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9 Quotes on Creativity from Kanye West's Oxford Lecture

Yeezy dropped some "real art" knowledge on a bunch of students today. Here's some of what he had to say.
March 2, 2015, 10:00pm
Kanye West at The Museum of Modern Art, New York City, May 10, 2011. Photo by Jason Persse, via

Kanye spoke at Oxford today and had a few words to say about "real art"—a subject he's an expert in as of late. Thanks to Twitter (#YeezOx) and The Tab we were able to pull together a few choice quotes on topics like classism, celebrity, and modern creativity:

On Ambition:

"My goal, if I was going to do art, fine art, would have been to become Picasso or greater."

On Motivation:

"I approach creativity like a sport, where if I have a drawing I react just like a jock: LOOK AT THE FUCKING DRAWING RIGHT THERE YEAH!"

On Collaboration:

"Chris Rock and everyone else at every single media publication called My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy the best album of the last 25 years. This only came through collaboration."

Kanye West on stage at London's O2 Arena in 2007. Photo by Daniele Dalledonne, via

On Craftsmanship:

“I’d see toys that some people would buy for my daughter and I’d say this toy isn’t quality. I don’t want my daughter playing with this. There’s not enough love put into this, this is just manufactured with the will to sell, and not the will of inspiration."

On Planning:

“Time is the only luxury. It’s the only thing you can’t get back. If you lose your luggage – I’m not gonna say the obvious brand of luggage that I’d normally say because I’ve got a meeting with them soon – if you lose your expensive luggage at the airport, you can get that back. You can’t get the time back."

On Criticism:

"People say I’ve got a bad reputation. I think I’ve got the best reputation in the building."

On Artists' Role in the Economy:

"I don’t want to diss anyone at the American Academy, I’m sure it’s equal to the Art Institute of Chicago by now, but at the time I was going I would look around at the work of the class and not feel inspired by the teachers, and I kinda, the idea of being a fine artist, that’s a really difficult profession to get into, to be respected in, to make money at."

I took a photo #sorrynotsorry #kanyewest

— Aled Jones (@AledR) March 2, 2015

On Universal Creativity:

“We’re all creatives here, we’re all born artists. Some people are artists of business, some people are artists of composition."

On Ego:

"I’m proud of the consistency of the performances I’ve done since I’ve been out here. And it comes from four would-be egomaniacs coming out and being forced to work together. The best lighting guy on the planet, the best staging guy, the best video guy, another staging guy, a guy with a laptop for no reason…To be able to deliver, back to back to back, extremely successful, inspiring, groundbreaking, visual, visceral, creative moments that otherwise would have been challenged."


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