I loved that quote when I found it recently. I've always been a sucker for Vincent! Except for the ear thing, but we all lose our balance from time to time.
I'm fortunate to belong to two groups-- The Bead Art Originals team on Etsy and the Wearable Art Market on 1000 Markets-- made up of artists that stand firm on their right to be compensated for their time, energy and creativity.
Reading some comments on other boards and forums makes me wonder how much some artists value their own medium. How much have they spent on pieces of wearable art? How many pieces do they own?
Can you imagine a chef who doesn't like to eat? A painter whose walls are bare of art? A veterinarian without pets? A seamstress whose wardrobe comes from Wal-Mart? A potter who buys their place settings at the dollar store? A jeweler who doesn't love jewelry is kind of freaky. Either you love something or you don't.
If you love it you're willing to pay for it, right? As a lover of jewelry, it doesn't surprise me in the least that people are willing to pay hundreds, thousands and millions of dollars on pieces they love-- though the pieces they love may surprise me.
As a lover of jewelry it doesn't surprise me that aside from my car, (meaning including my laptop and digital camera) the most expensive material things that I own are pieces of jewelry-- even if they were purchased on servers wages.
I know that it takes guts to charge for more than the paint on the canvas. It also takes faith. And love.
When I started making jewelry I was shocked at the low prices of beads compared to the high prices some artists were charging for their work. I was even a bit disdainful of what I saw as price gouging.
Then I started buying nicer beads and better stringing materials and sturdier clasps and things made more sense. Then I started designing, instead of just stringing, and things made even more sense. Then I started this online venture and between cutting in the venue and Paypal and paying for advertising-- things became crystal clear. Then when I quit my job so that I could do what I loved, but still had bills to pay, I saw charging by the piece instead of by the bead as a necessity.
Even then, you worry about what the market will bear. Just because you've dropped x amount of money on a pair of earrings doesn't mean everyone will. Which is kind of key, because *everyone* is not your market. My market is people like me-- who love art, who love the history of art, who love wearing art and love the handmade. And who, like me, are willing to pay for it.
No, I'm not talking about you. No, I'm not telling you how to price your work. No, I'm not having a hard time selling my work.