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Art-Deco 07-12-2015 11:54 PM

Price too high
I had a fellow who saw a notebook page sized vintage brass plaque on Ebay that had sold for about $400 and contacted me about it, at first it wasn't clear if he thought i had one or was making casts from it or what, after several exchanges I finally figure out he was asking about having one like it custom modeled.
So I told him what was involved, and that models usually take 20-30 hours to complete, and that I would probably want to make about twice that size. I told him I would make the model based on the photos, and provide two casts in interior cast-stone for $850 which is about half what I normally charge for this type of work.

He wrote back:


Quite honestly, that is a little too steep for me. I did not expect for it to be this high. With all do respect, for that price I can purchase a giant original deco sculpture, or even do a custom job for a giant bronze.
Oh boy! as soon as he used the words "giant" I knew he had been looking at that "bigbronze" site that imports cheap Chinese made monumental sized "bronzes" such as lifesized rearing equestrian pieces for prices like $1500 and the like.

So I wrote back describing all the processes and materials/time 20-30 hours involved to make a custom clay model from photos, the mold and time - a full day, and cost, and the casting and cost. I also said that a $1500 "bronze" lifesized rearing horse costs more than that for the metal alone, that it's actually scrap brass and old plumbing probably and certainly not true bronze.
Also, being made in China and the like, I told him that maybe the workers there don't mind working for $1.36 an hour, but I don't work that cheap.

I don't know what kind of "giant, original" art Deco sculpture he can get for $850, or what kind of "custom bronze" he can get for $850 either, but if he can get either one that cheap then have at it with my blessings!

I had another guy ask about 3 panels, they weigh about 45# each and ship in wood crates for a total of $49, asking if I can "combine" shipping on them LOL
tell me how one "combines" something like that!

Andrew Werby 07-13-2015 03:13 PM

Re: Price too high
Yes; people in general have no idea what it takes to make something new from scratch; they seem confused when you tell them that's an entirely different thing from ordering an item that's already mass-produced. If it's a bronze, they think the main expense is the metal. Maybe the "makers movement" will get them making things themselves, and realizing what it takes.

Andrew Werby

raspero 07-13-2015 08:42 PM

Re: Price too high
It is generally considered that the greatest fault of communism is that there is no incentive to produce, but for me, what's even worse is that there are no rich people. Art needs rich people—art in all of its manifestations—painting and sculpture, music, dance, great automobiles, great architecture, fashion design. We need rich people to finance all of that wonderful stuff we want to make.

I don't even try to sell my stuff to wage slaves; I go where the rich people are. When I was young I lived in Fort Lauderdale. Back in the 1960's and '70's, just about every person on the East Coast who was rich enough that they didn't have to work would spend their winters in South Florida. What a picnic. Money was everywhere.


Art-Deco 07-13-2015 11:42 PM

Re: Price too high
For sure!

Almost as bad are the ones who write through either my web site contact or Ebay and after telling me how much they really like such and such and item or items and they want to order several, they ask if I can "combine" shipping.

Sculptures weighing up to 150# can't just be dumped into a box with several others, they aren't shirts or decks of cards you can cram several into a flat rate box and mail for $10. A recent one was interested in 3 pieces that weigh around 40# each but I normally ship those in wood crates individually, the crate adds around 25# so even if I were to put 2 of the sculptures in one crate the crate would have to be deeper to accomodate that, and then with a couple of 40# sculptures in it, it's already not only over 70# it's over 100# and that carries additional higher fees due to the weight being over 100#. That pretty much nixes any "savings" by doing that and 3 of these won't work in one big crate as it would be over the 150# limit, so it's still 2 crates- one twice the depth of the other instead of 3.

The $49 flat shipping on that often costs more just for the shipping charge, if, as is typical- the shipment is going to California.

Haven't heard back from that guy, it's been my experience that when people start off with glowing emails about how fantastic the items they see are and how they want to order several followed by the inevitable "can you combine shipping?" question they never buy, it's almost predictable! You get the feeling you are being "primed" by the glowing comments and the fake "interested in severalpieces" which they hope will become a negotiation tool to get the price down.

I did recently supply several sculptures to a contractor of a building in Nashville that was restored, the roof had long caved in and trees growing up through the hole, this guy did a total job on it and is to lease the spaces out to a restaurant and another business.
Nothing exciting about the building, but he had to completely dismantle the brick facade to replace a corroded failing steel support beam, and one of the original sculptures was too damaged to fix so he replaced it with one of mine, added two more outside and several inside in the common area.

I tried to steer him towards Art Deco which is more in line with this building's contruction era but he wanted Victorian, no idea why he did purchase a second panel to install over the other window but...

raspero 07-14-2015 10:57 PM

Re: Price too high

I tried to steer him towards Art Deco which is more in line with this building's contruction era but he wanted Victorian,
Developers and real estate guys are typically building to appeal to the general public. The public in general considers Victorian design to be antique. If you put a Queen Anne dining table made in the early 18th century next to an Oak dining table made in 1905, the Queen Anne table looks almost modern even though it's two hundred years older. Art Deco is modern (modernism). Antique has been the rage since the 1960's. I can remember when I was a kid you couldn't give antiques away; everyone wanted new modern stuff.


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