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Gurney (my hopefully last statement on this)
Ok now my comments, and I hope they will be the last to the list.
I was unable to respond in detail to the last shot from Varner because I
was out the door to be with my mom during Thanksgiving. I hope all had a
good one, at least those in the states who follow it.
Now as to Daspletosaurus. I would like to point out that Gurney's
Giganotosaurus is as much derived from his own Trex in the original
Dinotopia book as it is Trcic's wonderful Daspletosaurus. I don't know the
exact date of Dasp but I believe it was around 1993 or 1994 at the
earliest because he did it in association with work on JP. Gurney's Trex
was done in 1990 or 1991 and certainly could have served as some,
perhaps small inspiration for Mike's Dasp, although the latter is one of the
best theropod sculptures I've ever seen and certainly kicks out into
sublime territory for dino sculpture. Paul Sorton has a Trex that is also in
that territory. The point here is that Gurney has been illustrating
theropods in various active postures for a long time and this posture is
well within his grasp and is anticipated to some degree by his earlier
Trex. Did the Trcic inspire Gig, I suspect. It sure would me. I also see a
whole bunch of inspiration in almost all current theropod paintings from
Bakker's classic Deinonychus and Greg Paul's early theropod stuff.
Speaking of Greg, who is a massive inspiration to most, to many much
more than Gurney, I know Brian has been tremendously influenced by
Greg's stuff. There is a painting in the official 1996 Brian Franczak
calendar of Chasmosaurus that is obviously REALLY inspired by Greg
Paul's 1977 Pentaceratops painting (also in the Bruce Museum catalog),
to the point of having very similar color patterns on the shield. Is Brian
guilty of plagerism? No, he took inspiration from GP's painting I'm sure but
he built on it and his is a much better painting. I just thought Brian was
doing his job - researching until he found the combination of features he
was looking for in his head and then used his considerable talents to
paint something. Wish I had it on my wall. The postures of a couple are
similar, although the posture in Brian's is better developed. So what? It's
an early GP and later ones of his would be far more painterly. This is the
painting of ceratopsians that gave many of us a first idea of what they
really looked like - even if I still think the front legs are too straight.
There's lots of other direct influence I see in Brian's work from GP. SO
WHAT? Brian is a great artist and some of his most recent stuff seems to
be the best or among it. It's always wonderful to see anartist improve
with time. Gives us old fogies hope. His Stygimoloch is one of the best
reconstructions ever done. And, as I've said, I am proud to have his
I have not seen much of Varner's stuff but have very much enjoyed
what I have seen. I would like to see more. I suspect there are a number
of strong influences going on there but that is the norm. The one I saw
most recently on the web is lovely and indeed a nice perspective view -
sort of underwater what Gurche frequently tries to do with dinos. I don't
think DV does not paint in a vacuum, however, nor does anyone else.
My point is that there is lots of borrowing and building going on here. I
don't know why there was such volitility on behalf of Trcic when he
doesn't really need others to speak for him. I'll be happy to hear from him.
That's not to say you should not criticize Gurney if you feel the need and
it is in your opinion to do so. Such is life and we all get better from it,
especially if it is constructive.
However, I did strongly reject any suggestion that Jim did not do
research for his stuff and there are plenty of paleontologists to back me
up on that. That was a falsehood that needed correction and I hope I
have done that. You can complain about what he does with the research
but it is a lie to suggest he doesn't do it.
I also argue that whatever the influences, plagerism is not the proper
word here and it carries with it legaliistic implications that, given a less
nice recipient, could very well open up the board for lots of other
legalistic verbiage, especially when it comes with potentially competing
artists. I think given other data and context, it will be apparent as too far
to most or all. For criticism it is open season. For more heavy verbiage, it
is not an appropriate thing. If all there was was criticism, I would have
never said anything given my current work load.
I hope I have been clear about my admiration for the artistry of Brian and
Daniel. Hope to see more of the latter, have seen almost all of the former.
I don't want any question that this is any negative towards the product of
these two. I have sent people to Brian in the past who wanted
recommendations. Don't know if they worked, but never asked and can't
remember them past a week or so.
I will also acknowledge that heat of the moment caused myself - and
others - to be more severe than we had to be. Like it or not, Gurney is
great for paleontology and will, in the long run, generate more demand
for the art of the rest of the artists. I hope the olive branch is clear and
hope we can all just get along. I hope also that that is as far as we need
TTFN - Ralph Chapman