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$1 auctions not panning out

(Sunny Avocado) #21

Perhaps it is time for you to try something else. You have started a lot of topics on this subject, $1 auctions, low auctions in general and non paying bidders. You seem to be correct, your strategy does not seem to be working. Auctions in general don’t seem to be as popular as they once were-except among bargain hunters and very well known artists who bring buyers in through other marketing or advertising, shows and galleries.

Perhaps find that local show and ask for other friends and family for one time support to invest in you and your art? And your online friends $1 each…send me the paypal link, I will start it off with $1. :smiley: They also have ‘fund me’ I don’t know much about…

(Alix Baker PCAFAS UA) #22

You are spot on, David. This is nothing new at all but you have restated it so clearly.
Another thing, if exhibiting, imagine if someone had their work next to yours but theirs was marked at an unrealistically low price. Wouldn’t you feel that it would affect the possibilities of you selling?
Pricing really low doesn’t begin to make sense: even if not wanting to sell particularly, the artist should at least be covering their time and materials. It does no one any favours.

(David Kuhn) #23

Except that it’s a common pricing stratgegy, especially for people just getting their foot in the door; it’s called “loss leading”.

From Investopedia

a loss leader is a product or service at a price that is not profitable, but is sold or offered in order to attract new customers… this is a common practice when a business first enters a market… a loss leader introduces new customers to a service or product in the hope of building a customer base and securing future recurring revenue.

(Joe Wojdakowski) #24

Good idea!! Can’t hurt anything, time to move on from this low pricing thing.

(Bob Kimball) #25

I appreciate all your responses. Over the last few days, I couldn’t keep up with the thread but I want to respond to a few of the ideas and things that were said.
Just to clear it up a little, I’m not actually trying to sell paintings for $1. That’s just the starting price. I had a couple of groups of paintings sell recently on $1 auctions, I think about 6 paintings in each group and the average selling price was $34 each. (each painting, not each group).
Although I’d like to get more for them which I used to quite a while back, I either have to settle for what I’m currently getting or put them up for $75 to $100 and wait a very long time for them to sell at all.
I wish I had the luxury to wait months or even longer for them to sell but I don’t.
My average painting take about 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours to make, so the time isn’t too much of an issue. The only thing is that you only have so much creativity in a time period…at least in my case anyway. Also, the other time of the day is spent marketing which we all know is VERY time consuming.
I once read that if your going to sell art online, you have to spend about 20% making art and 80% of your time marketing it. I have slowly come to believe that.
Also, I have tried many different price points. I understand what some are saying about if you price too low, buyers won’t think the art is worth it. But I tried raising my prices at many different price points and had to wait a very long time to make a sale or never at all. Believe me, over the last 12 years or more, I have tried so many different strategies, that I think I tried them all.

Sunny, it’s funny that you mention about friends chipping in $1 to fund a show or something. Have you ever heard of Patreon? It’s a funding website that’s set up exactly in that way. It’s set up to make your own page to show videos or whatever you can offer as rewards for support of $1 or more on a monthly basis. Some artists are making a lot of money there. It takes quite a lot of time to set up but I’ve been working on it since I already have some demo art videos made already. Even Youtube has a special button for it to link to Patreon. It’s just getting monthly support from your art fans so you can afford to keep making art for a living.

Anyway, I know that pricing effectively is not an easy thing for any business. A lot of it depends on certain matters, like how soon you need money…which in my case it’s not tomorrow, it’s yesterday as always.

(Bob Kimball) #26

Also, Sunny. Thank you for your offer to start off my funding. :slight_smile: And thanks to everybody else for your comments. I can’t respond to all of them, but I have read them all and all the comments are very useful.

(Karleen Kareem) #27

I want to thank everyone for their comments because, just reading everyone’s comments helps me. I’m in a slump, too and haven’t sold anything for awhile, and I’m happy to hear how everyone is encouraging Bob, because that’s an encouragement to me, also.

(Rhett Regina Owings) #28

I absolutely agree with you. I think that when artists put such low prices on their hard earned work, they are degrading ART in general. It says art is not worth much. I feel artists need to tell the public that art has value and the time an artist spends learning his/her craft is valuable too. I agree, put a high price on your work. It says “my work is worth this”. If all artists do this, the public will not have a choice but pay the price if they want the work. Imagine a guest in someone’s home looking at a painting on the wall. The homeowner says “yes, and I only paid one dollar for that!” That is nothing to be proud of. Makes it feel like it came from the 99¢ store and made in China. So my advice is value your work and yourself. I think it will pay off in the long run. In the mean time keep honing your craft. Paint every day to improve. Try new techniques and experiment fearlessly. And have fun.

(Bob Kimball) #29

Ok, I think for some reason, I’m being mis-understood. Like I explained earlier, I’m not saying, "please buy my painting for $1).
My auctions start at $1 and go up from there. That strategy has been around for a long time. Theoretically, the low auction start price creates a little bidding war between buyers and can lead to a good sale.
Today for example, I had two auctions start at $1 each and one ended up with 19 bids and ended at $67. The other got 13 bids and ended at $42.
Of course I would like to get more money for my paintings. I really think they deserve more. But like I said in an earlier post, I can’t afford to wait months for a painting to sell. Some people can, I can’t. Before a better solution comes along which I’m actively working on, I have to settle with taking a chance on auctions.

I think the only way anyone can understand this is if they lived it themselves.

(Bob Kimball) #30


I’m really glad this thread is helping you too. I know it has helped me. It’s always good to have discussions in this area since it seems to be the most concerning thing about making a living or extra income with your art.
I’m just glad it’s helping you and I’m sure a few others. I wish you the best with your art and your art sales.

(David Randall) #31

Just a note on business cycles. I run a small brick and mortar custom frame shop and gallery. My market for the shop like most is restricted to a physical population and relatively short distance from the shop. The business traditionally slumps every summer and will pick up for the Holidays in October. There is little I can do to change it. My supplier tells me it’s the same for them so it’s not just a location thing it covers hundreds of miles of the southeast coastal states. This year is as poor business as any.
Selling and marketing on the internet is as difficult if not more so than brick and mortar businessesin my opinion

(Nadia Louderback) #32

Way to say it David Randall! That’s what I am seeing now and working on changing my mind set of pricing according to where I live, who buys, etc. Thanks for the firm words of wisdom.

(David Randall) #33

I recently read a book that many of you may have read long ago. I did not until now, “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. Read it again. In it a recount of life in the Nazi camps, love, beauty and art were some of the only highlights left to those prisoners unless they gave up the will to live. ART kept men alive through unthinkable horrors.
Art is, “unnecessary” our society keeps drumming at us. Art has little or no real value. We hear it all the time. Tell that to a prisoner in a concentration camp. It is what kept him alive.
Art obviously is extremely necessary. It is life or death. I will never again say in conversation that ART is unnecessary, that it is a want not a need. That is just wrong.

(David Kuhn) #34

I know I couldn’t live without art when it comes to music. Couldn’t live without the movies or good television, either. Absolutely couldn’t live without great literature… But, honestly, I could live without paintings…

(Christine Derrick) #35

Art, like music, has spiritual qualities that simply don’t follow the rules of The World. I have a young relative who is highly gifted in music, but it has taken years to become well qualified (“the world’s” certificate of competency) and he’s still not in what we might call a proper fulltime job. There is a lot of art in the world that is slick and technically clever, or based on what I call smart-ass ideas; as the world degrades morally, so does the art (and the music).
As a result, many beautiful and harmonious artworks are by-passed by many buyers in favour of the garish, gimmicky, sensational or downright ugly. It’s a reflection on current society.
I have problems selling anything in England, where large-size is king; pastel is just bottom of the buyers’ preferences and I have had more success on DPW. All my sales here have gone to the USA (albeit at low prices). Pastel sells ok in my local group shows, though. I’ve tried BuyItNow and auctions, I seem to get more luck with the auction format (although usually only one bidder).
I couldn’t advise anyone what they should do, it’s a very personal thing. Rather like Anne Wood’s earlier comment, I would still paint even if there were no outlets for the work; it is a part (or not) of the individual’s spirit. I don’t rely on it for income, though, which is probably just as well.:grin:

(Anne Wood) #36

I read your post with great interest Christine. It seems we are kindred souls…

(David Kuhn) #37

Absolutely. And since that’s what people buy, maybe that’s what we should make… It seems nothing is more valuable than a good gimmick.

(Joseph Mahon) #38

Well said Christine. Art is not all about money. It’s sensory, intellectual, healing, inspiring, frustrating, challenging, provocative, and much more. It’s a way of life for many of us whether we sell or not.

(Connie McLennan) #39

“My Art Career” cartoon
(Maybe this explains the existence of artist “support groups”?)

(Bob Kimball) #40

I think that the reason for the disconnect here with what I’m saying and just about everyone else is saying is that almost no one here but me relies on sales to make ends meet.
I would prefer that things were different with my situation, but some things take time to fix. As soon as I complete my other projects for income, I’m going to quit painting altogether. It’s simply not worth spending hours and day on when people want you art for almost free.
99% of buyers out there would rather not pay you for your time and materials for your art. The percent of sales here or any other venue for that matter are VERY low, and I’m not counting the really small sales that hardly make a dent. I’m talking about meaningful sales.
Also, why does art seem to be the only thing that you shouldn’t be concerned about making money with? Would successful musicians or professional athletes or electricians or engineers or janitors work for someone for free or settle for a couple bucks a day? I don’t think so.
Why does it seem so taboo to some people to try to make a living making art???
I think every artist is history has tried and/or succeeded in making a living at art. I don’t think it’s such a strange request to get paid for all the time and money your spending on your art.
I very much enjoy making art and if I can make a living from it then so what. I’m glad there are people here that don’t need money can make art for fun and not worry about sales. Why don’t they just give their art away?