Who You Know

Cassandra Tondro, "Spirit Over Matter," contemporary art

Hi Friends,

A recent study by Paul Ingram and Mitali Banerjee found that who you know is more important than talent when it comes to artistic fame. This is something we’ve long suspected, right? If you’re like me, you’ve probably wondered how some of the art in blue chip galleries and museums made it there. Here are the key takeaways from the report:

  • Greater creativity does not translate into an increased level of fame.
  • Fame correlates statistically to the diversity of your personal and professional networks; it is based on the company you keep, not your product.
  • By extension, who you know informs how people see you. The more cosmopolitan your networks, the more creative people perceive you to be, legitimizing you as an innovator and yielding more widespread fame.

The researchers found that there was no statistical support for the relationship between an artist’s creativity and the fame they ultimately achieved.

Those individuals who possessed a diverse set of personal friends and professional contacts from different industries were statistically more likely to become famous.

In other words, talent and creativity aren’t linked to artistic fame. It’s who you know! Perhaps we should spend more time networking and less time in the studio. What do you think?

How has who you know influenced your career? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,

Painting at top: “Spirit Over Matter,” 30 x 30 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas with UV protective varnish



  1. You need to be born a genius to recognize your own talent. Vivaldi and Bach created their works in solitude only for themselves and their conscience.

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