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Out of Curiosity:: How Much Is Too Much For Artwork?

Yesterday I printed out the pet-related artwork that I made to go over the pet station.  I like it.  I mean, it’s fine.  And oh, how I love it when things in my home are best described as “fine”…LOL.  In other words, “It’s not the greatest, but it’ll have to do.”  Uuggghhh!!

The problem is that I just couldn’t get this picture out of my mind.

pet artwork 3

I love everything about this watercolor by Rachelle Levingston.  I would love…LOVE…to have a portrait done of each of my furbies.  But at $300 a pop for an 8” x 10” portrait, that’s just not going to happen…ever.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not that I don’t think it’s worth $300.  I’m quite convinced that most artists undercharge for their creations.  But $900 for pet portraits is a cost I simply cannot justify.

I found couple more watercolor artists on Etsy who do custom work for much less.  But even at $50 each, it’s still hard to justify spending that money on pet portraits when there are sooooooo many major projects that are unfinished around my condo.

And yes, I’m cheap.  I’ll freely admit that.  And again, it’s not that I think these artists are overcharging for their services.  I mean, come on…$50 for a custom piece of artwork?!  What an unbelievable bargain!

So last night, I was thinking about artwork, and how there are people in this world who will pay tens of thousands…or hundreds of thousands…or even millions of dollars for one piece of artwork.  That’s something I truly can’t wrap my brain around.

So where do you stand on original artwork for your home?



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13 Comments

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jeannine Bruner
    June 6, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Out of those options, I chose make my own- $200 is even too much for me.  I like to be able to change out my decor without feeling guilty.  If I spend a good chunk of money on a painting/other artwork, whose to say I will still love it in 5 years? I consider myself to be pretty artistic.  I don't do portraits, but I can paint (acrylic is my medium of choice, not watercolor).  Sooo….I'll continue to make my own.  I did a self made Rothko inspired painting for my hubby's office & I love it (only cost me $35 for the large canvas!)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Campmary2
    June 6, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I struggle with this as well.  I really appreciate artwork and artist, but there are so many other areas that I feel are more pressing and require that kind of money.  Maybe, if my financial situation looked different, my priorities would be different, but there's no way to know that at this point.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Courageous Designs
    June 6, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    You should never spend more than you think it is worth.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Angela N
    June 6, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I have one piece of artwork that I purchased (it's not even an original) and I paid $189.  It's a very large piece, but I still had a hard time spending that much.  I wish that I could afford original art work, but for the time being, I am making my own.  

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Inscribed Here
    June 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    We never had much money but I was brought up to appreciate art. I'm about to pay $250 for a pair of paintings that I have fallen in love with and I don't feel at all over-charged. I'll only have to skip perhaps a dozen or so take-out meals to pay for them. Ultimately I'd rather have the paintings than the extra padding on the hips.

    Have you considered taking some photographs and then playing around in Photoshop to create your own portraits? There are some fantastic filters and combing them can produce stunning effects. Printed on a textured paper they could be stunning.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Sally
      March 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm

      I was going to suggest this also, there is so much you can do with ‘painterly’ effects and photos now. Another idea is to find a student in art school (a local one near me has an annual students show and sale). Find a student you like, and get their rate for a piece. Or…(what I would do) use a art projector and trace out your design from a photo (art projectors project onto the wall or paper or canvas) and then fill it in. I would actually just free-hand it but I paint and draw anyway. Artists rarely make back what they put into in effort. I have done 6 pieces for my grandson to be’s nursery and I bet I spent hours on each little painting, even though they are small, it is very time consuming, besides materials and I haven’t even framed them yet. If I were charging someone, I would never be able to ask what my time and effort were worth to me. If I sell them for $35-50 each, after buying the canvas ($6-8 for an 8×10) and spending probably 4 hrs. on each one, making multiple coats and using paints and sealers, plus a frame, it wouldn’t be possible to live on that much.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Stephanie
    June 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    If I saved up for it, and I truly loved it, I would pay whatever it cost. I'm not wealthy by any stretch, so there is a "practical cap" on what I could reasonably save up for and afford, but I don't have an "arbitrary cap," in that there's not a dollar amount that somehow sticks in my head, and anything above that is "too much" while anything below that is "okay." I am currently saving for a sculpture that is selling for $4500. It will take me a while to save up for that, but not only is art extremely important to me, but this particular piece holds a lot of emotional and sentimental value. It's something I know I would cherish, not just something to make my walls look prettier. It means something to me.

    I think buying art is just like buying anything else. If you truly love it and it adds value to your life, and you can manage the purchase without going into debt, then do it. 🙂

    I think a lot of creative people are shy to buy art, because they start thinking, "I could make that." But supporting others' creativity, and surrounding yourself with things that inspire you, and sharing artistic creations with others can bring real joy to some people.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    anna
    June 6, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    $200 is too much for me at the moment. I'm very low on funds so I would probably spend a maximum of $75 for artwork (on a small piece or a print) but when I have more money I would happily spend up to $1000 on a piece of art. My mother is an artist and I know a lot of artists (and have done a little myself) so I really appreciate the time and thought processes that go into a piece. And although I can make a lot of art myself, I like to support creative people and their ideas, rather than just copy it myself. (Not that I don't love DIY art and do some of it myself at times!)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Tinamarie
    June 6, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    I can understand the hesitation, i do. I said that if it was the right piece who knows what I'd pay. Here's my reasoning: My husband is an artist, I have personally seen him invest nearly a hundred hours on something just in time, much less the money he has invested in high quality framing, canvas and paint for one piece. For that piece, our bone stock supply costs well exceeded $200 just in framing and canvas  – that doesn't touch on the nearly $500 he has spent in paint. For him, its a labor of love and he doesn't do it for the money but I can see practically how artists want to be adequately compensated. Many may feel they "can do it themselves" and yes, anyone can throw paint at a cheap canvas with cheap acrylics and be satisfied but quality art is more than that – you can see the layering and focus on how light will affect it. Some pieces I have seen something new each time I came upon it. Enough of that soapbox.
    Here's another perspective – how many of us wouldn't hesitate to spend hundreds or thousands on other components of our home? Rugs are as essential to the good design of a room as art and for quality, they can be VERY expensive. And we WALK all over them! We will without hesitation purchase furniture like sofas and loveseats that even good ones now just don't hold up to the damage families can put them through.  We accept it as a cost of a well loved home.
    In our modern disposable society we tend to forget that if our homes are suppossed to be living tangible examples of us. When we cookie cutter everything that is mass produced (quality art is NOT), are we REALLY letting our homes reflect us?
    Sorry about the rant – I guess someday I should do a whole blog on this subject – or just copy this post! LOL!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Megan Gery
    June 7, 2011 at 12:40 am

    For the time being, I make my own. I'm a big fan of found objects. I own one fantastic original piece (created by my younger sister), but I can't afford to buy much as my husband and I are currently trying to get out of debt. Once we've reached some more pressing financial goals, I'd gladly save for years to get the perfect piece.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kim Perdew
    June 7, 2011 at 2:01 am

    In the old days (married and very comfortable) I would have paid $500 matted and framed but these days I would have to say $200 would be my top and that would be a stretch.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Julie
    June 7, 2011 at 2:44 am

    There has to be some kind of editing program that can turn a photo into a watercolor, right???  Have you checked out mpix.com or myphotopipe.com??

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    TheThinkingMom
    June 7, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    I've been struggling with this a lot lately; I saw a 4×4 painting (not original) at Home Goods that I LOVE but is $180. For the size & quality of the framing I think it's a deal, but I've just never spent that much on something like that. We don't have the perfect space for it right now either, but I don't really want to pass it up. We'll see I suppose…

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