One time long ago, a rich man decided he wanted a nice picture of a fish to hang on his wall. So he went to the most famous artist in all the land and asked him, “Will you paint me the most beautiful picture of a fish in the world?”
The artist said, “Of course! But it will be expensive, it will cost you 1,000,000 Rubles.”
The man said “I don’t care what it costs, just do it!”
The artist said, “Pay me in advance, and then come back in one year.”
So the man came back the next day, handed over all the money, then left to wait. He waited an entire year, through the summer, winter, spring and fall.
Then exactly a year later he returned to the artists home and knocked on the door. The artist answered the door and said “Come in.”
The man anxiously asked, “Is my fish ready? Did you do your best work?”
The artist replied, “Of course, sit here, I will have your fish ready in a moment.”
The man sat next to a long table. The artist left the room, then returned with a piece of paper, a brush, and a pot of paint. The artist then dipped the brush in the paint, and in one minute painted the most exquisite and most beautiful picture of a fish imaginable. “Here is your painting, sir.” The man was stunned- in more ways than one!
The man said “That certainly is a most beautiful picture- but it only took you a minute to paint! This is robbery! I won’t pay you a million rubles for a painting that takes you one minute!! This is absurd!”
The artist calmly put down his brush and said, “Come with me for a moment.” And led the man over to a large closet on the other side of the room. The artist opened the door and out fell thousands of pieces of paper with fish painted on them.
The moral of the story is what goes into the end product is HARDLY where the entire effort goes. You are not paying that artist for any one piece he or she has done. You are paying that artist for the years s/he spent honing his/her craft to bring it to the point where people want to buy it.
When we buy any service, be it from a lawyer, a plumber, an accountant, a tax consultant, or even yes, an artist, we’re buying not only that service, but the years of experience, practice, and education that comes with them. That’s why people with more experience, practice, and education can command higher prices.
So remember this story when you buy or sell artwork!