On the unspoken value of Art

as revealed in Richard Pryor’s film Bustin’ Loose

A few weeks ago while sleepily watching a late night broadcast of Richard Pryor’s less-than-brilliant 1981 flick Bustin’ Loose I was surprised to be presented with a truth about Art. It struck me that Art is of tremendous, nay immeasurable, value to our society for a totally unintuitive reason.



It struck me while watching this scene just how valuable the subjectiveness of Art can be to those of us who are without any kind of useful skill, without talent, without passion, without goals, and ultimately without anything tangible to offer society.

Hm, touché.  I felt much the same way about grad school in the humanities.  But at least in art school you learn how to produce things that can be appreciated by someone who didn’t go to art school.

I guess what I’m saying is:  it could be worse, you could be a writer!

posted on 05.04 at 10:40 AMScott PM


Heh. I *am* an artist, actually, but I don’t ever talk about it in a tortured, suffering voice. It’s just part of who I am, like my hair and eye color. I even get paid for it sometimes. (Graphic art, natch. Which is looked down upon by artistes.)

The problem comes because I work in photography. If I say “I’m an artist,” people assume I’m being pretentious about taking student pictures.

What’s even worse is that my non-graphic art is entirely (gasp) representational fantasy art. Quelle horreur. “That’s not art!” Yeah. Uh huh. I think if people have bought my art to hang on their walls, that counts.

My God. I just realized that people have MY art hanging on THEIR walls. That’s so freaking bizarre…

posted on 05.04 at 09:58 PMB. Durbin


@ Scott- “...you could be a writer!” Double touché. Truth be told Scott one of my regrets about art school is the feeling that I was not “taught” much of anything. I learned a lot, hard not to as a young guy set loose for the first time in the belly of New York City, but the nitty-gritty of learning about Art was more a result if “atmospheric conditions” so to speak, than tutelage. At least that was my experience. I could have gone to RISD and actually learned something I guess, hindsight and all.

I’ve always been of the opinion, perhaps a misguided one, that “bad writing” was much easier to identify than “bad art.” Always assumed that fact alone would make it harder to delude yourself were you without talent. Course, the content of the best-seller lists being what they are…

@ B.D.- I *am* an artist as well. No bones about it. Not much else I can call myself at this point.

And just to be clear dear readers, I was not referring to myself in this post. I went to art school and I’m a genius…

Well, not really, but that’s the beauty of Art’s subjectivity, and essentially my point. No one who considers themselves an artist will recognize themselves in this post. If it resonates at all it will be in terms of someone else.

And of course I was being overly dramatic for added effect. That’s what I do. But I will say when I was in art school I looked around me and saw scores of people who didn’t even know why they were there. People who were not very talented and seemed to have chosen art school because they didn’t know what else to do with themselves. Perhaps they looked at me and thought the same thing.

posted on 05.05 at 11:28 AMjmorrison


Hell, that’s why I’m majoring in graphic design.  I’m a decent artist, but I suck at everything else, so I figured I might as well learn to use it - it’s the only talent I’ve got.

posted on 05.05 at 05:19 PM.

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