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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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