That was dangerous of Scott to talk lowly about art even though he himself is an artist (or at least as per Wally's definition of what art is).
To me, it has never made any sense as to why more or less the same type of artwork from one person costs a hundred thousand times more than from other person. 'Taste' is not an acceptable answer here. :)
And yes, that's the truth about artists - hardly any achieve fame or recognition while they still have hair on their heads :D Look at the way the 'value' of their work appreciates after they are dead and gone!
@rufasto: If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound if there's no one there to hear it? Yes, it does. Wally's remark seems to be directed at the definition of art rather than at the worth of an art career. What is art? That's like asking What is the good? (Aristotle). What is art is strictly a matter of opinion. The same goes for what is good and "the good". Mortimer Adler would disagree, I know, but I don't care. He believed in absolutes. Your "bottomline" sentence reads like "It's on the tip of my tongue, but I can't formulate the idea". The idea of the strip is that what is art is strictly a matter of opinion (acknowledgment by others). It's also that many people are pretentious, especially folks like the "artist".
@magallenes: Being "doubtful about Van Gogh" is pretty presumptuous. If you don't know whether he was a great artist or even an artist at all, then you are merely admitting that you don't know whether you like his paintings, or even whether you should. That's pretty sad. It's all a matter of taste, after all. Unless you are the contemporary avatar of the Platonic form of "artist", all you are qualified to be doubtful about is your own opinion, which is no more significant than anyone else's -- except in certain circles, of course.