UNDERGROUNDIs art only valuable if its pragmatic?

Something was clogging the bathroom sink. I fished out another note from the Creative Underground. The paper was rolled up in a small plastic baggie. Are they in my house?!…. no. It came from the sewers! The note reads:


Dear Mr. Nick;

PRAGMATIC (Google Definition #3); – adj.- “Dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.”

You might have heard it said by – THE MAN – that you’re only a true artist once you’ve sold a work of art. The same thing could be said another way – how do you justify an act as self-indulgent & impractical as ART MAKING? – Make money from it! They say, at least make your art – PRAGMATIC.

Disclaimer – pragmatism & money are not bad. By all means, generate creative solutions that are valuable to our community! But the Creative Underground is here to warn you; It should not be a requirement for your art to immediately have utility in the community. We can provide some very simple proof of this.

Would you tell a child making art is a waste of time? No. – Why? – Healthy Development? Sure. But also, because we get the sense that acts of creativity are valuable in more ways than if you can make money. Children play and imagine for no-other reason than to play and imagine. The act in itself is valuable.

Consider, was it sheer pragmatism that birthed us the magnificent, cultural contributions of; Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Marvel? To devote such time and risk so much life on imaginary worlds is not pragmatic. Should they have served their community instead of writing? Was their work selfish until it became commercially valuable?

So then, the question remains. “What makes creativity valuable, if not pragmatism?” ……You will not believe us if we told you. You’ll brush us off like a deranged street person when we say it. – Ready? – What makes something truly creative – is……YOU. – You are walking creativity.


The Creative Underground.