Greg Paul threatens legal smackdown!

Posted by Nima On Saturday, March 12, 2011 14 comments

Ok for those of you dino fans who haven't been keeping track of the Dinosaur Mailing List (and I don't blame you, because it's a pretty bland and downright primitive operation by modern internet standards) there has been some major chatter regarding the use of world-renowned paleoartist Greg Paul's work.

Some people have been stealing his work. And making money off of their plagiarism - not just that, they are undercutting Greg by willing to charge far less to museum curators, exhibit planners, publishing companies, etc. I'm not talking about simply making art that looks like his style or level of detail - I mean they're literally tracing, copying, and simply recoloring EXACT IDENTICAL replicas of his work. And he's suing.

Now ordinarily you might say "big deal. He should go ahead and sue their pants off". And rightfully so - stealing and devaluing work like that is one of the biggest problems in any commercial art industry and it needs to be dealt with. But it's not quite as simple as all that. He's gone far further - now he's basically threatening to sue artists for a far more draconian range of "offenses", even things as minor as how the legs and feet are posed. This goes beyond defense of intellectual property - I think this approach is vigilante and excessive.

 Now I don't want to misrepresent what he's saying, so here are his actual statements on different areas of the problem, with context:

SKELETALS:


"The basic rule needs to be that that an artist produce their own skeletal 
restoration based on original research. This would include using photos of 
the skeleton, or an illustrated technical paper on the particular taxon. This 
then goes into your files as documentation of originality, and you can 
publish it. 

Do not pose it in my classic left foot pushing off in a high velocity 
posture. Not because I am inherently outraged -- it would be rather nice if not 
for some practical issues. For one thing I have succeeded in getting some big 
payments for unauthorized use of this pose by major prjects that should 
have known better. Aside from the financial issue, there are other concerns if 
you think about it. It is widely assumed that any skeleton in this pose is 
mine, but what if it does not meet my level of accuracy? The trust in and 
value of my work is degraded. There are gigillions of poses a skeleton can be 
placed in. Be original.  

Lots of original skeletal restorations do not look much like mine -- I 
suspect because they are not necessarily as accurate. If someone's original 
skeletal restoration is close to mine that is OK as long as they have the 
documentation of originality.... 

You apparently either have to have extensive documentation for each image (try proving what your sources were in a court of law, where attorneys have to go by their eyes and know nothing of the positions of zygapophyses on a skeletal), or make inaccurate skeletals or run the risk of being branded a "Greg Paul clone" and getting sued. Which is truly a sad proposition because it means that by going after merely similar poses rather than blatant intellectual property fraud, more and more legitimate paleo-artists will feel uneasy about staying in the profession. If nobody but Greg Paul is making accurate skeletals, there's nobody else to use as a technical reference for complex paintings. And then you either have to pay up for the privilege or just get out of the profession altogether. This isn't going to stop those who intentionally copy and underbid Greg Paul from continuing to do so. Thieves who copy Greg wholesale aren't going to be deterred by a draconian blanket risk of a fine for any slight semblance to his work if they think they can get away with far worse (and have already done so). Law-abiding artists however will be intimidated and discouraged by such blunt and imprecise punishment tactics because they don't want their finances and reputation ruined. They actually do care.

"...Perhaps you are thinking that it sounds like a whole lot of work to have to 
go to the trouble to do original skeletal restorations for all these 
dinosaurs, all the more so when a set of excellent skeletal restorations is 
already available. 

Exactly. That is the whole point."
 



We now need files to make sure we can defend our work in case we get sued? Isn't that a bit far to go? I personally have lots of papers on file and photographs too, so when I draw bones for a restoration it's from the original research and actual photographs, not Greg Paul's products. But not everyone has access to these - and not everyone can tell the difference at a glance between well-researched skeletals by two different artists. Of course I try to document my own research on this blog; I've always tried to avoid relying on anyone's previous skeletals as references (including Greg Paul's) and I was fortunate enough to have friends who hooked me up with huge numbers of rare source papers on dinosaurs that have been enormously helpful in my research, but the potential that anyone can get sued if their work merely looks like something Greg Paul could have done is frightening. In other words, give up, NOW.

Furthermore, his warning not to do a skeletal in the pose he uses (left foot pushing off) comes across as nothing short of megalomania. The precedent of his having sued the people behind "major projects that should have known better" is hardly a "practical issue". It's putting the cart before the horse. So now because he sued one person who used a similar pose (but possibly for a totally original skeletal OR a plagiarism - Greg's a bit vague on that point) then nobody can pose their original skeletals that way? The details of that case are not even known to us!

You can copyright an image, but you can't copyright a pose. Who knows, just as with the whole idea of black and white skeletal drawings, Greg Paul may not even be the first person to use such a pose. It makes no sense to copyright a pose for a skeletal of all things, since they are all in profile and most are not necessarily unique "life" poses. On the other hand, if we're talking about a drawing or painting of a live scene in action (i.e. perspective poses, not bland profiles) then if your poses look like those of a specific Greg Paul painting you are in the wrong and can be sued since for a live scene you have to replicate both the pose and the angle to make it have the same "pose" as a Greg Paul work.

For example you could draw a T. rex in the same pose as the his famous T. rex pair painting (running, with head turned right), but draw it from a completely different angle, and with different patterns, color, texture, etc. There is no grounds to sue for this, because from a different angle there is no spatial resemblance to the Greg Paul painting. There are only so many anatomically accurate poses a T. rex could be in. There aren't "gigillions" of poses for a skeletal either, and the fact that a skeletal is usually in profile limits the number of angles to just one for primary profile skeletals. There are only so many ways you can pose a profile skeletal and still have it be accurate. Theropods need that s-curve in their necks, brachiosaurs need vertical necks, diplodocids roughly horizontal, tyrannosaur arms have to be supinated (facing inwards), and walking/running poses (and even tail poses) are limited by the biomechanics of the animal. Even if you try to make the pose different from a Greg Paul pose, it will probably still bear some similarity if you want the thing to be accurate! Unless you make it a snapshot "action" pose like Jaime Headden and some other artists are known to do, but that just makes it more tedious to illustrate. There aren't gazillions of ways to restore a dinosaur, especially not in terms of posing a skeletal profile. Indeed Greg Paul himself said something remarkably similar in his 1991 paper on dinosaur myths:

Myth: At the end of a heated discussion, often I have heard the retort, "well, there is
more than one way to restore a dinosaur!"
 
Reality: A dubious statement at best, it is becoming less and less true as we learn more and more about the actual appearance of dinosaurs. After all, each taxa had a particular form and appearance in life, and in many cases we know what this form was (Paul, 1987a). Hadrosaurs have down curved rather than straight anterior dorsal columns, soft dorsal frills are often preserved, and their skin is well documented. The knees of giant theropods, ornithopods, and ceratopsids articulated correctly only when they were flexed like those of birds, they did not have the straight knees of elephants (Paul, 1987a). Of course, there are many other things we do not know, and many areas remain open to dispute. Even so, I have noticed that the above statement is usually voiced when the speaker has run out of specific arguments for their case. So it contains little useful information, and it encourages the anything goes attitude that long plagued the field of paleorestoration.


Either you're an anything goes proponent of dubious ways of looking at dinosaur anatomy, or you're potentially an intellectual property thief.... seems to be what his statements add up to. Which smells like total hypocrisy in my book. The fact is, as long as you do your own research, it shouldn't matter what pose you use, there are only so many accurate or plausible ones. And there is no single Greg Paul pose for any one dinosaur. He's revised all of his skeletals, changed things like arm poses, neck poses, etc. So now are all his current and former neck and arm poses off limits for illustrators? Even if every bone in another artist's skeletal skeletal is the original illustration of that artist? Should every artist then come up with a trademark pose, that no other artist in the future can ever use? There would quickly be no realistic poses left!

HOW SHOULD YOU DO THEM?

"So the choices are these -- 

Do your own researched and produced skeletal restorations in an original 
pose. If some of these turn out it is very similar to mine that's OK as long 
as the documentation exists. 

Do not do your own skeletal restorations, but do not copy my art either (i. 
e. stay away from the Greg Paul look). There are some current artists who 
do this and they are not violating my copyrights. I of course prefer to think 
such work is not as accurate as mine but what do I know."

That better be a typo. Do do your own skeletals but don't do them, and don't copy mine either? That's a catch-22 if I ever heard one. Greg Paul's not the only person who can do skeletals. But of course if you're not Greg Paul, don't even try to do your own skeletals, because even if you're being original and not cheating, you're still never going to be as accurate so might as well give up now!

Don't get me wrong, I'm actually in Greg's corner for most of this issue, but even though he's probably done more skeletals than anyone, claiming a monopoly over the right to produce skeletals for commercial work is no more ethical than stealing someone else's skeletals and passing them off as your own. So I hope that really is a typo.

However this does not mean that skeletals should all be open-source. Some artists do make them open-source, while others simply cannot afford to. Greg Paul makes a living off of art, so for him this is not a viable option. I'm all for seeing less experienced artists who do not have a good working knowledge of dinosaur anatomy (and hence can't make their own skeletals) paying for the right to use Greg Paul's skeletals as resources for their commercial work. He deserves the money. However, to make something as unavoidably ubiquitous as certain skeletal poses "closed-source" runs the risk of successively making it impossible for any artist to avoid getting sued because there is a limit to how many ways you can accurately pose any one dinosaur in a profile skeletal. As years and decades pass, and more unique poses get "claimed" as trademarks by various new artists, it will become exponentially harder to find your own and still remain accurate. If you make a simple pose a copyright violation, then everyone will be a criminal at some point - perhaps in less than a hundred or even fifty years - unless you want to get really crazy and put your skeletals in all sorts of crazy barely believable dislocated poses. And even after a while of new artists doing that, it would get even harder to be fully "original" in posing. As they age and die, who will their copyrights pass to? Family or some big corporate trust? When the copyrights expire will it be legal to once again use accurate poses? Or will the profession become to choked by litigation that it will die and publishers in the next century will simply have to continue using old licensed illustrations by long-gone artists? Shouldn't the content matter more than the pose? This brave new world of trademarked poses looks like nothing so much as a key to a Pandora's Box of insanity.


ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE:

Scott Hartman, whose skeletal drawings have a roughly similar pose to Greg Paul's, has offered to change the poses on all of them, though since there are over a hundred, this may take a very long time. He claims that Greg was very gracious and did not threaten any litigation, but that his warnings are more like "best practices". While he's totally right on this, I don't know how reasonable it is to go change everything for reasons that have nothing to do with updated research, especially when this might make the skeletals less accurate.

Here's Scott's response:


Greg Paul's posts have garnered a polarized array of responses.  I
don't really want to add to the cacophony of people addressing
specific legal claims, but regarding the issue of skeletal poses I'd
note that Greg did not seem (to me) to be making a copyright/trademark
claim as much as a statement on "best practices" based on his
practical concerns about branding and such.  Note that it came in a
section of his post that was aimed at artists who potentially want to
do their own reconstructions.

Allowing Greg to establish a branding around the poses he popularized
is a request I'm inclined to grant; after corresponding briefly with
Greg I've decided to embark on the process of reposing my 100+
skeletal reconstructions.

I want to be clear: Greg did not contact me about changing my
skeletals, nor was he anything but gracious in the discussion.  I'm
not doing this out of fear of litigation.  I've been asked innumerable
times by others why I haven't adopted my "own" pose so I'm simply
using this as a final impetus to do so.

Like Mike Taylor, I lament that the situation has reached the point
where commercial concerns outweigh the scientific utility of posing
animals consistently.  I had earnestly hoped that by adopting the same
pose that I would be helping to "standardize" this aspect of skeletal
reconstructions to better facilitate comparison.


So there you have it. I don't agree on the posing issue; suing for a skeletal pose seems pointless and unfair if the actual bones are drawn differently and the result of original research (like that of Scott Hartman). However changing the poses was Scott's personal choice based on many reasons that mostly had nothing to do with Greg Paul, and I can respect that. The tricky thing about the point Scott brings up is whether artists should even have a "signature pose" or not. Theoretically, not all artists would even want any part of this world of everyone having their own copyrighted pose - this could eventually lead to successive closure or exclusivization of poses through copyright attrition. If we all have to avoid using "popular" or previously used poses like the plague, two problems pop up: 1) it's harder to compare skeletals of the same species by two different artists; 2) everyone's going to be in a heightened state of paranoia about avoiding looking too much like another artist's skeletals while simultaneously trying to remain accurate. There are only so many ways you can interpret accurate poses in profile without inadvertently "imitating" somebody else, and as time goes on the number of options will get exponentially smaller and more miserable. Of course directly copying others' work is flat-out wrong and can also unintentionally lead to replicating their mistakes and causing widespread inaccuracies in the field (something else that Greg touches on in his posts to the DML, and was also sadly common for many years with people ripping off the outdated paintings of Knight and Burian). But a simple profile pose isn't going to lead to those same errors, nor does it in any way imply a wholesale ripoff. The question is where do you draw the line? At what point can a mere pose be considered a "brand" or a trademark? Can it?

What's your perspective on this? Feel free to post comments below. Here, here, and here are Greg Paul's original posts on the DML for reference. P.S. I plan to cover the problem of paleoart fraud in later posts. So don't forget to remind me :)

14 comments:

davidmaas said...

My take on his posts is that he's more or less retracted this part of his claims... leaving it open how serious he was about it.
He's a fairly blunt communicator, I wouldn't give this more value than that.

What is far more interesting is the general buzz about some sort of paleoartist organization / platform / collective. I'll be keeping my eye on it!

Nima said...

I have though about the idea of a paleoartist guild or lobby myself. I floated the idea on ArtEvolved a LONG time ago, so I can't find the post where I left that comment.

It would be great to actually realize such a thing. As long as artists could stop fighting and undercutting each other or bashing other artist' techniques. It's definitely something that needs to be discussed at the next SVP meeting. Perhaps even organize a committee of artists there to start off forming this group. It will definitely have my support, heck I'll even help organize the thing. But I'm thinking it will only be as effective as its members, and we're going to need a lot of artists to join up so things like underbidding and art fraud can be stopped effectively and paleo-artists can finally get a decent income without an uphill battle. Another idea would be to form our own publishing house and get all SVP members to use it as their sole publisher, that way even less technical dinosaur books will be making us money, not some careless corporate outsourcer.

Ville Sinkkonen said...

Here here! After the stuff GSP has been saying lately (I mean the silly stuff about skeletal poses and using hes skeletals to get that oh so awesum GSP look) I can honestly say hes no longer a person I look up to. Not as a scientist nor as artist. I'm going to try and invent a new style for my skeletals, not because Mr. Paul says so, but because I don't desire to have any sort of link between my art and hes. I don't want hes style nor should anyone else.

Which me leads to issue I know you know will inevitably come up. I'm not trying to be a dick and I have no ill will towards you, but Your style is very reminiscent of GSP's, and I know you know it. Have you asked Greg about how he feels about your artwork? I know you showed your work to him in the last SVP meeting and he didn't seem to have any problem with it BUT he didn't seem to have any problm with people posing skeletal reconstructions like hes untill now. I think you really should ask him about it because this might become a problem in the future. I'm saying this as a friend and fellow artist. Move on. Do what the very earliest great paleoartists did and go and study nature and get your influences there. And please please please don't take this wrong way. I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just trying to help.

Traumador said...

A brilliant summary and coverage of this issue Nima! Bravo... This has become the only thing I'm thinking about this fine Saturday morning (I really should be thinking about the critical job interview I have next week, but you're post here is so much more intriguing!).

I have to say, also with no malice or ill intent, I agree with Ville on your art. Developoing a Nima fleshed out Dinosaur style would be fantastic to see, especially IF Paul is serious on this legal front, and you wanted to make money off your palaeo-art. Again I don't mean this in a bad way, and if anything Paul should be honoured and humbled he started an artistic school of recreating Dinosaurs that you are following him in (proving he is the "most accurate" in his own words). However frankly he sounds like he's lost it a bit (probably due to the economic state of the world... Dinosaurs don't pay what they used to even 3 years ago), and sadly is killing his legacy to palaeo-art just as it was really taking off.

On the copyrighting skeletal reconstructions front I think Paul is full of it, and has no leg to stand on. I'm writing up a bigger version of this for both here and ART Evolved. So stand by for my full thoughts. Basically I agree with you. I can't see a SOLID case for copyrighting a real animals skeleton, and thus a solid case for any of its logical posing also seems right out of the question.

Lastly I urge to cross post this post on ART Evolved.

Zach Armstrong said...

You make some good points here, Nima, and quite a few I hadn't thought about before.

Another point I think needs to be stressed is his demand that others stay away from the Greg Paul "look"? There are tons of "schools of artists" where there are a group of artists who closely follow the styles and techniques of certain artists. And this isn't just broad categories of "impressionism", "realism", "surrealism", etc. Many well-known living artists have at least a handful of professional artists who copy their techniques and styles to a greater or lesser extent--this is not plagiarsim.

What has happened, as Greg Paul notes, is that he was instrumental in creating a "new look" for dinosaurs--basically an artistic movement in the vein of "impressionism", etc., and that is not copyrightable. Even if another artist closely resembles another artists' style and techniques, it is not plagiarism. There are many artists who copy the techniques and styles of Roy Lichtensteim or Andy Warhol, for instance, and receive profit from these enterprises but who are not violating the copyright of these artists' estates.

I have to give a hearty "Amen!" to Ville's comments and thoughts. I completely agree that I no longer look up to Greg Paul as an artist or scientist worthy of imitation. Most of my ballyhooing on this matter has been the principles involved. I personally think Greg's full-tilt running posture is stupid and I have consciously avoided this pose after my first two skeletal attempts. I agree with Ville that a new standard skeletal posture should be adopted and should be explicitly put in the public domain. I, too, agree that other artists should stop wanting to imitate Greg Paul, and I actually think, in retrospect, that his style has done more harm than good to the field of paleo-art.

And I hate to say, it, Nima, but I have to agree with Ville that your style of life restorations is strongly reminiscent of Paul (as my artwork in the past has also been criticized because of this,I do sympathize with you). The fact that people on deviantArt and elsewhere on the internet have mistaken you for Greg Paul should be a heads-up (for example, beastisign on your Andesaurus skeletal).

Your art is distinguishable from his, however, but it is difficult for non-specialists to tell. And this goes back to my previous thoughts on artistic movements: unless someone is intimately aware with a particular style of art, music, etc., it is easy to confuse artists with the same style and techniques unless someone is extremely knowledgeable. My fear is, that, if what Greg advocates becomes industry standard, forensic art historians will have to be called in to study the minutiae of artistic differences to 'prove' originality. It is a whole can of worms, and I honestly wish Greg Paul would leave the field and go back to battling creationists and religionists.

Reprobus said...

The "Greg Paul look" TM is uncopyrightable, unenforceable bunkum. If someone traces or copies his pictures, that's a copyright theft and he can sue (hell, they can even move stuff around, but if it's his work he's got every right to sue them. But if someone draws a new white on black skeletal in *whatever pose*, then that's their own work and frankly there's sod all Mr Paul can do about it. It's called scientific commons and it's what the advancement of knowledge rests upon.

Zach Armstrong said...

I gotta second Ville's opinion that I no longer really respect Greg Paul as a scientist and artist in the field anymore-and this isn't just because he has been rude, condescending and arrogant. As I have been doing skeletals of sauropods, I have noticed that the accuracy in a lot of his newer work is questionable.

I also agree with Ville that I don't really want my art to resemble Paul's because I think he is starting to do more damage than good to the field.

I have found even before this Great Paleo-art Debacle started that I am naturally drifting away from copying Paul's style of art, I tend to disagree with many of the details of his reconstructions (they're too stylized for instance, etc.), and I am trying to move away and out from under his influence. I also disagree with his philosophy on what species should and should not be restored, etc.

The Great Paleo-Art Debacle has also made me consider for the first time what should be done about paleo-artists as a collective group. For the past 30+ years, it has been mostly a "fend for yourself field"--certainly G. Paul has treated it that way until recently. Ironically, now that he's in trouble financially, etc., he expects the rest of the paleo-community to basically bail him out, and yet insults the vast majority of the community at the same time when he should be pleading for mercy!

Even if Greg Paul successfully started a paleo-art community "union" to stand up for the group's rights, I might just not join simply because I am becoming diametrically opposed to G. Paul on a number of issues. There is also the issue here in the U.S. that many states are becoming increasingly anti-union and non-paleo-artists are regularly outbidding paleo-artists on the same projects anyway--even without going for the G. Paul "look".

As Luis Rey said on the DML--I don't see G. Paul dinosaur art clones when I look at popular and technical dinosaur books--I see generally (anatomically) crappy art, so I don't really even see where the "Great Paleo-Art Rip-off" exists, in fact. There may have been a few isolated cases, but in general, I think the community at large has few Greg Paul imitators, and I certainly don't see G. Paul clones in books at the bookstore that often.

Anonymous said...

its pretty amazing all these people trying to establish themselves as good artists..... when maybe only 1 or 2 of the commentators here actually have any real skills

Ville Sinkkonen said...

Really 'anonyomous'? Who has really done that in this comment section? Who has gone forth and proclaimed themselves as great artist? I see no such behaviour here. As I see there's clearly more than one or two people that have great skills here. They could justifiably outright establish themselves as good artists. Yet they don't see any reason to boast with their talent. They have humility, something that GSP sorely lacks. He thinks hes great but he is not. I can easily name number of paleoartists that are far more skillful than Mr. Paul and should be much more revered than he is.

And btw before you start to criticize others, grow a pair of balls/ovaries and stop hiding behind anonymity.

Nima said...

@ Zach

I agree on the sauropods... or the titanosaurs at least. Greg Paul's titanosaurs in the PFG are just awful (except Saltasaurus and the type material in his Opisthocoelicaudia, probably because he's already drawn them before producing the book. He once told me sauropods were his favorite dinosaurs, but judging on his track record of accuracy, he's a theropod fan all the way and probably made sauropods his last priority in the book.

@ Ville

Lol ovaries.... that's almost as funny as some of Heinrich's best stuff!

Since we don't know who 'anonymous' is (and since he/she/it was probably a one-time complainer who will never show up here again) its really not relevant to me. You're a good artist, so is David, in more media than I've dared to touch. Craig does some really nice 3D work, Zach puts in tons of research in his art (though I don't agree with the end results most of the time, but I still respect them since he makes a huge effort with what little free time he has).

Haha who am I kidding, of course I know I'm the best, I just don't shove it in people's faces LOL! I'm sure it's "the same" with most of us. Some artists vomit their high opinion of themselves out every chance they get, others are a bit more careful with their words and end up always improving and actually having friends.

I don't know how one should define "great" (public opinion is often a flakey thing) but I'll say this. Greg Paul's art still comes across to me as the most accurate in many ways, even if it's not as dazzling and photo-realistic as other artists. Sadly, most of his really good work dates from before 1995. Since then it's just gotten weird and in some ways out of hand. Especially the pencil stuff, particularly anything with feathers now just looks sloppy compared to his original versions.

On the other hand there's a huge pile of self-aggrandizement with Mr. Paul, which is the worst mistake any artist can make if he is too serious about his ego. Especially in a field where there is so much high-quality competition and such limited demand for the skills. But we've all seen this before, if you think back. Many 'geniuses' (or even the self-proclaimed ones) are not necessarily people you'd want to know. From Brunelleschi and Borromini to Van Gogh and Rothko, some of the most original and innovative artists have also been among the most difficult and disturbed. Awkward at best, psychopathic at worst.

Anonymous said...

I respect the artists who post here. I respect Mr. Paul's work, though I do think a lot of his restorations depend too much on his opinion of how he wants the dinosaurs to look, rather than on what the material implies on its own. Every artist who is an ARTIST should want to create art in his or her own style while staying as true as possible to the material. Personal opinion, because of this, counts a lot, but the material should reign and the artist's interpretation of such, rather than some pre-determined set of prejudices based only on personal tastes.

Paleo King aka Nima makes me wonder about his inspirations. Are they based more on the material at hand and his own research, or are they based on his Pauliness' work or some other artist? Before you throw bricks at me, I really think Nima has more basic talent tham his Pauliness.

DARREN MCDONALD said...

GREG PAUL PROVIDED A SCIENTIFIC STANDARD FOR US ALL TO FOLLOW WHEN THERE REALLY WAS NO STANDARD OR GUIDE TO ACCURATELY RESTORE DINOSAURS.
IN MY OPINION, GREG PAUL, ROBERT BAKKER, DOUG HENDERSON, TONY MCVEY,JERRY FINNEY, MIKE TRCIC,LAID THE FOUNDATION THAT ALL ARTISTS IN THE PALEO COMMUNITY STAND ON. I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY NEW WORK BY GREG PAUL IN A VERY LONG TIME. I THINK HE MAY HAVE GOTTEN TOO RELAXED BY RESTING ON ALL THE WORK HE DID IN THE 80'S AND EARLY 90'S. AND PERHAPS FEELS A LITTLE THREATENED AND INTIMIDATED BY SOME OF THE NEW EMERGING ARTIST THAT CAN LITERALLY PUT EVERYONE ELSE TO SHAME. RATHER THAN TRY TO KEEP UP, OR CATCH UP, I KINDA GET THE IMPRESSION FROM WHAT I'VE READ THAT GREG IS LASHING OUT COMPLAINING THAT EVERYONE IS RIPPING HIM OFF,AND TRYING TO SUE THEM FOR THIER $$, RATHER THAN GROWING AND EVOLVEING WITH THE REST OF THE PALEOART COMMUNITY AND CONTINUE MAKEING HIS OWN MONEY.
PREDITORY DINOSAURS OF THE WORLD LITERALLY POURED THOUSANDS OF GALLONS OF JET FUEL ON MY DWINDLEING FLAME OF INTREST IN DINOSAURS. ANY PALEOARTIST WHO SAYS OTHERWISE IS A LIAR! IF EVER A PALEOARTIST UNION IS FORMED, GREG PAUL SHOULD BE PRESIDENT. THEN THERE COULD BE A STANDARDIZED GUIDE LINE FOR ALL ARTIST NO MATTER WHAT MEDIUM THEY WORK IN,THAT WOULD LEVEL THE FIELD ON EARNINGS FOR ARTISTIC SERVICES. THIS PERHAPS WOULD CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE WHERE ARTIST WOULD COLLABORATE, TEAM UP, AND CREATE WONDERFUL THINGS, RATHER THAN ALL THE UNDERHANDED BACK BITEING, BACK STABBING, CLAWING AND SLANDERING BECAUSE SOMEONE MADE TWO MORE DOLLARS THAN YOU, THAT SEEMS TO BE THE NORM FOR THIS INDUSTRY.I PERSONALLY KNOW A FEW EXCEPTIONAL ARTISTS/INVESTORS THAT GOT OUT OF THE BUSINESS BECAUSE OF THIS. IT MAKES EVERYONE LOOK VERY IMMATURE,AND IT IS ALL VERY SAD. THE PEOPLE I LISTED ABOVE SHOULD ALWAYS BE GIVEN OUR UPMOST RESPECT FOR THIER CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE UNDERSTANDING OF PREHISTORIC LIFE. I CAN GARUNTEE YOU,GENERATIONS FROM NOW, WE ARE ALL GOING TO LOOK PRETTY SILLY, (WATERHOUSE HAWKINS SILLY)

Nima said...

@ Anonymous: My work is based on my own analysis of the papers and the published fossil material - not on Greg Paul's work. Now some of his earlier papers - the "oldies but goodies" - provide some very useful background on sauropod anatomy and biomechanics. But given that, there's still a range of different ways you can illustrate them. Greg Paul in my view makes many of them too emaciated, even reducing the shin muscles to almost nothing. And his titanosaurs are often very distorted and have major gaps in accuracy. When it comes to the Forgotten Giants, there's absolutely ZERO Greg Paul influence. Though some may compare my style to his, and I admit he WAS one of my early influences long ago, most of his impact was presentational and format-wise rather than stylistic.

@ Darren McDonald: FYI there's no back-biting going on here. Personally I value the contributions of all artists in the field, including Bakker, Paul Henderson, etc... and IMO Greg Paul has gotten a lot less credit than he deserves for changing the way dinosaurs are seen. However, that doesn't give him a free pass to demean or insult everybody else in the business (which he has been doing, you'll know if you read his more recent comments on the DML).

If a paleoart union is formed (and idea that I proposed myself a while ago, and there weren't many takers) then somebody OTHER than Greg Paul should be president. I say this because great artistic ability does not correlate in any way with great managerial skills, and someone who has shown himself to be as abrasive to his colleagues as Greg Paul probably isn't the best choice to run a union to represent those same colleagues. I've known Greg for several years and kept track of his works and words, and I doubt he would even WANT to be president of such a diverse and eclectic organization. He's got great skill as an artist, but socially he's an absolutist who lacks the personability, temperament and patience to run a guild or trade organization of any consequence (and I doubt he would disagree in the final analysis).

Such is the case with many geniuses or even semi-geniuses - they are not always easy people to get along with, and many are often dictatorial personalities unwilling to compromise on anything, even if it's in the best interest of art as a while. Greg had a LOT of sympathy early on in this whole "plagiarism panic" but once he started claiming copyright over mere POSES and launching unprofessional (and unwarranted) personal attacks at others in the field (both artists and PhDs) he lost much of that sympathy and he's not going to get it back. I still respect his talent as an artist, but only just. Every since this drama started, he has REPEATEDLY shot himself in the foot and biffed his one big chance to form any sort of paleoart union (or at least to have an influential role in its founding). His contributions to paleoart are many, and often sadly underrated, but most of them are early ones - his impact on the field itself is a mixed bag (and continues to get more negative and bitter by the year), and it's not a stretch to say that a lot of other scientists and artists have had enough of Greg Paul or at least have backed away from him. Even the MOR team (whose lumping theories he now champions) gave him a rather cold reception at SVP.

Heidi Michelle Hellstern said...

Good Lord, that's freaking stupid.

Oh well, I can't draw bones worth a damn, so I don't have to worry about being sued.

I like his art, but not the person himself. What a prick! This irks me! How could anyone copyright a pose? What the hell. And what the heck at "Do your own researched and produced skeletal restorations in an origin/
Do not do your own skeletal restorations, but do not copy my art either". That makes no sense.

I like using Luis V. Rey's art as a reference, but I'm sure as hell not stealing or tracing it. I credit him. He's an amazing artist. Definitely not going to use Paul's art as a reference...

Okay, sorry, don't have much to say.

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