Hidden talents revealed

WHILE the ‘crazy creative’ is a derogatory and outdated stereotype, in reality quite a number of eminent artists, musicians, writers and philosophers have experienced some form of brain disease, injury or psychological condition that enhanced their artistic ability.

And in some very rare cases, a medical event has unleashed previous unknown creative talent in certain individuals.

Some of the well known people affected include the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky and American painter Jackson Pollock, who both had suspected bipolar disorder. 

French cubist artist Georges Braque and poet Guillaume Apollinaire1 both suffered brain injuries in World War I that affected their creativity, and the French composer Maurice Ravel was believed to have developed frontotemporal dementia (FTD) (see box).1

Experts say there is good evidence to show some medical conditions can enhance creativity.