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Re: Clarification of scope of paleoart market and other items

I applaud Mark Witton, his defense by Mike Taylor, and sum to them.
The fairly-earned reverence many of us have for the genius of Gregory
Paul, or a minimal sense of politeness, may have spared him being
treated in the same way he treats many in the list. In my viewpoint,
no person proud of her/himself should tolerate such a virulent and
pedantic treatment (regardless of the merits of the alternative
arguments, or the recognition of the aggressor).

2011/3/17 Mark Witton <Mark.Witton@port.ac.uk>:
> Greg,
> 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
> off.
> 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
> it.
> Mark
> --
> Dr. Mark Witton
> Palaeobiology Research Group
> School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
> University of Portsmouth
> Burnaby Building
> Burnaby Road
> Portsmouth
> PO1 3QL
> 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
> be
> possible to paleoart to be a profession for again the most skilled in
> the
> field.
> It is tempting to pay no more attentions to this sort of useless,
> supine,
> 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
> another
> reason why a website statement to contractors has a good possiblity of
> doing
> considerable good.
> First an analogy. It is the late Pleistocene, when hunter-gatherers
> lead
> hard lives in an to often uncaring world -- kind of like being a
> paleoartist
> these days. On one side are the progressive, forward thinking,
> reasonably
> 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
> pessimemists.
> 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
> them
> to please mind their own business cannot help go and on about how it is
> the
> fate of humans to accept their lot in life, and why try do something
> about
> it because they think, without adequate proof, that it is hopeless. You
> know
> the type. If those folks had their way we would still be throwing rocks
> at
> 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
> situation
> of paleoartists for a number of years and it had failed. But this is
> not
> 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
> through
> up our hands as per M & W and celebrate being underpaid amateurs like
> as
> one of them seems to be proposing.
> This brings us to a particualr reason why I as a person whose been in
> the
> business a long time thinks we can begin to discipline some project
> managers.
> 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
> funded
> institution. Surely the artist can latter make it up on that 6 figure
> product
> deal or painting, and they can use their being the artist of that
> excellent
> exhibit to help convince contractors in later projects to pay them the
> big
> bucks (which is one reason why if you are approaching an artist with a
> low
> price deal never point out that their name and copyright will be
> prominently
> displayed and will bring them publicity that does not pay the bills, it
> is
> always annoying). The manager may also be willing to approach lower
> cost
> 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
> and
> asked to offer a bid that the contractor will then try to negotiate way
> down,
> the artist does not have to awkardly explain their personal situation
> which
> comes across as some person just complaining so they go to someone else
> who
> is too fearful of losing yet another job they do what M & W think is
> best.
> They instead tell the project manager to please go to the web statement
> in
> which a bunch of paleoartists have politely but firmly detailed the
> many
> 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
> now
> come across as churlish and unprofessional if they try to negotiate
> below
> 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
> standards
> to go to their higher ups and put pressure on them to do what is right.
> Other
> 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
> their
> position is weakened and may be untenable.
> The situation might be even better in that the statement will be
> regularly
> 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
> producers
> 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
> public
> respectability including museum exhibits that remain a major source of
> income.
> 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
> anyone
> else
> in any artistic medium when the rubber meets the road and you find it
> hard
> to acquire income in your particular niche medium or field, and
> paleoart is
> pretty darn particular, you will have to inevitably become pragmatic
> and
> 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
> to
> futilely attempt to bully or prosecute new and up-and-coming artists
> who
> 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
> to
> the problems that arise and taking advantage of the shortcomings,
> financial
> 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
> for
> 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
> subjects
> suggests that a career dedicated to palaeoart is not sustainable in
> the
> 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
> difficult
> 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>