What Is The Value of Your Art?

What Is The Value of Your Art

I’ve been holding a lot of one-on-one, in depth conversations with artists who know they have hit a mud flat and are spinning their wheels.

Within the first hour of our conversation, something clicks into place – an insight they didn’t have before.

Suddenly, a light is shining on what had been in shadows before our call, and the artist can feel something opening up inside, expanding into the pathways for the dream, which they have always longed for, to be realized.

At this point, artists usually ask how much the mentoring /coaching service is going to cost.

And for some of these artists, often the ones who are hurting the most, the value of what they have just experienced, and know they will continue to experience if they work with me, gets strangled in the net of price.

In one moment, the precious, incalculable value of their insights become tangled up in lines of scarcity and fear, and then falls over a cliff, disappearing from view.

Sometimes artists can grab a hold of the lifeline I throw them, so they climb back up and see the vista that is always there, waiting for them.

Other times, the conditioning and hooks around money sink the dream—as it has for these artists from time immemorial.

What, you may wonder – as I have – has really happened here?

A Bit of History

Years ago, when I decided that I wanted a doctorate in Creative Behavior and Human Development, I was a single, divorced mother with two teenage daughters and zero support from their father.

I did not arrive on planet Earth with a silver spoon in my mouth either. My extended family was tiny, one mother and stepfather, and they had their hands full keeping up with their own modest bills.

Making it at any level was all on me.

In many ways, going to graduate school was a pipe dream, financially impossible.

The sensible thing would have been to look for a job and defer my dream.

Only that wasn’t an option I was willing to consider because once the graduate school bug bit me, I was moving mountains.

With three, part time jobs, driving an ancient car, never eating out or taking vacations, – and all state-funded programs for single mothers suspended – I made sure my daughters were taken care of and I bolted through the Creativity doctoral program in four and a half years.

Yes, I came out with student loans and credit card debt. But the really, really good news is what I had already calculated:  that the value of what I was getting was worth far more than the price.

I was laying the foundation for everything that was to come later: my book on artist statements, the first ever, professional development conference for visual artists, the smARTist Telesummits, and one of only a handful of art career coaching mentors in the world (and the only one who works with consciousness healing and transformation).

But…I could not have realized the dream of having my doctorate if I had not understood that…

The Price of Anything is Not Its Value

When an artist comes to me because they are discouraged with a lack of art sales, the last thing they realize is how they have collapsed price and value into one thing.

Price is a dollar amount, a number, calculated from the practical domains of cost, time, and experience/reputation.

Value is the benefit your customer or collector receives from your artwork irrespective of its price.

Price is the cost. Value is the gift.

Guaranteed, whenever price is considered over value, you lose.

This is true whether you are considering investing in moving your art career forward and getting out of the mud flats, or selling your art.

If all you can offer your artience is a price, because you have failed to think through the value, selling your art will be an uphill struggle.

If you are one of the rare artists who has done the work of understanding the value of your art, please comment here and tell me what you have discovered.


My new Manifesto For Visual Fine Artists is all about making sure you have the tools you need to begin uncovering the true value of your work.

The Entire Manifesto Is Ready For You

My plan is to use this Sunday Series of Blog Posts to tease out sections of the manifesto and illuminate, ruminate, and expand, but I can’t do this alone.

I need my intrepid artists, the ones who find a resonance with exploring how we can all step so fully into our own creative flow that the collective consciousness of humanity also wakes up and steps into its collective creative flow.

If you would like a copy of the entire Manifesto For Visual Fine Artists, click here.

I want to hear … no, I need to hear about the principles you believe will take you closer and closer to the visionary summit of the truth and power in your art.

So, please… comment here and tell me, what is the value of your art?

The Next Step

I have been coaching visual artists on their career path to Visionary Affluence since 2004.

That’s the ten-year minimum it takes to master any skill—not to say I’ve actually mastered anything. Just letting you know I have logged the 10,000 hours it takes to run fast enough, flap your wings hard enough, and leap high enough to discover whether or not you can fly.

And what I can tell you is how remarkable the view is from 10,000 hours above the creative landscape.  I can spot enclaves of my artists as they sit ‘round mythical campfires at different levels of the Mt. Olympus climb to their dreams.

Leaning into the smell of a wood fire, these artists – intrepid visionaries every one – share their experiences with each other. A hawk cries out and circles overhead as the mountain range frames a bold streak of sunset sky deepening to blood red.

I invite you to join your fellow artists, and me, under the emerging stars of your own visions, where the expansive beauty of the horizon calls out, the fire is warm, and the truth of your heart is irresistible!

Your Truth – Your Power – Your Art

Click here to get your download.

And I’ll keep you posted on the exciting new events, webinars, trainings, books, and successful artist interviews I’m mapping out as we climb this dream summit together.

15 Responses to “What Is The Value of Your Art?”

  1. I believe art has the power to connect to what is built in in us all.

    I learned early that my art touches people emotionally when bringing some pieces in to a gallery. Some people saw me carrying the art in a parking lot and wanted to buy the pieces on the spot.

    I still study art and am reading how Matisse worked to arrive at making his art work. Usually I never read the text in art books.

    When I was very young I noticed something in a finger painting I was making. I still notice things. Then I draw, paint and/or photograph them.

    I understand now that what I notice is how we all have built in connections to what it is to be human. Like Monarch butterflies have a built in GPS to guide them to their winter grounds in Mexico from Canada.

    I met a surgeon here in San Antonio that had the same burning excitement when we discussed surgery as I have when talking about art.

    My built in GPS pointed me to art, his pointed him to surgery.

    Tiger Woods has spent more than 10,000 hours mastering golf. There are many other fine golfers that are passionate golfers that have spent way less than 10,000 hours perfecting their golf.

    Their passion for golf is equal or more than Tiger’s. You do not have to be a master to be passionate about anything.

    I encourage my young students to pursue painting and drawing regardless of their skill, regardless of any discouragement. if something in them points them to art or surgery–follow the inner GPS.

    The value of my art is not just as decoration, it is the emotional connection the viewer can experience and the resulting inner journey they can make to what is deep within.

    I am passionate about more than art. There are more than one rainbow and pot of gold in my sky.

    I am excited to relate how things work so anyone can understand, things like Google search, marketing, irrational numbers, cosmology and….well I enjoy Texas BBQ.

    • Grant – this is my favorite part of what you have to share:

      “The value of my art … is the emotional connection the viewer can experience and the resulting inner journey they can make to what is deep within.”

      Thank you for that!

  2. Sari Grove says:

    I don’t think anybody has a problem understanding the value of art…Ok, maybe some do, but I don’t see that as the problem today…
    What I see is that the price to experience that art is now mostly free…We can look at any artist’s website gallery & enjoy that value-able art for free…(ok, after getting a computer or using the library computer-plus internet access & so on…)
    Musicians understood this problem, as did their record agencies, & they are trying to solve this with lawyers & takedowns of free music sharing sites like Limewire…
    This required hard work & many lawyers & alot of internet savvy people…
    It was not a question of re-framing the brain of the artist…
    It was re-setting the price on the art…
    Until visual artists understand this mountain climb, the prices will continue to drop on visual art…
    Every time I mention this in artist groups the thought is pooh-poohed…I am not sure why…
    Possibly because lawyers & money & price are anathema to the visual artist…Perhaps it is only because recording artists rely on money people that the problem there is starting to correct…
    I just don’t think the problem is with valuation…
    The problem is there is just too much supply out there that is for all intents & purposes now free…
    But, without the support of other visual artists, controlling supply & price is difficult…
    It would have to be a mass effort…

  3. Sari
    You bring up a very good point. I registered to sell prints of my art work on line.

    Many venture capitalists have jumped into this market segment and they are squeezing artist commission way down.

    However I still see a thriving market for original art via galleries and the internet.

    Seeing artwork on the internet does not satisfy the need to have orignal art pieces on a wall in a business or home.

    Artist’s must market their work to reach buyers who want original art, not just internet print on demand copies.

    The supply for original art is controlled by the artist.

    How do you market the “value” and uniqueness of your original art to the people that want it?

    Are you saying that just because you can see someone’s art online that customers will not want to buy it?

  4. Sari Grove says:

    Ah Eyauuk…

    The pushback…

    The pushback is because we as artists love giving our work away…

    We love the attention…

    We love the love…

    I am as guilty as others…

    Which is why I was seeking strength from perhaps stronger souls, maybe from the earlier generations, but I see my mistake-older artists are not on the internet as much, I am speaking to the already brainwashed for lack of a better word…(I mean something softer actually but cannot think of a word that I want-help me if you want)…

    No it does not satisfy ALL the desires…

    Just as free porn online does not satisfy ALL the desires…

    A real person is better…

    But porn can erode real relationships by satisfying many aspects of it, as seeing works of art online for free can satisfy many aspects…

    Sorry for the analogy-it is just useful because it is so stark & brutal…

    I’m not going to continue because I know you are smart…

    No need to hammer down this point further…

    I think you get it…

    It is just a vary hard thing to correct…

    We have already gone down this Alice in Wonderland pathway…

    Like the musicians, it will be difficult to learn how to unshare…

    We need help…

  5. Musicians, the big names, have shifted from making money from CDs/Albums/downloads to going on tours.

    So what do us visual artists who are not in the Beyonce/Lichenstein/Matisse circles do to earn a living.

    Galleries, shows, local venues. licensing. Nothing new here.

    And how do we compete with other artists?

    On value and uniqueness. What makes our art valuable and unique to potential buyers.

    Matisse spent years perfecting his process of making art with cut outs until he felt line and color had combined into one thing.

    Just as the fees a surgeon collects are not based only on the time she spends in the operating room, they are based on the experience and skill level the surgeon has developed…..the value of our art to buyers has to be something other than the cost of the paint, canvas, frame and hours spent actually making the work.

    We pay the best surgeons for the hours spent developing their skills to a high level.

    Buyers must be aware that the value of our art is based on……and there is the trick.

    How do we relate what is unique and valuable about our art to the buyer?

    For me, the buyer can keep my work with her and feel an emotional connection not just to the line and color of the work but to something built in in us all.

    How do I market that?

    Venues where I relate how I connect when making my work, and thus how the buyer may connect as well.

  6. Sari says:

    But I have been competing with free…

  7. I re-read all this to get what you mean.

    You are saying that since your artwork is available on the internet to view for free, that detracts from selling it? Right?

    Generally I say, the free availability of your work on the internet is not competing with your ability to sell your original piece, in fact it is free advertising for your original work.

  8. Well, first Sari and Grant, I love this dialogue between you.

    Sari, you seem intent on defining the problem as “too much free art takes down the value for us all.”

    Grant, you seem intent on defining the challenge as “go the extra mile and understand the unique value of your art (and I would add, of you as the artist) and use that to create connection and sales. Get promotional value out of the ‘free’.” promotion.”

    And in this case, I come down stronger on Grant’s side of this discussion. Using musicians as an analogy or allegory for visual fine artists in demanding their rights be legally respected, I suspect, is a loosing battle.

    Yes, there are New World battles to be fought – but I would respectfully suggest we pick the ones where we can be most effective.

    Taking away the ability to view an artist’s work online does not seem like a battle that makes any sense to me.

  9. Sari Grove says:

    -ok, that is what I thought…

    -but then I think that that is just a rationalization for being too lazy to take control of the market…

    -that I am letting the market control me…

    -on the other hand I am a go with the flow person…

    Perhaps you are right…

    In any case, the tack you are taking is an optimistic one, which I agree with in principle…

    Though many a sailboat has sunk on optimism without a map…

    I suppose it will have to remain open-ended again, only time will tell…

    • I can see how you might imagine my position is optimistic, but from where I sit, working with my visual artists and their art careers day in and day out, it’s more about working with what is, while intending what you want – a form of optimistic realism perhaps…

  10. Sari Grove says:

    Perhaps because you are the viewer not the seller?

  11. Sari
    Are you saying no art work on the internet, none in magazines, newspapers, TV, movies, books, galleries, shows?

    Only the artist will control and show their work?

    How would patrons decide to come by to view your work if it could not be seen anywhere except your venue?

  12. Sari says:

    1)re the how? Answer:They walk in?

    2)re internet access Answer:They pay admission?

  13. Sari says:

    (I pay for Steamfeed for my typepad.com blog at grovecanada.com for some reason either the Search box or the RSS services oh yes RSS became no longer free- but now I get their newsletter with juicy articles like the one I have shared…)

    I copied & pasted the link information they spit out-enjoy, it is a good long read!!!

    Check out this article I found on SteamFeed:

    10 Things Marketers Need to Know to Remain Relevant

    Sent from my iPhone

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