In the Art Marketing Minute Podcast, you’ll learn how to sell your art, how to market your paintings, and everything else you need to know in order to have a successful art career. Each episode answers questions from artists by host Eric Rhoads, author of “Make More Money Selling Your Art,” publisher of several art magazines and newsletters, and author of

How do you price a commissioned painting? What should you do if your painting is stolen? Eric Rhoads answers in this episode of the Art Marketing Minute Podcast.

Listen to the Art Marketing Minute Podcast: Episode 69 >

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FULL TRANSCRIPT of the Art Marketing Minute:
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of a transcription from an audio recording of the Art Marketing Minute. Although the transcription is mostly correct, in some cases it is slightly inaccurate due to the recording and/or software transcription.

This is the Art Marketing Minute with Eric Rhoads, author of the Amazon best selling book, “Make More Money Selling Your Art.” In the marketing minute we answer your questions to help your art career brought to you by, the place to go to learn more about marketing. Now, here’s your host, arts magazine publisher, Eric Rhoads.

Eric Rhoads:

In the marketing minute I try to answer your art marketing questions. And usually there are questions that kind of aren’t always aren’t marketing related, but sometimes they are. email your questions Eric at art Also check out Art because it’s a really great place to get a lot of resources, a lot of articles there. I just wrote one on how to build email list in 2021. Go to for that. Here’s a question from Amanda Dodd in Montgomery, Alabama, who says, How do you come up with a price for commissioned painting? Well, pricing is the most confusing, often most misunderstood thing on earth for artists and probably pretty much everybody else. Picking prices, you know, if you were selling widgets, the way you would set your prices is you’d start out by saying okay, you know the cost of the metal is this much and the cost of the labor is this much. And the cost of the marketing is this much and the cost, you add up all of your costs. And let’s say your cost is $100. And then from that point forward, then you have to say okay, as somebody selling this for me, like if it’s if it were a retail store, then they’d say, Okay, well, then we got to add in that, that that amount of money, but you also have to add in your profit, you know, how much is it worth it to you? Now you have to be reasonable, you don’t want to be greedy. But let’s say you’ve got $100 in materials and you’d like to make it you know, some amount of money on it, you have to determine that it’s 10 bucks, 20 bucks, 50 bucks, 100 bucks, whatever. And then on top of that, you know, what is the market going to be able to bear? Well as painters, we’re not creating widgets, but there are some clues that you can ask yourself first off, how much time do I have to spend on this and let’s just say that you had an average painting and your average painting took you five days and you could sell that average painting for $2,000. So okay, so you know, you know five days of your time is worth $2,000 and you’ve built in your materials and your frame and your canvas and all that stuff into it. Let’s say somebody says well I want you to do a commission and you start thinking about okay well Commission’s a little different, right, or it could be, let’s say they want you to paint their grandmother and their grandfather. Okay, now there’s two figures in it. And how much time is this going to take you? It’s going to take you potentially a lot more than what a typical landscape painting might take you, for instance, now if it’s a landscape painting commission, different story, but let’s say you said, right, alright, this guy is going to take me instead of 10 days is take me 20 days, well, if you know that, you’re normally going to get a couple $1,000 for that 10 days, and it’s going to take you $20,000, and maybe you charge a couple, it charged twice as much. I mean, that’s kind of how the thinking is, and, and I, I have done commissions and regretted them. I had a commission I did, it was double portrait, and I never realized how much extra time it was going to take me. And it was because I was less experienced in that area. But also, there was all this back and forth of gathering photos. And then I had to do sketches because the photos were no good. And so I had to do sketches, and then I had to kind of put my own light in and try to you know, try to make it right, you know, and then I’m touching base with the person all the time, I spent a lot of time on it. So when you when you start thinking about those things, first off, you got to try and anticipate how much time am I going to spend on how many iterations you know, if you’re doing a commission, usually there’s going to be a preliminary sketch, you know, I’m going to show you a sketch, you’re going to approve it at that point, you’re going to pay me a little bit more of the money you owe me, you’re going to start out by saying, Okay, what, you know, half upfront, and then I need another quarter, it’s a preliminary sketch, and then you got to pay the rest on the finished painting that kind of a thing. So, you know, figure out, you know, how much how much you need to create that piece. Now, on top of that, you’ve got what I call your brand value, you know, if you’re, let’s say, your Nelson Shanks, the late Nelson Shanks, who was getting, you know, 8090 $100,000 for a portrait, you know, he hits, you know, it’s not so much about his time as it is his reputation and the value that he brings, because, you know, it’s a status item to own a painting of his he did my portrait. And so I think the idea is, you got a base, you know, your time, the quality of your brand, you know, if people are highly aware of you, you’ve got a good brand you’re more sought after, then that’s going to increase your value. And you know, there are people out there who are getting that kind of money. But if if it were me, and I came out there, and I said, Hey, I want 80 or $100,000, for my portrait, people would laugh at me. Because I don’t have the reputation for doing that. And so, I mean, you, you might be able to get it with the right person, but chances are, you know, you’re working through somebody else who knows the market, what the market will bear and so on. So, I know, I know, I didn’t really completely answer that. But that’s kind of how I would answer it if I were gonna go into that direction.

Now, here’s a question from Christopher sites in Phoenix, Arizona, whose question is, what do you do if your painting is stolen? Christopher, call the police. You know, there’s no more data in that question. I don’t know how it was stolen, what kind of painting it was, whether it was something he did, or something somebody else did, whether it was at an art show, you know, there’s a lot of different circumstances what to do. But, you know, you, you and also, what’s that painting worth? You know? And is it going to be worth the time to pursue it? And I can’t answer that question, only you can answer it. But, you know, I’ve heard stories of people going to art shows, you know, you’ve got a tent show where you’re, you’re showing things and people slip in and they steal something, and they run off, you know, you’re going to go call the police. And you’re going to go to the police at the Art Show. And you’re gonna say, hey, somebody ran off my painting, but you know, you’re not likely to have any video of it happening in big crowds, it’s gonna be hard to, to do much about it. And so, you know, you just have to, you have to build these things in you know, I have a friend that used to be in the software business. And he worked for one of the big software companies back when you know, software, you’d buy it in a box, and he said, you know, we built in theft into our pricing. So we, we knew that, you know, 10% or 20%, or whatever of our stuff was going to be stolen and copied. And, so we just built that into our cost. And so that’s how they dealt with it, but you’re gonna you know, first thing called the police Now, also there is a thing called the art loss register. Now, that’s more about museum quality paintings that have been stolen from things like, you know, great museums and so on are collections. They and paintings always, almost always show up. And as a result when they show up, you know, a dealer, if it goes to art loss register, he says, You know, I got this painting for sale, I want to make sure it’s not stolen, you go through there and say, Oh, there it is. So I don’t know that they would do that for contemporary artists. And it would probably depend on the quality and the reputation of the artist and the value of the painting. You know, if it’s a big expensive painting, they might so I don’t know you probably We aren’t going to be able to make much progress on that unless you know more you have video or something like that. And then I think the other thing is, you know, it, it’s painful to have things stolen, I had a bunch of camera gear stolen at a, I was photographing at an event and I had all this stuff under the table when I wasn’t using it, and it disappeared, somebody saw me put it under there. Probably it was an inside job from the hotel or something. But anyway, you know it, you feel very violated, but not much at the end of the day, you might be able to turn it into your insurance company, if you have insurance on your paintings. And I don’t really know anything about that, quite frankly. But I think that’s something to think about. Anyway, that this was kind of an unusual or not a bad question. Just an unusual question for our marketing minute. Oh, by the way, here’s something else I would do. I would say, Alright, I just lost a $2,000 painting because it was stolen. How can I get $2,000 worth of value out of that? I would turn it into a promotion, I would look for a way to you know, talk it up, put it on social media, you know, run ads, you know this, this painting was stolen. If you know anything about it, contact the artist Eric Rhoads in and you know, it’s just a roundabout way to get people to look at your work and to see something and to go to your website. And you know, it’s going to create some buzz and some talk and so, to turn everything into an opportunity. That’s that’s about the best you can do. Anyway, that is the marketing minute.

Well, this has been the art marketing minute with me. Eric Rhoads. My goal in life is to eliminate the idea of starving artists to help your dreams actually come true. So if you want to submit questions, simply email [email protected]. And to learn more about marketing ideas, you can visit Thanks for listening.

How to Submit Your Art Marketing Questions: What questions do you have about selling your art? Email Eric today at [email protected] (include your name and where you’re from) to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.