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Clarification of scope of paleoart market and other items
An unfortunate problem with these discussions is that persons who just do
not know about the issue seem to be obsessed with making arguments that are
so disconnected from reality that they are from a galaxy far, far away. This
has been happening with some really silly notions on what and how
paleoartists can earn. This is bad because then those in paleontology may have
misimpression of what is going on with the paleoartists they often work
Some fellow actually suggested that a certain noted artist might earn, say
a quarter million on a single painting. Let me be clear about this. There is
absolutely no significant adult market for original paleo paintings in
existence. There was one briefly after the first JP came out in Japan and some
artists earned modest amounts, but then their economy went belly up.
Lazendorf, a famed hair dresser with top level clientele packed his high rise
apartment to the gills for a few years, and then sold it off for a lot of money
and switched I hear to Asian art.
There are a number of fellow paleo nerds who would love to have Hallett,
Gurchie or Paul on their walls. And they can only afford posters. Considering
the time etc involved it does not make sense to sell an original color of
say 3x4 ft for less than some thousands of dollars. I have a website and I am
easy to contact and have not sold an original to a private collector for
years. As far as I know much the same applies to other paleoartists. Many a
time I have been asked if I sell originals and when I tell them how much they
are unable to proceed (also, because I modify old work a lot selling it off
is not the best).
A quarter million for a dinosaur painting, come on. And I wish.
Now, maybe setting up a paleoartist site that includes a venue for
promoting original art will improve matters. One can doubt that it will, but it
might work and is worth a try. Even if it does it will take years to build up
clientele and no one will get rich that way.
Books. Back when I did PDW, repped by top NY agent Brockman to a top NY
publisher, it was the last few years that that was possible. The only adult
dino books a major publisher will even come close to considering these days is
a narrative tradebook, and the publishers actually require that it include
minimal illustrations to keep down production costs and because they fear
they turn off readers. If you do not believe this then you contact the
tradebook agents and see what they tell you. I know the business. In general
university presses pick up those kinds of books these days and they cannot pay
useful advances and sales are so limited that they are in effect vanity
But what about kidsbooks? I and others have approached a number of juvenile
book publishers and agents and no takers. (Maybe you noticed I have not
done kidsbooks, that's why). Am not entirely sure why this is, probably has to
do with publishers keeping costs down by using derivative art that basically
rips some of us off. I was once on the verge of a big deal but the
publisher at that moment decided to concentrate on fiction works do to changing
Kids products and other licensing. A couple of agents repped my work and
got nowhere. Again producers prefer to keep their costs down rather than pay
significant up front fees or royalties.
I have been told by product representatives that art derivative of mine
seriously impairs my ability to get work, and that I need to do something about
it. Which I am doing.
Exhibits. This remains an important source of income. But musuem and
science center exhibits managers chronically plead poverty (because they
overdesign their exhibits relative to their budgets) and drive down payments to
acceptable levels. Because there are so many paleoartists willing to work
for peanuts many are taking advantage of this situation. Also, there just are
not that many paleoexhibits in production at a given time.
Dino docs. Because cable programming is marginally funded the producers
always plead poverty. Because of under cost competition -- some derivative of
my work, some not -- I don't get that sort of work these days.
How about selling stuff on the web? Ha, ha, ha, ha. That's one of the great
jokes of the digital era.
Someone was going on about how some paleoartists can charge lower prices
because they are "more efficient." What a disconnect from reality and plain
common sense. Doing dinosaur art is not following Moore's Law. Using copiers
to quickly resize elements does help a little. But doing ORIGINAL dinosaur
restorations is ALWAYS a long, tedious process that takes lots and lots of
research including digging through often old and hard to get publications and
travel. Using computers for rendering basic skeletons does not seem to save
time (and I seem to catch more errors when using old analog methods, and the
computer produced skeletons out there seem prone to low levesl of fidelity).
I am as efficient as anyone when it comes to doing real paleoart. The one
way to seem to become more efficient in this specialty is to be derivative
rather than original, and basically use the published work of others to gain
an edge on those very artists.
And someone was giving us paleoartists wise and sage advice about how
perhaps we should understand that because there is so much competition (much of
which is derivative) that we should accept it being mere part time work that
we do on the side. Aside from making us into mere amateurs, if I did that
then I could not have produced all those nice skeletal restorations so many
seem to really like (and in some cases use for their paleoart that then
competes with mines).
Think about. Really, think it through.
To be blunt about it, if you are considering getting into paleoart, think
about it twice, three, times and then four. The paleomarket will always be
too small to sustain a large number of artists. Even so, I do think that the
situation can be significantly improved if certain steps are taken.
These discussions on these lists, although far more extensive than I
thought they would be and perhaps tedious to those not involved in the issue
(rather tedious to me for that matter), are very important to the field of vert
paleo, and should have occurred long ago -- I have perhaps been tardy in
waiting to bring up these issues. But one reason the discussion is longer --
more vehment -- than it perhaps needs to be is because some who are not
familiar with the paleoart facts continue to feel obliged to lecture us
paleoartists, sometimes harshly -- about what we should to. Don't do that. And
you are going to debate me remember that I have long had contacts with top
agents, attorneys etc, and of course I have little patience for tendentious
arguments from those who lack sufficient knowledge to dispute the facts that I
lay out. Treat me and others who have been in the bizz awhile with some
And never tell me, "but Greg, your work is so good, surely there is big
demand for it if you just get the right agent" or so forth. Have heard that one