Most Admired Creative People

I’ve been writing a thing about Creative Collaboration – it’s a subject I’ve spoken about a lot and I often assert that all creative work is dependent on more than one person and that nobody does amazing creative work on their own – we just have a habit of ascribing genius to individuals because, well, individualism. See I’m never going to do a PhD 🙂

Anyway, it made me think yesterday when I wrote the following:
“Think of your favourite creative person, the odds are that you can quickly see that they required collaborators in one form or another even if those ‘others’ are not normally credited, whether it was a supportive spouse or life partner, a teacher, a muse, a tireless editor or a creative partner who brought something to the work that one person couldn’t achieve alone.”

And I thought, “I wonder who people would think of as their favourite creative person.”

And so I asked my Facebook friends

“Which creative person do you most admire or envy? All disciplines. All of history. Go!”

and they told me.

There were a few names that came up more than once:

Leonardo da Vinci x3
Pablo Picasso x3

Frida Kahlo x2
Miles Davis x2
Patti Smith x2

Here are the others in lazy alphabetical order of their first name (some of them only have one name!) There’s at least one married couple in there and more than a couple who are well known for not getting on very well. I haven’t counted how many are dead and how many alive. Some are characters from creative works themselves. A quick scan suggests they are mostly musicians, painters and writers, but there’s also a footballer, a chef and a carpenter. I might go back and look at the gender split – how many women chose men and how many chose women and vice versa.

I’d be surprised if you knew them all, I certainly didn’t – but I’ve added wikipedia links to help us all rise out of ignorance.

Ada Lovelace
Alan Turing
Amanda Palmer
Anton Chekhov
Arthur Smith
Augustus Pugin
Bessie Smith
Billy Childish
Billy Wilder
Bob Dylan
Bob Marley
Charlie Brooker
Clive James
Cory Doctorow
David Bowie
Dennis Bergkamp
Dorothy Parker
Douglas Adams
Duke Ellington
Eddie Izzard
Edward Hopper
Frank Gehry
Frida Kahlo
Geoffrey Perkins
Georgia O’Keeffe
Gilbert & George
Guy Savoy
Harry Tuttle
Iggy Pop
Imogen Heap
Jack White
James Brown
Janis Joplin
Joe Strummer
John Coltrane
Joni Michell
Katharine Tynan
Ken Robinson
Leonard Cohen
Leonardo da Vinci
Louis CK
Marguerite Patten
Marina Abramovic
Michael Jackson
Miles Davis
Milton Glaser
Mitchell Baker
Neil Gaiman
Nickie Wildin
Oscar Wilde
Pablo Picasso
Patti Smith
Philomena Cunk
Richard Feynman
Samuel Beckett
Sandra Bernhard
Sir Harold Nicolson
Steve Jobs
Suzette Haden Elgin
Takeshi Kitano
Thomas Pynchon
Tom Tykwer
Tony Hart
Tony Sale
Virginia Woolf
Viv Albertine
William Blake
William Gibson
William Turner
Yuri Pysar

Oh and I was interested to see that people weren’t quick to go with “envy” rather than “admire”. I don’t think it’s very easy to admit to envy anywhere, even Facebook.

One thought on “Most Admired Creative People”

  1. I think it’s tricky for us to properly connect with the most creative people. I’ve been to France and Italy and experienced parts of Lenoardo’s life as a tourist. H e was a truly extraordinary creator. One I admire. His talents are so beyond me that envy would be lunatic.

    I know many people. you included, who are brae and go for it and sometime sfuck it up and sometimes nail it – in terms of trying to do new good things, or messy in the middle experimental things.

    It’s the people I know who have a good crack at being different, fresh and sincere that I admire. (But not (mostly) the self absorbed I’m so creative types)

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