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Re: Clarification of scope of paleoart market and other items


Your previous comments are rude, condescending, presumptuous and
completely out of line. If you don't want 'unsoliciated advice' (as you
put it) on your posts, you may want to think twice before asking people
for feedback on your thoughts in a public forum as you did when you
started this discussion. The manner in which you discuss other people
without even using their actual, clearly-stated names is beyond rude. I
am genuinely surprised that your conduct in this thread and others has
not been picked up for flaming and irritating other list members (both
listed under section 8 as unacceptable behaviour in the DML admin
message) by the DML administrators: people read and contribute to this
list to learn and discuss, not to be insulted.

Speaking of which, before calling people 'useless, supine, negative,
defeatist, inadequately informed nay saying, accomodationist,
pessimistic' thinkers (amongst the other things you have insinuated
about people in this thread and other DML messages) you may wish to find
out more about them: you seem to assume that very few opinions but your
own are worth a damn when you probably know next to nothing about the
people concerned. I can say that this is true in my case at least: I see
no reason why you would know about my dealings as a professional
palaeoartist, how I make my living or conduct business deals. How can
you say I'm inadequately informed when you know nothing about me? Can
you really surmise everything you need to know about the relevance of my
professional experience to this discussion from a few E-mails? Can you
dismiss the input of other list members on the same basis? As someone
attempting to rally palaeoartists together, you may have far more
success if you treat them with some respect rather than slagging them

And that, I suppose, is all I have to say in this thread. I think it's
a shame that this discussion has become as vicious as it has: many
worthy contributors have become tired and ducked out of it as a
consequence. As others have pointed out, the goal you've got is noble
but, in my eyes, you're eroding your credibility as much as adding to



Dr. Mark Witton

Palaeobiology Research Group
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Portsmouth
Burnaby Building
Burnaby Road

Tel: (44)2392 842418
E-mail: Mark.Witton@port.ac.uk

If pterosaurs are your thing, be sure to check out:

- Pterosaur.Net: www.pterosaur.net
- The Pterosaur.Net blog: http://pterosaur-net.blogspot.com/
- My pterosaur artwork: www.flickr.com/photos/markwitton 

>>> <GSP1954@aol.com> 16/03/2011 18:55 >>>
So WilburWateley@gmail.com and Mark.Witton@port.ac.uk continue to 
repeatedly offer unsoliciated advice -- i. e. lecturing -- to
paleoartists less wise 
than they that they should get other careers and do paleoart as a mere

sideline in which they admit defeat and meekly accept whatever
financial scraps 
that project managers might toss their way, ensuring that it will never
possible to paleoart to be a profession for again the most skilled in

It is tempting to pay no more attentions to this sort of useless,
negative, defeatist, inadequately informed nay saying, accomodationist,

pessimistic, thinking. But it is actually so dangerous if it gets a
foot hold 
that it needs to be addressed. Also, it gives a chance to point out
reason why a website statement to contractors has a good possiblity of
considerable good. 

First an analogy. It is the late Pleistocene, when hunter-gatherers
hard lives in an to often uncaring world -- kind of like being a
these days. On one side are the progressive, forward thinking,
optimistic, let's get together and improve the situation by taking the
steps to 
devise and utilize new methods and technologies to raise general living

standards and enjoy better lives. Hey, it may not work, but it's worth
a shot 
so lets see what happens. On the other side are the nay saying
Let give them some randomaly chosen names, like Markus and Wilburi.
They are 
the perpetual whiners and back seat drivers who even when others tell
to please mind their own business cannot help go and on about how it is
fate of humans to accept their lot in life, and why try do something
it because they think, without adequate proof, that it is hopeless. You
the type. If those folks had their way we would still be throwing rocks
rabbits and eating tubers for dinner on the African plains. 

It really is appalling how defeatist and useless M and W are on this 
subject. The only way their argument would be justified is if there
already had 
been a well designed and run effort web-based effort to improve the
of paleoartists for a number of years and it had failed. But this is
even close to being the case. Instead paleoartists including me have
been so 
isolated and disorganized that they have allowed the contractors to
gain the 
upper hand and regularly rip us off. What needs to be done is not the
up our hands as per M & W and celebrate being underpaid amateurs like
one of them seems to be proposing. 

This brings us to a particualr reason why I as a person whose been in
business a long time thinks we can begin to discipline some project
Especially those who try to down price the talent because they probably

have a mistaken view of the finances of paleoartists. 

Say there is a person managing a paleoexhibit at a science center. They

don't have a lot of money but of course they want the biggest display
they can 
put up. So they are tempted to underbudget for the art. One reason they

assume this is OK is because they figure that obviously dinosaurs are 
tremendously popular and there is all that product on the shelves and
the web, so it 
must be easy for paleoartists to make the big bucks. So certainly the 
paleoartist/s they approach will understand their circumstances and
reduce their 
pricing for them, right? Sort of semi-charitable work for a poorly
institution. Surely the artist can latter make it up on that 6 figure
deal or painting, and they can use their being the artist of that
exhibit to help convince contractors in later projects to pay them the
bucks (which is one reason why if you are approaching an artist with a
price deal never point out that their name and copyright will be
displayed and will bring them publicity that does not pay the bills, it
always annoying). The manager may also be willing to approach lower
derivative artists on the assumption that the higher tier talent is
doing just fine 
with those Hollywood deals so they won't mind wahts going on. In other

words they are ignorant of the actual situation. 

Ergo the need for a web statement. When any paleoartist is approached
asked to offer a bid that the contractor will then try to negotiate way
the artist does not have to awkardly explain their personal situation
comes across as some person just complaining so they go to someone else
is too fearful of losing yet another job they do what M & W think is
They instead tell the project manager to please go to the web statement
which a bunch of paleoartists have politely but firmly detailed the
reasons why every single intitutional or commercial paleoart project
must pay a 
fair price for the product received and so on, and thank you for never

assuming that any artist can make it up elsewhere (in hindsight my
initial draft 
does not go near far enough to do this so it needs revision). 

The situation has now been flipped. It is the project manager who will
come across as churlish and unprofessional if they try to negotiate
the minimum standards. Some may not even try to do so. 

Having been better informed some project managers will then sincerely 
strive to meet the professional standards, and some will even use the
to go to their higher ups and put pressure on them to do what is right.
managers may be less happy to be fair, but now they are clearly being 
unprofessional if their pressure to get the artist to downprice, so
position is weakened and may be untenable. 

The situation might be even better in that the statement will be
circulated among known contractors, so they will be educated before 
budgeting projects and approaching artists. 

There as been a tendancy of some to state that lots of product
won't care about some sort of paleoartist statement so what's the
point. This 
is very probably true in some regards, cheap toy manufacturers using 
overseas labor etc. But there are areas in which pressure has a good
chance of 
working. In particular organizations that seek to maintain a level of
respectability including museum exhibits that remain a major source of
Documentary companies that have to have the collaboration of 
paleontologists, and so on. 

So let us not let the likes of the do little or nothing pessimists M &
W to 
ruin paleoartistry. Why would I or anyone listen to lecturers who have

nothing positive to propose? Their scheme would mean that there would
be no 
professional body of paleoillustration that paleontologists could call
upon, and 
would seriously degrade the quality of the art available to the public.

Instead let's get out there and see what can be done to improve the
field. I 
would not urge paleoartists to take positive steps if I lacked good
reason to 
think they have a good chance of working. 

Like they say, if at first you don't succeed well that's it for 
skydiving.... I mean try, try again. 

G Paul

In a message dated 3/15/11 9:46:48 PM, WilburWateley@gmail.com writes:

<< Unfortunately this isn'ta world of ideal circumstances and like
in any artistic medium when the rubber meets the road and you find it
to acquire income in your particular niche medium or field, and
paleoart is 
pretty darn particular, you will have to inevitably become pragmatic
expand your fields of work. This could include venturing into the  
contemporary wildlife, fantasy and historical arts to supplement your 

income. This is in the end a more practical and realistic scheme than
futilely attempt to bully or prosecute new and up-and-coming artists
venture into the field of paleoart, many of whom undoubtedly use the  
above-mentioned tactics of genre-hopping to their financial advantage.
Certainly many honed paleoartists would love nothing better than to
stay in 
the artistic realm they know best. However, as said, this is a world of
realities, sometimes grim, but a world better served by being realistic
the problems that arise and taking advantage of the shortcomings,
or otherwise, that life inevitably throws your way.

Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
--Dalai Lama

"Come what may, all bad fortune is to be conquered by endurance."

In a message dated 3/16/11 6:57:48 AM, Mark.Witton@port.ac.uk writes:

<< There is no question that people like palaeoart and skeletal
reconstructions. Whether their production provides a suitable income
a sustained, comfortable lifestyle in the modern day is another matter
entirely. The fact that so many famous palaeoartists, many of whom
produce work of the highest quality, are also artists of other
suggests that a career dedicated to palaeoart is not sustainable in
long run. Indeed, the one very clear signal from these discussions is
that such a lifestyle can only be sustained if your living costs are
very low: making ends meet as a dedicated palaeoartist is very
from the moment we aspire to a reasonable quality of life. And there's
nothing wrong, incidentally, with being a so-called 'amateur': this
label is not particularly telling of anyone's ability at all. Some
'amateur' palaeontologists and palaeoartists have and continue to make
excellent contributions to palaeontological science and communication
comparable with those made by 'professionals'.  >></HTML>