That’s the question every early stage artist wants to know the answer to and this book by Magnus Resch has lots of practical tips on how to get there. I’ve read many books that offer lots of handy tips but this is the first to back it up with data.
Every time Resch makes a point there’s statistics and case studies to back it up. Thankfully they are also accessible so it never feels like you need to be particularly numerate to absorb all the data to take advantage of this book. Though artists will want their highlighters handy as there’s lots they should be taking note of.
Some of the stats are worrying showing that the average female artist in Berlin has an annual income of $10,000 and that less than 20% of artists will find gallery representation. But that’s just the set up before he launches into how to become successful — advocating an entrepreneurial approach that I support, and that is shamefully still not taught at many art schools.
Magnus Resch is also a strong advocate of the ‘it’s who you know’ approach and that it’s the artists who get into the right circles who succeed, heat maps in the book show how the likes of Gagosian, Pace and Hauser & Wirth are linked to the big art institutions like MoMA and the Guggenheim. He also shows the right way to network and build contacts — not the unsolicited approach that a lot of artists try and fail at. Resch also walks the walk as he’s built Larry’s List, a website that contains a database of all the major art collectors.
It’s worth noting this book has a New York focus, though he does have the stats to back up that it’s the place to be, with Berlin and London as other important art hubs. It’s also a book focussed on getting artists to the stage of showing with mega-galleries and museums, though most of the tips will apply to artists who aren’t interested in being art superstars either.
The second half contains practical tips on lots of important factors artists need to know about such as hosting studio visits, pricing work, managing social media and negotiating contract agreements with galleries. Now Magnus Resch admits early on that he doesn’t have all the answers and he can’t guarantee success but this book sets out the steps to how you can increase your odds of being successful. There’s no magic wand to make you into a successful artist but my reading suggests this book comes pretty close.
How to become a successful artist by Magnus Resch is available for pre-order.