Have you ever heard of the famous artist Ike Andrews? I will put a video up about him a little lower in this post. It serves as a good introduction as to how we value art.
1. why value art in the first place?
Well actually that one is quite simple: artists need to eat. They need to feed their families. so we need to pay them. The question then becomes…how much?
2.what is value anyway?
See how quickly we are getting away from simple questions into something more philosophical? Its certainly a problem. Chris Evans on BBC radio said that there are those who buy art, and those who make it. And it is something that I was talking to an artist friend about yesterday, why do people even buy art in the first place?
At a basic level the amount of money that something is worth is how much someone is willing to pay for it. But then there are all sorts of things which start to drive the prices up. There are even consortiums of people who will buy art cheaply from artists and then between them buy and sell at auction raising the price higher and higher until finally the bubble bursts, but they walk away with a small profit. Does that mean that the art has value or not?
3. does size count?
No. Well yes. Kinda. Bigger pictures have more impact and so they do seem to sell more. They certainly cost more to create. Again, though, you aren’t really talking about worth as much as value. If valuing a piece of art for its first sale you could do so as far as time it took to make + material costs, but actually no one is particularly bothered about that. They just want the picture. That is what they will or will not value. A more standardized calculation would be the actual size of the picture.
4. Back to Ike Andrews
I discovered this youtube gem this evening digging around google looking for prints to see what kind of thing people were buying. You have to look at this kind of thing when you are making art…to sell art you have to make what people are buying, but at the same time enjoy what you are making. There is a sweet spot in the middle.
Watch it and ask yourself the question: how exactly do we value art?