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Re: Jim Gurney



I would urge readers to consider this issue from both sides.  As I stated,
James Gurney is very talented and produces works of art which benefit
considerably from his imagination and painterly polish.  I do not intend to
bash him or his art.  I really enjoy looking at his work.

When I suggest that this artist is efficient in his technique, and that
some of his dinosaurs were apparently based on the sculptures of other
paleoartists, I do not mean to malign him or his works.  He has also
clearly been influenced by other painters, architects, and who knows what? 
How else could a painter, with only so many hours in a day, produce the
_Dinotopia_ books?  How could you describe him as having been anything but
prodigious?  Concerns over being completely original in the restoration of
every dinosaur could have scuttled these projects; he might never have
finished them!

These books, which he also authored, show whole worlds that are loaded with
fantastic images that weave a rich tapestry of cultures, architecture,
technology, landscapes, and prehistoric flora and fauna.  In sum, he has
created a unique vision, and it is this vision that has so delighted the
eyes of his legion of readers.  He has to have had influences; such a
profusion of mindboggling imagery cannot be produced in a vacuum.  It seems
to me that by apparently borrowing the look of some of his dinosaur
paintings from preexisting sculptures, and absorbing influences of all
kinds, he has been able to manifest his creative expression, and that,
allowing for his borrowings, he has used his unique personal style to make
them his own.  The history of art is replete with borrowings of one kind or
another.  Some will view this as theft; to others it is a cross-pollination
or even a tribute.    

I am also well aware that James Gurney has sculpted original clay models
for some of his works, and that he consulted with seven paleontologists
when he created the "World of Dinosaurs" stamp paintings.  So it is evident
that he does research his subjects, and that he can create his own designs
from scratch if he chooses to.

In my opinion, he is a definite talent, and arguably one of the most
successful dinosaur artists of our time, and I applaud his unique gifts. 
But I also feel thankful for those less well-known (and less
well-compensated) artists whose works have helped to inform our view of
prehistoric life.  

Ralph Miller III <gbabcock@best.com>