There is a widely known meme among artists (and musicians, writers), “I don’t work for exposure.” There are videos on this, websites, everything. Regularly we are expected to give away our work, sell it for a pittance, and be grateful for it.
Only in the arts do buyers expect rock bottom prices (or free!) in exchange for “exposure” (which usually is not worth anything). No other profession has that expectation.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be aware of what the market is paying these days. I consider my prices to be very reasonable. Well, let’s be honest, they’re low. I have other places where I sell larger pieces and they sell at a more competitive rate, but even then, I’m an “emerging” artist so none of my prices are high. On DPW I can sell small pieces, “studies,” and “Studio Clearance” paintings for lower and bring in a little extra cash. DPW has been very good to me.
When deciding how to price my work here, I looked around at what others were selling (here and elsewhere) and priced accordingly. I have gradually been raising my prices as the years pass, because that’s what you’re supposed to do, as your skill level (and, hopefully, career) rise. I’m very grateful to sell, but am pragmatic about it. I don’t want to price super low, but don’t want to price myself out of the market (here) either.
I don’t do auctions at all, because even though I sell regularly on average, sometimes it takes a while for a particular piece to sell. Some paintings wait over a year or more before they sell. I’d prefer to hang on to the painting for a while (since most of the paintings I have here are small, it’s not like they take up a lot of room) than give them away for pennies. It’s not like the piece is worthless, it just needs extra time to find the buyer who will appreciate it. I want to give it that time. The auction system can be a great system for some people, but I balk at giving away anything I’ve done, which is a risk I’d run with the auction.