If You Get Asked This Question, Don't Answer It

The question? "How long did it take you to paint that?
It is a loaded question and artists by and large don’t like it as it not only puts them on the spot it reduces the painting experience to a task with a time limit

A truthful answer will result in the prospective buyer taking the price of the work and dividing it by the number of hours it took to paint…so an experienced artist selling a painting for $6000 that took three hours to paint, will get this aghast response, “You make $2000 an hour”? …and by the look in their eyes you know they have now assessed your annual income..

It would be extremely difficult, not to mention time consuming, to explain years of training, practice, cost of materials, shipping, framing, gallery fees, taxes, studio costs, and maybe the 25 years or so it took to be able to do a painting in three hours, never mind the money spent educating yourself and perfecting your craft…
That twenty five years you earned next to nothing…that if you took the $6000 and spread it out over all those costs, you would end up with a heap of peanuts
..

So how should you answer?
It’s simple… you don’t….if they are persistent, tell them that it is difficult to really say how long a painting takes, as in effect it takes a lifetime of practice to perfect your craft, that you might carry an image in your head for weeks before you even commit the idea to paper in the form of a sketch, you might jot ideas down for months, make colour choices on sketch paper etc. etc…
By all means talk about what inspires you, how you want to connect with your viewers, your passion, your dedication…in other words take the entire question to a totally different level
..

Bottom line: be truthful about your art, if the painting costs $100.00, they’re going to wonder why it took you so long to paint it, but you don’t need to share each and every detail about the creative process

How do you handle questions of this nature?

Journal Comments

  • evon ski
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