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RE: Reductio Ad Absurdum. It is 1984 Dinosaur Time..!

C'mon Mike, don't misrepresent what Bob and Tess have been saying. There's a
huge difference between saying everyone should charge a large premium price
and saying that artists should charge enough to ensure not only that they
can make a living but that there is the possibility of a profession at all.
For money people - and I learned this straight from Isaac Asimov in a
conversation I had with him right before he passed away - they value the
product by what they pay for it and if outlets that are making big sums of
money on their products think real paleoart is worth next to nothing because
they found someone who will just throw their stuff at them, that is all they
will ever pay for it. The first job you took as a programmer at least paid
you enough to live and progress in your profession, even if it was real
tight. I know it took a while for me to earn reasonable dollars. That is
what paleoartists should try and do also, not undercut themselves in the
long run.

Further, given that Bob and Tess have not suggested an enforcement bureau
for art pricing, they are simply advising and requesting that paleoartists
consider this in their pricing and business practices. It's their bloody
right to do so and as senior people in the paleoart community, they just
might know something that is useful to young artists who wish to continue in
the profession. Tess especially paid for this right by publishing a great
book that helps aspiring artists learn how to protect their work, establish
copyright etc. and by their constant helping of young paleoartists. Further,
Bob and most other senior paleoartists still often work with scientists in a
way they can afford, or for free, when circumstances require and they are
not suggesting that paleoartists stick it to scientists. 

So don't distort their message, it muddles the dialog and does you
injustice. Now I have no idea what Greg is really suggesting, so I'll not


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] On Behalf Of
Mike Taylor
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 9:12 AM
To: bobtess@dinoart.com
Cc: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: Reductio Ad Absurdum. It is 1984 Dinosaur Time..!

On 15 March 2011 14:56, Bob Tess <bobtess@dinoart.com> wrote:
> How will they make a living by undercutting prices?
> Do they think they can have a mortgage by going cheap?
> No, all they can do is ruin the field and live in their parents' basement
> the rest of their lives.

Really, Bob?  Really?  When you first entered the field, did you
charge then what you charge now?  Before you had a reputation and a
portfolio to lean on?  When you didn't have such heavy financial
responsibilities as you do now?  Or did you start at the bottom,
charging lower fees to get your early work, and then escalating as you
publicly earned the right to?

When I started my own professional life (as a computer programmer), I
didn't apply for jobs that pay what I am earning now; in fact, in my
first full-time professional job, I was paid less than a quarter of
what I earn now (and I couldn't afford a mortgage on that -- I had to
rent a room to live in.)  Over time, as my experience and expertise
increased, I was able to apply successfully for more prestigious and
lucrative jobs (and eventually to get that mortgage, support a family,
etc.)  Happily, it turns out that I didn't "ruin the field" along the

Isn't that how it works in every profession?

In insisting that people starting out in palaeoart not undercut your
prices, you and Greg are trying to effectively make it that there are
no entry-level jobs in palaeoart, and consequently no way for
newcomers to the field to get a foot on the ladder.  To speak frankly,
whatever your and Greg's actual intention, this comes across as a
self-serving attempt to erect a barrier to entry into the field, and
to keep all the work for a small number of Boys' Club members.  I hope
and trust that I am misreading your intentions, but that's how it
LOOKS, and if I see it that way then you can bet that lots of the
up-and-coming palaeoartists will see it the same way.

And whether you intend it or not, a mandatory minimum price would most
certainly have a chilling effect on newcomers to the field of
palaeoart.  I don't think that's something that we as a community can,
in good conscience, support.

Competition for work in the field of palaeoart is by reputation,
quality and price.  You, Greg and other established names have a clear
advantage in the first of these (and, if we take Greg's claims at face
value, in the second, too).  You can't just legislate that the third
isn't to be a factor.  When I apply for programming work, I have to
compete on quality against less experienced candidates who charge less
than I do.  Why shouldn't it be the same in palaeoart?

-- Mike.

> On Mar 15, 2011, at 10:49 AM, Mike Taylor wrote:
>> On 15 March 2011 14:41, Bob Tess <bobtess@dinoart.com> wrote:
>>> I have become sickened by this thread.  I can think of no other
>>> profession
>>> besides art where people feel justified in telling other people they
>>> should
>>> not be allowed to make a living.
>> I assume you're referring here to Greg's telling young artists that
>> they're not allowed to establish themselves in the profession by
>> charging less than him?