am sending the money in ASAP as it was written on Lois's car, not mine, but you KNOW they are going to get a little sarcastic letter enclosed with two gallery invitations for them to come see the shows.

Patti O Protester

Comments

annie kelleher said…
i once figured out that based on my advance, my first novel cost me well over six times my first advance to write... sigh. but we get to play with fun stuff, right? :)
Woodstock said…
You should bill them for ruining your installation, titled: "Car parked illegally to deliver artwork for starving artist in a town with inconsiderate law enforcement...number 2."
Well Patti...when you break it down like that....we are nearly paying people to buy our stuff! =)

I know what you mean though. There was someone who told me to definitely charge for my time. I really don't. But that's because I have a full time corporate job. I feel like people won't buy things if they are too high (and in this case, mine is the jewelry so I know what's going to just sit there and what will sell at the craft fairs where people are looking for bargains to begin with).

Parking ticket is obviously someone getting their quota done early to take time off for the holiday. Pfffff!

BTW - are you on Facebook? There is a person with your name listed in the area....I tried to friend them but I might be going after a stranger....yay! Strangers!

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