Now let’s get an understanding about Domestic Fine Art:

First of all, American artists cannot compete with the prices of “Discount” art, but we can compete in the quality of art and materials, the creativity, and the personal interaction from customer to artist and long term investment value.

Each American artist that you see selling more than 20 pieces of their work represents a small BUSINESS that needs your support. Many artists invested time and money getting a formal art education from professionals to enrich their craft. Many self taught artists have invested time, research and money to learn their craft. Both kinds of artists have invested money in their materials, and presentation. At art fairs, artists pay an up front fee from $50.00 to $3,000.00 to have a 10 ft. x 10 ft. space or tent.  Each artist must invest their own money on marketing, and mailings, shipping, transportation, set up materials, inventory of prints and frames for the pieces on display. If you have had anything framed lately, you understand how expensive framing can be as most artists are not framers! Artists must also invest their time for setting up their space and manning their own booth from beginning of the day to end of the day for however long the fair runs. Artists are available to interact directly with the public allowing you to find out the inspiration and meaning of the piece you have chosen.

Most galleries that show an artists work take a 50% charge of the selling price directly from the artist if the work sells. Many alternative spaces such as restaurants, coffee shops, real estate openings take a 30% fee from the artist if art sells. And you must not forget that many of the artists you see are local and live in America. Many have families, pay taxes and deal with the same rising living expenses that the majority of Americans experience just like you. It is a viable vocation as important as any other vocation in the business world. Art carries culture and we would have no record of our history without it. We would not know about Cave life, Native American history, Egyptian history, Mayan history and many other cultures and historical events. Artists have carved information since the beginning of time.

Now I ask you, dear buying American public, the next time you approach an artist at an event, please have some respect and recognize that you are looking at a serious BUSINESS of original works by one individual that has their life invested in their craft. Each finished piece has the cumulative time of all of an artist’s life and experience to reach this point. Each piece was created, most of the time, by a single individual. Each artist has brought into existence something that you cannot do and if the piece you have chosen makes your heart sing, then it is a worthy investment to enjoy. It can even be handed down to your heirs. It is worth the asking price and the value can only appreciate.

Recognition is now yours to choose between “Discount” art from imports, which is OK… if that serves your purpose, or you can choose “Domestic Fine Art” directly from the artist or a reputable gallery or museum. So instead of trying to bargain the price down, ask about a layaway plan to make payments easier for your budget. Now you are able to understand the cost involved in the artworks creation and the serious quality of your investment. I sincerely hope this helps to answer many questions as to why some art seems to be expensive. Just remember that old saying, “You get what you pay for”. For all of you that have purchased and continue to purchase and invest from American fine artists, I personally thank you for supporting each small BUSINESS.


Marcella is a visual artist that made a leap of faith in 1995 and took an early retirement from a successful elementary teaching career of 27 years. She and her husband moved from California to the Atlanta area to continue as a full time artist. She has a formal education in the arts, and has been a creative visual artist for over 40 years.

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