Have you ever experienced this??

Someone asks you what you do and when you say ‘Artist’, they then ask if you can create art for the local society or other worthy cause – free of charge of course!!!

Or, someone likes your art and you give them the price and they then offer you half of what you say??

In this blog, I talk about why people devalue art and if you want to know what you can do about it, tune into E70 of the Your Art Matters podcast

This conversation came from a post we shared, that said – “yes, I am an artist and I have bills to pay just like you and everyone else, so no I won’t work for free”.

Giles asked why this happens and I thought it was a great question.

There is no one reason why this happens so I’ll talk about the three main reasons below.

Learnt behaviour 

A lot of this comes from learnt behaviour. If you look back in art history, at has always been for the elite. You made it as an artist because you had connections. You had to be very well educated and all these things had brought us to the belief that it is impossible for anyone to become an artist. 

You then had the Bahamians who made art for art’s sake, not for the money. This then created a ripple effect of starving artists. People believed if you wanted to be an artist, you’ve had to sacrifice a lot.

I really think all of these thoughts and beliefs from historic times have filtered through. I remember when I was a child at school, approaching the age of deciding what I’d like to be doing with my life, being an artist was never an option. It’s crazy! 

Not understanding

The second reason I believe that people will often devalue art is because they simply don’t understand what it takes. Some people will come across a piece of your art, love it and want it but they just don’t get it. 

You’ll give them a price and they will haggle. People will often haggle as they want to feel like they are getting a good deal. However, the value of the item gets lost along the way. When you let someone haggle and knock something off the price, you are showing them that they didn’t need to pay the original price. It’s devaluing the work you’ve done. 


A lot of this is a cultural thing. I personally don’t think you should haggle or negotiate. There’s always a time and a place. There are lots of artists that like to be flexible in their pricing. They like to offer discounts. That’s absolutely fine if it works for you. 

I’d much prefer to offer more value. If somebody can’t afford something that I’ve priced, that will offer something of a lower cost that fits their budget. But I never devalue the offer that I have priced up. As I say, that’s just me. This rule might not always fit.

Set yourself boundaries with your pricing and give yourself a haggle strategy so you are never losing out for the art you create.


I really hope this helps you understand the key reasons why I think people devalue art. If you want to hear more on this and find what you can do to add more value, how to learn to say no and how to handle negotiating, watch the video above or listen to the podcast episode.