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Reductio Ad Absurdum. It is 1984 Dinosaur Time..!
Let me try to articulate this:
I'm trying to separate two kinds of "competition" concepts here. Greg
Paul is worried that people that copy him (or merely get inspired by
him) are taking jobs from him and thus he must get paid for the
inspiration he "gives".
1.-At the level of ego-tripping competition, it seems that Greg Paul
detests seen himself copied by so many and having inspired a whole
school of dinosaur reconstructions (non remunerated recognition he
has had aplenty...but admittedly not as much payment as he would have
wished). He should have been careful: science is well above and
beyond commercial interests and belongs to everybody... and
everything he has done he claims is technically and scientifically
accurate (above all his most referenced work: his skeletons), with
open derision of any skeletal reconstructions he has not done
himself... and not only that: a good percentage of his works he
claims to be didactic. He has been >teaching< people how to make
dinosaurs for many years and he has always been proud to do so (at
least by the title of many of his publications). It is a bit like a
teacher author of textbooks complaining that his pupils should pay
him every time they use his textbooks or pay him for whatever they
Complaining about losing the monopoly of his reconstructions (that is
not just a matter of posing the skeleton by the way) comes now a bit
2.- Greg Paul is wrong at the second level of competition: in later
times when I go to the Natural History Museum here in England, I 'm
almost always appalled by the books I'm seeing in the shop... I have
to admit: I have been a collector of dinosaur books all my life, if
only because I relish the variety of reconstructions (when well done
or simply creative... it's just a matter of personal taste) and I
want to keep informed as to try NOT to repeat what others artists do.
But what I see these days is not Greg Paul inspiration. It is a
bunch of professional artists (and many not that good even as
professionals) that continue to be hired to do monstrosities and
anatomy-nil dinosaurs. The main trends seem to be:
a) To be very "realistic" (photoshop skin or effects over rubbish
anatomical reconstructions is and will always be: realistic
garbage... Darren Naish and myself know a lot about this).
b) Over use of dramatic Jurassic Fight Club rubbish... if that in
itself is painful to watch...just imagine that without the anatomical
c) Multicoloured clowns pretending to be dinosaurs (lamentably -most
probably- inspired by yours truly... mea culpa).
Please note: these criticisms are not based on personal taste but in
a criteria based on factual anatomy of reconstructions (yes, Greg
Paul's included). These criticisms apply to those dinosaurs
illustrations that I see pretend to pass for "serious enough" or
didactic and must have been well paid.
I am neither criticizing comics, fantasy or idealization of dinosaurs.
And yes, you've guessed it: not a single dinosaur I have seen for
years in these plethora of Jurassic Park rip-offs (and worst) have
been really inspired by Greg Paul's anatomy master classes... lots of
Jurassic Park half-digested rubbish, but not a lot more (Or wait! It
may be that some of the JP reconstructions were in their time also
inspired by Greg Paul...!)
>These< are the people to whom MOST if not "all" the jobs go to. And
these people most probably never have considered themselves
"paleoartists", paleontologists or anatomists either... they are just
opportunists feeding on a trend.
It makes you just wish they at least had copied Greg Paul or simply
have learned from his anatomical lessons... this thread also makes
you wary of the concept of "tribute" or "homage"(like Ralph Chapman
was saying)... or even parody or interpretation... a homage to your
favourite inspiration could cost you an arm and a leg in the near
So what is the use then for a "statement from paleoartists" when the
jobs will keep going to whoever the publishing houses want (or can
afford)? Publishing companies (with the honourable exception) most of
the time want malleable and docile artists that will do whatever they
have in mind or else... that means you don't get the job... I have
lost jobs because i refused to do Deinonychus without feathers... or
+Irony Interlude+: Lack of imagination is regrettable but still not a
crime...We would need a thought police! I can imagine Greg Paul with
a tape measure, screening all publications seeking for that
particular leg proportion, angle or posture that could indicate that
it's been "inspired" by him or simply copied without permission...
and take the artist to court! Although I think it would be even more
effective become the absolute leader and designer of a corporation of
paleoartists where he would have the monopoly of who can do the brand
"Dinosaurs"... just imagine: is either you belong to the corporation
and its rules or you are not allowed to do dinosaurs for a living. Or
if you do, they should not be allowed to be called "dinosaurs"... a
bit like the case of the label of "Champagne" and the Catalonian
"Cava"... only this time even more ad-absurdum.
And I'm embarking in a direct remake or "update" of Zallinger (more
like a tribute 21st Century style)... glad that Random House has it
covered... just imagine if not!
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