I can think of a zillion places where I’ve heard some variation on this theme, but here are some off the top of my head.
- That book about Dostoevsky where they said a shoemaker was more useful than Pushkin
- That two-part TV movie where Houdini tells the doctor that he used to think of being a doctor, and the doctor goes, ‘Why?’ ‘Because you do something useful (or something like that).’ And the doctor goes ‘But I take my family to see you, and I see the smiles you bring to people’s faces…’
- That movie where the ‘boy with the horse and a stick’ told the ‘girl with the flower’ that ‘you can’t eat a flower, a flower doesn’t keep you warm, a flower is good for nothing’. (Okay that wasn’t about art, really, but, substitute ‘flower’ for ‘art’ ^^)
- That other movie about the consumptive pianist and the aggressive authoress where the Duke told his wife that artists were ‘a gang of parasites’
- That other book where there was a war, and the blacksmith made weapons, the weaver made warm cloaks for the soldiers, and the potter made pretty jars
I also remember seeing a link to a blog post or an article over at my art class classroom where, I’m not sure if it was also by an artist? But the article was questioning like, what good are artists to society, anyway?
Well anyway, full disclosure time: This post comes on the heels of that survey that seemed to cause quite a stir in the country it came out in, which isn’t mine but isn’t that far away. Or well it is pretty far away if you think in terms of how much richer that country is, eheheh.
But maybe not so very far away from the way a lot of us back here also regard art as pretty much useless unless you make a whole lot of money with it. It’s that whole, how your parents freak out when they find out you want to be a painter instead of a doctor or a lawyer or the CEO of some mega corporation-thing. You know the one ^_^
Or well, it isn’t just back here in my neck of the worldwide woods, either—I read once about how this other artist in the US, I think? Said that when people ask her what she does for a living and she says ‘I’m an artist’, people go, ‘Oh…’ (As in ‘Oh dear’.) But when she went to Paris, she would be like ‘I’m an artist’ and they’d be like, ‘Oh, that’s wonderful!’