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Re: The Knight analogy

"Huge Amounts Of Money" is hyperbole to illustrate something very real: let's see, what is a "reasonable" amount of money for you to charge for an illustration? That "reasonable" amount of money may look like a huge amount to a publishing house in the UK for example, and may seem even more unreasonable if asked for by a novice. Ergo, if the novice insists that he has to charge the same amount you are asking for, he might never get a job and starve... and you and I probably wouldn't get the job either.

And there's no one more FOR egalitarian salaries than me... yes we ALL should be earning equally and/or at least enough for our needs (that also depends on what needs you have of course)...but realistically that will not happen. I cannot expect that a new, young paleoartist that has reasonable quality work should demand the same amount of money than a veteran, well known paleoartist. At the end it will be a matter of competing styles... and that paleoartist may have a more "likeable" style than me... should I despair?!... Just imagine! If every time I start working I'm paralyzed thinking: "I'm surrounded by great, young paleoartists,,, they are going to take my job!!!" I might be better committing suicide...

I have a long experience of not being liked very much by many... not serious, pretty or polished enough for some, too daring and outlandish for others...and as the Sex Pistols used to say: "And I Don't Care...!" I don't care because I'm doing what I think I can do best (at least I think I know how to decently deal with the anatomy)... is never going to be "better or worse than anyone else" it is just going to be me, for good or bad. I'm hoping to be my own competition and elastic enough too (specially at the level of economics... one day is a penny, the other a pound...).

And that is the message I'm trying to convey... if young artists learn to be proud of what they do because more than anything else they are NOT doing Greg Pauls anymore, but are finding their own way to do things and proposing new ideas, well, that should be it. Of course they have to charge a reasonable amount for their time... but who is paying? Everybody needs some economic stability but how are we going to reach that if we can't sell or publish some work many times at the price >they< establish? We were talking about a Union... let's see it! Ideally, a true Union will defend the earnings and rights of ALL its members...

Let me give an example: a few years back Jaime Headen showed me a picture he has just done of Amargasaurus... the artwork was not a John Gurche, but hey, it was simple, fresh and amazing... I thought, "why it never occurred to me doing Amargasaurus like that!?"... simple answer: I am not Jaime Headden, So seeing artwork like that coming from completely fresh outlooks mean a great inspiration for us "veterans".

Extrapolating arguments here...should we start thinking in >paying< the young generations for their inspiration...? Sorry, no money available here, but surely it's given me inspiration to do something >different<.

And obviously I agree with Scott Hartman regarding "ignorance"... once again I'd like to hammer my argument that most if not all the paleoart jobs go to people that actually are neither interested nor know anything about anatomy or dinosaurs (or sometimes, not even about zoology!).

What about creating that elusive Union of Paleoartists that instead of being self-serving bureaucracy, actually DO something for paleoartists and Paleontology (not like the famous Dinosaur Society mind you...)... perhaps even our Society of Vertebrate Paleontology would help us open a door, a niche for us that have always been at the service of Paleontology... and give us a little more importance than that only given by our dear John Lanzendorf legacy..?

Donna knows how I agree with her, in times like these we are all going through, there's nothing like having a dear companion that is earning some steady salary... although if she or he works in a library, well... we just have to laugh... what future?

On 19 Mar 2011, at 15:01, Bob Tess wrote:

No one would "force" a budding paleoartist to charge "huge amounts of money" ( and Luis, you let me know when any paleoartist - budding or veteran gets "huge amounts of money", ok?) But it stands to reason that if, as a young artist, you intend a career as a professional working artist - you have to charge a reasonable amount for your time.

On Mar 19, 2011, at 9:05 AM, Luis Rey wrote:

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 pose.
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 artwork only.

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 publications).

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...

Luis Rey

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Luis Rey

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