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Re: The Knight analogy
On 18 Mar 2011, at 03:42, GSP1954@aol.com wrote:
Let’s do a little historical thought analogy here.
Some have claimed that it is not right for me to civilly insist
(see my 3/3
posting) that others not use my regular side view skeleton and life
Not all mind you, a number have kindly agreed with the request.
I don't think Greg you should fear that anybody will not heed your
request from now on.
I think this discussion has arisen mostly based on a confusion. Your
work can be neatly differentiated to my eyes: your "art" pieces and
your "referential" scientific work. And the definition of what is art
comes also to the fore.
Most (if not all) never considered that your skeletal restorations
were quite "art", they were "science", It was not to be considered
"art" even if some people find the diagram of a skeleton "artistic"
and despite all the admittedly important and consuming work that it
entails to do the reconstructions.
Now we learn that they are really to be taken as "art" and we all
should be careful to take them for granted at the scientific level.
Granted that they were never taken as "watertight, sealed,
unquestionable science" but you yourself claimed so many times that
you were teaching people how to reconstruct accurately dinosaurs
that everybody took your word for it. Bad move!
But remember that in the early 90's when people like Feduccia and
other academics try to deride your work because you were "just an
artist" (the reasons were obviously >other<) for many of us you were
a scientist FIRST and then an artist, and we based our defense of
your work in your referential pieces and your zeal for accuracy.
Scientific work is normally considered a bit like "maps"... for most
people use maps and follow them and copy them (keeping eyes open of
course) but not thinking of the maps as Picasso's paintings. That is
the "mistake" most have done in good faith . Just like I said about
Mike Taylor's work (and so many others)... neither of them claim to
have the monopoly of their restorations of of their technical work,
but alas, they don't >also< do oil or acrylic originals, or graphite
pieces that must be considered unquestionably your artwork and your
So I think if this discussion has been healthy to the extent that
should exclude the release of generalized paranoia, arrogant tone
and insults that it has unleashed. With reason and without.
One thing that I do not agree at all with is the pinning of the guns
versus the young artists... who can think that young artists >have
the duty< to charge huge amounts of money for their work... what is
pretended by that? Keep the competition at bay so the veteran or star
paleoartists can reclaim their mastery by privileged default?
The main advice to novices and would-be paleoartists is not putting
them off saying: "you are going to starve" or "you are going to take
my job copying me and doing the jobs cheap" but more: "what new do
you have to say?" "what do you have to contribute to the field?" I
never started getting into paleontology because I wanted to get rich,
but because I had the passion and interest or it.
It would be interesting to do an own profile: if one's aims as an
artist or as a paleontologist start by thinking of "what is
marketable" and then follow a career of pretended "lucre" in Paleoart
(?), well, we deserve all we get in a market-based society. Some
might be lucky of course, but you are nothing but a merchant or a
producer of commodities; and the regulations there are simply
depending on the market value, nothing else. A bit of what is
happening to music and so many other art forms these days...
But if one's follow his or her passion or true interest to the best
of our abilities, have something to say, and are convinced that their
labour is something else than simple mercantilism, we might (be loved
or be hated by it) carve a niche. To create could also mean a lot of
the time a good deal of suffering unfortunately.
Obviously you cannot carve a niche without a reasonable economic
support. Yes, the fact that we have to pay the bills and have to
compete in a world that is brutal (and we know for a fact that all
the best jobs are most probably going to go to the best "political"
manipulators, not even the "best" in the field) should be secondary
to pursuing your passions... if not, you better go on and be a
banker, a politician, a celebrity or a member of the mafia.
But personally, my guns are pinned against all those companies that
really act as tyrants, exploit us and under-pay us, hijack our work
and even modify it without permission... NOT against genuine budding
paleoartists that might suddenly become "competition" (that in the
long term is inevitable... although if you are original and liked
enough, your own style is what publishers will be after... that is if
you are still reasonable with your prices and not have "Star"
pretensions or status). I'm also against those companies that do not
allow the artistic freedom necessary for developing your own kind of
dinoart, you niche. I'm against all those companies that demand you
follow or copy the style of other artists... and I'm obviously
against those companies and institutions that take for granted that
you are going to work for free just because they want you to (or just
because it seems like an honour to publish in one of their
It is mandatory that paleoartists receive at least reasonable
economic support for their efforts. At the same time, it is
impossible and castrating that the veteran, more established artists
demand that newcomers start charging huge amounts of money for their
works... penalizing them for taking >their< jobs and accusing them of
"selling themselves cheap"...
It is also important for the veteran artists that all the passionate,
talented young paleoartists get carved their own niche. Why? Because
uncomfortable overlapping becomes less an issue and >variety< and
>originality< may become the norm. Copycats and "overlapping"
competing styles may be inevitable as has always been in all the arts
I know, but maybe quality and survival skills can be combined and we
all can find that elusive niche where competition is kept to a
minimum or at least to a healthy level. There's room for everybody if
we manage to act with some intelligence. And I'm not going to include
any social-darwinist garbage here...
Greg... you created a science graphic platform, a school from where
an >informed< variety of artists could arise. And that was going to
be always risky...
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