More experienced artists can command a higher rate than recent graduates, just as in other forms of employment; the tricky element in this is that there is no defined ‘career progression’ in the visual arts, so nothing to base an increase in rates on other than your increasing experience.

Every year you have more experience, so you could arguably raise your rates (fractionally) every year.  This needs to be balanced by ongoing relationships with organisations who may be put off by increasing rates – remember you can only negotiate your rate down, not up, so start a little higher than you would expect and work your way down during negotiations.

Some things to consider when thinking about your experience:

  • How long have you been practising as an artist?
  • Have you taken part in similar projects in the past?
  • Have you led projects, or administered them, or just been ‘employed’ to work on other’s projects?
  • What transferable skills do you have?  Transferable skills might be computer literacy. Administration, working in a team – general skills that can be used in a variety of contexts
  • Are you ‘recognised’ in the art world – have you had exhibitions, residencies, commissions or critical reviews?
This article is from the Artlaw Archive of Henry Lydiate's columns published in Art Monthly since 1976, and may contain out of date material.
The article is for information only, and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.
Readers should consult a solicitor for legal advice on specific matters. Artists can get free online legal information from Artquest.