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Re: GSP statement on use of my dinosaur restorations

If anyone wants to bring this conversation into public, I'll happily
give space on my blog for this discussion, either in the form of
interviews or guest posts. I also suggest pitching this as a
discussion topic at the next ScienceOnline conference - Glendon Mellow
has been moderating panels there for a few years about art and
science, so there's precedent for this sort of subject there. Many of
the big science bloggers (and scientist-bloggers) attend, and I
personally found the experience invaluable this year. This isn't a
web-only issue, but it's certainly part of the landscape the web is
changing so much. And if one of the legends of paleoart was part of
it, it would make a huge impact, I'm sure. Just something to consider,
another way to flesh things out. Pun intended.

If you want to check out my ScienceOnline coverage, find it with this
one simple link: http://chasmosaurs.blogspot.com/search/label/scio11

David Orr

Orogenic Design: http://www.davidorogenic.com
Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs: http://chasmosaurs.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/anatotitan

On Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 11:28 AM, Bob Tess <bobtess@dinoart.com> wrote:
> We have spoken with Greg a number of times and of course, we agree on a 
> number of aspects of this post.
> Specifically, since I wrote the Copyrights, Contracts, Pricing and Ethical 
> Guidelines for Dinosaur Artists and Paleontologists in 1996, some things in 
> the field have improved-in that dinosaur artists are, at least, charging for 
> use of their work- but we've gone backwards especially as regards reuse of 
> images - the fee has gone from $300 average per image to $50 per image, maybe 
> less. This is not "free money". Every reuse means an artist does not get paid 
> to produce an image.
> We have tried to organize to no avail.  Some of us, Greg included, who have 
> been in the field since the 70s and 80s, communicate on pricing so we 
> maintain the field of paleoart as an acceptable way to make a modest living. 
> And generally we have found that if a client wants the Greg Paul look they 
> don't come to Bob and Tess, or Mark Hallett or Mike Skrepnick or Doug 
> Henderson or John Gurche- they go to Greg.
> But now there are younger artists who perhaps haven't thought things through.
> For them I say a few things:
> 1. If you are outright copying Greg's work, you must stop. We all begin our 
> life restorations by examining the fossil evidence- building muscles on 
> drawings we've made and photographs we've taken of the bones. Our own 
> research, our own drawings, our own poses - just copying what Greg has done 
> is cheating. And you cannot really consider yourself a paleoartist if all you 
> do is put some brightly colored "clothes" on a GP model.
> 2. If you are charging too little for your work, perhaps because you have 
> another means of income, you need to think about it.
> Enlightened self-interest dictates that, while fulfillment of a short-term 
> goal like having your work reproduced is seductive, an artist is better 
> served for the rest of his/her career by making sure that the profession of 
> paleoart is valued. Advancing your career in a field that is poorly regarded 
> is sort of pointless, and it is possible to destroy an art market by allowing 
> standards to slip too low to make work worthwhile.
> The business of paleoart is tragically underpaid in general and problematic 
> in that it requires those of us who are serious to do every bit of research 
> paleontologists do to create our images but we have no institutional funding. 
> We might not be able to organize but we can communicate.  I applaud Greg for 
> bringing it to everyone's attention that this problem has resurfaced.
> Tess Kissinger
>> I am unfortunately going to have to issue a firm requirement regarding the
>> use of my artistic restorations for commercial purposes by other artists.
>> Since the late 1970s I have, of course, become known for being a leading
>> contributor to forming the “New Look” of dinosaurs. Most importantly,
>> starting around 1980, I began to build a uniquely extensive library of 
>> detailed
>> skeletal restorations that are exceptionally proportionally accurate in most
>> cases (exceptions including those that are composites within species whose
>> proportions are not well understood). Because I regularly contribute to the
>> peer reviewed literature, the accuracy of the restorations is unusually high.
>> Also of exceptional quality are the black muscle profiles (to be frank, most
>> solid black muscle profiles on others skeletal drawing indicate a rather low
>> knowledge of animal musculature: note that I did not invent the basic idea
>> of muscle profiles around skeletons). These skeletal restorations have
>> helped me develop what can be called the “Greg Paul look” of dinosaur
>> illustrations.
>> No other paleoartist has developed a skeletal library as extensive as mine.
>> This is one reason many other artists have utilized my widely published
>> skeletal restorations to help develop their own restorations. Often but not
>> always the result is that other’s work possesses the “Greg Paul look.”
>> Unfortunately, this is becoming an increasing problem.
>> There is intense pressure by producers of commercial projects and products,
>> including documentaries, to minimize their costs by compensating those who
>> design and illustrate dinosaurs as little as possible, to the degree that
>> the fees are below professional expert levels. My specific problem is that
>> some other artists who utilize my work as the basis to generate their art to 
>> a
>> significant degree are underbidding yours truly on a regular basis. I know
>> that my work is being used because I have received requests to access my
>> material by others to use on their projects. Making it worse is that it seems
>> that some product producers knowingly or unknowingly wish to utilize the GP
>> look, and are turning to lower priced artists to obtain it. This is entirely
>> inappropriate, so cease the practice. If you want the Greg Paul look for your
>> project send me an email or leave a phone message.
>> If not for these issues I would not mind others using my work on a regular
>> basis. But the competition from others using my work has gotten so out of
>> hand that I am going to have to regretfully require that other artists either
>> stop using my materials as source material and do entirely original
>> restorations from beginning to end, or make arrangements to provide 
>> compensation if
>> they do so when engaging in commercial projects. (Such an arrangement is
>> similar to song writers receiving compensation when their creative products 
>> are
>> covered by other artists). For example, the restorations in The Princeton
>> Field Guide to Dinosaurs are copyrighted, and I note in the text that anyone
>> who wishes to utilize them for commercial purposes needs to first contact
>> me.
>> On more general terms there is a basic problem that many artists are
>> accepting unacceptably low payment levels just to get some work. This needs 
>> to
>> stop in that those who do restorations need to refuse to work for low rates.
>> Set a price at the high level that your work justifies and stick to it.
>> But the real reason for the problem has to with those of you out there who
>> are producers of projects. You have gotten into the very bad habit of
>> exploiting the talent. The way this works is that every person in charge of a
>> project whether it be a documentary or an exhibit of course naturally wants 
>> it
>> to be as ambitious and spectacular as possible. Too many of you therefore
>> design the exhibit so that it includes more in the way of items than you can
>> pay for with the budget on hand at the proper level appropriate for the
>> skilled professionals who produce the items. You then pressure the creative 
>> talent
>> to reduce their fees until it is at a level that does not allow them to
>> meet financial needs over the long term. I know of highly talented people who
>> have gotten out of the business because they could not make a profit do to
>> this never ending problem. This practice is unethical. So knock it off. In 
>> the
>> future design your projects so that the items are sufficiently limited that
>> each one can be acquired while compensating the creator at the generous
>> rate these skilled workers deserve.
>> Gregory Paul
>> </HTML>

Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs, Your Daily Dose of Mesozoic Megafauna