An Oxbridge education and artistic creativity Watch

MizzPoly
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Do you think being academically successful and being artistically creative are mutually exclusive? It seems you don't often see great designers having been academic superstars in their growing up years.

I feel pre-emptively ashamed of my own academic prowess, as if I have to explain for it, or tuck it out of sight because being booksmart is not only irrelevant in the art and design world, it's seen as a hindrance. In other words, being too analytical and logical (i.e. left-brain oriented), key traits required for success in academics, gets in the way of the creative process.

This is my personal observation.

And it needs to be said, I'm sure there are the handful of Oxbridge graduates who have gone on to have 'successful' careeres in the arts field, particularly actors like Hugh Laurie, Kate Beckinsale, Thandie Newton to name a few. But I'm sorry. I don't think they're that stellar at their craft. This is the key here: they are successful actors despite their education. Their abilities as actors has almost nothing to do with their academic abilities. (And please don't bring up Natalie Portman as an exception. She only won that Oscar because of weak competition that year).

I am torn because I already know my life's aim is to be an artist of some type or working in some type of a creative role. But there is a part of me that's just plain bookish and geeky and love to analyze and read about academic topics that interest me.

Sorry, I'm just having another of my days where I feel ambivalent about everything in my life.
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MizzPoly
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^^ Reading over what I wrote, I make it sound like I'm super brilliant or something. That's not what I meant! All in all, it may be a blessing in disguise because it takes some off the pressure off. If I don't make it into Oxbridge, I'll happily go off to art school.
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doivid
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There will be some who are both academically successful and artistically creative, some who are one or the other, and some who are neither.
They aren't mutually exclusive.
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God_X
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Everyone who goes to Oxbridge is a Tory toff who has nothing better to do but act condescendingly towards the riff raff in their free time (always). None of them are creative, except in finding ways to claim expenses from the tax payer.
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cambio wechsel
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You have a very narrow understanding of 'the arts' and 'creativity'. I'd start listing Oxbridge educated novelists and poets or post pictures of Coleridge and Marlowe and Wilde except I cannot be bothered.
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faber niger
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People who are academic, almost by definition, often don't spend a lot of time on creative tasks -- they spend their time working on academic subjects. That doesn't mean, however, that if you were to get a degree in an academic subject and then focus on creative endeavours, you couldn't be very successful.

(Original post by God_X)
Everyone who goes to Oxbridge is a Tory toff who has nothing better to do but act condescendingly towards the riff raff in their free time (always). None of them are creative, except in finding ways to claim expenses from the tax payer.
That's not quite true. During the Cold War, Oxbridge had rather a lot of Soviet sympathisers. Most students there today came from state schools. And I don't believe that it's possible to claim expenses at any university.

It would be just as unthinking to suggest that everyone on a council estate is an overbreeding layabout.
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Spungo
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(Original post by God_X)
Everyone who goes to Oxbridge is a Tory toff who has nothing better to do but act condescendingly towards the riff raff in their free time (always). None of them are creative, except in finding ways to claim expenses from the tax payer.
:facepalm2:

(Original post by MizzPoly)
...
I wouldn't say they are genetically linked, however, devoting most of your time to academic work may indirectly affect your creativity. It's certainly not an either/or situation though, there are many people who can do both, or neither.

I'm intrigued as to why you limited it purely to oxbridge educated people though, academia does not exist solely through two universities.
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God_X
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(Original post by jismith1989)
everyone on a council estate is an overbreeding layabout.
That's true, though. They all scrounge on benefits to the utter disgust of the rest of us hard working people. If they can't be bothered to go and find a job, they don't deserve to live.
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faber niger
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(Original post by God_X)
That's true, though. They all scrounge on benefits to the utter disgust of the rest of us hard working people. If they can't be bothered to go and find a job, they don't deserve to live.
That's a debate for another day/thread; all I can say is that the statistics show that most people on council estates work and that my personal experience reaffirms this.
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TurboCretin
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How about the plethora of British comedians which have been spat out of Oxford and Cambridge? Artistic creativity isn't limited to drawing stuff.
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Eccle1993
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I do understand what you mean, but in my opinion, there are many similarities between the creative process in both art and literature, and when you look at the number of great writers produced by Oxbridge, I wouldn't worry. Many artists are intellectual, they just choose to devote their time to art. I know many people dislike him hugely, but I love the sculptor Antony Gormley, and he studied at Cambridge. And - CLICHE - Da Vinci excelled in art, science, everything really - maybe the lines between the disciplines are where you draw them?

Oooh, unintentional pun. And isn't there a fine art course at Oxbridge? My teacher's neice studied that and she now has some kind of amazing job designing medieval sets or something . . .
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MizzPoly
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(Original post by cambio wechsel)
You have a very narrow understanding of 'the arts' and 'creativity'. I'd start listing Oxbridge educated novelists and poets or post pictures of Coleridge and Marlowe and Wilde except I cannot be bothered.
Well, all right, if the theory holds true that all Oxbridge grads are the brightest of their peers, then why isn't the greatest majority of today's artists and writers also Oxbridge educated or something equivalent?

You can say there's a lot more to attaining worldy success than just being academically intelligent. You need a whole slew of other qualities: ambition, business savvy, persistence, courage, and a little luck.

Or maybe society has been dumbed down so much and overwhelmed by pop culture, there is a lack of widespread appreciation for an intelligent voice. Perhaps they're admired but not really understood by the general public. It's books like Twilight that people flock to buy, not the latest Pulitzer or Nobel prize-winning book.
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MizzPoly
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(Original post by Spungo)
:facepalm2:



I wouldn't say they are genetically linked, however, devoting most of your time to academic work may indirectly affect your creativity. It's certainly not an either/or situation though, there are many people who can do both, or neither.

I'm intrigued as to why you limited it purely to oxbridge educated people though, academia does not exist solely through two universities.
Because Oxbridge is famed for being very selective and getting in is the pinnacle of academic achievement in most people's eyes. So they're the best representatives of the point I'm trying to make.
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MizzPoly
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(Original post by doivid)
There will be some who are both academically successful and artistically creative, some who are one or the other, and some who are neither.
They aren't mutually exclusive.
Yes, I think that's a fair answer. There are people that are multi-talented, and that's the end of it.

Edited to add that I think a lot of my angst has to do with NOT wanting to be left-brained. I have a deep appreciation for the fine arts, music, and the theatre and I wish I wasn't so perfectionistic and systematic when it comes to my art-making process. It does get in the way. It makes people think I'm dull-minded and un-creative.
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Bobifier
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Perhaps those who plan to be artistically succesful don't do degrees? Academics are useless to a concert pianist.
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oOHollyOo
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OP you sound a bit full of yourself.

You have just made this thread to say "ooh look at me, I am so clever and so creative!" but in fact there are lots of people like that. It is really not as unusual as you think. Not sure what your "beef" is with Natalie Portman either :P
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MizzPoly
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(Original post by oOHollyOo)
OP you sound a bit full of yourself.

You have just made this thread to say "ooh look at me, I am so clever and so creative!" but in fact there are lots of people like that. It is really not as unusual as you think. Not sure what your "beef" is with Natalie Portman either :P
LOL, I am so not the person you paint me as.

And the person above me who brought up various 17th and 19th century writers should realize that back then the only acceptable place of higher learning for a well-read young person WAS Oxbridge. Their having a degree from there doesn't actually address my question.
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MizzPoly
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(Original post by Bobifier)
Perhaps those who plan to be artistically succesful don't do degrees? Academics are useless to a concert pianist.
Oh I would love to be a concert pianist or play at their level, but I have too many interests that I can't put down. Music and fine art are my first loves, but I know I'd never feel truly fulfilled if I weren't able to indulge in all of my interests at any given time.
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francescafrancesca
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Erm.. Leonardo da Vinci?
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hobnob
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You're a little bored, aren't you?
(Original post by MizzPoly)
Well, all right, if the theory holds true that all Oxbridge grads are the brightest of their peers, then why isn't the greatest majority of today's artists and writers also Oxbridge educated or something equivalent?
Because 1. a university education is only one route to becoming an artist or a writer, and probably not the standard one, 2. there's no reason to assume that an Oxford or Cambridge degree is a particularly good preparation for becoming an artist or a writer because that isn't what they're intended for (and this holds true for the vast majority of university degrees) and 3. Oxbridge graduates who have go on to become artists and writers didn't become writers because of the universities they attended, and neither did they choose their university in order to become writers and artists, because that would have been a pretty stupid strategy.
Surely all of this is obvious?
Or maybe society has been dumbed down so much and overwhelmed by pop culture, there is a lack of widespread appreciation for an intelligent voice. Perhaps they're admired but not really understood by the general public. It's books like Twilight that people flock to buy, not the latest Pulitzer or Nobel prize-winning book.
Alas and alack! What is to become of us all?:rolleyes:
Come on, you know perfectly well that this is a straw man you're fighting there. Those prizes were never meant to be awarded to books aimed at a wider audience. So it's hardly surprising that people don't 'flock to buy them'.

But I'm sure you know all this and you really were just a bit bored when you posted this thread.
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