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There’s’ nothing I like more than waffling on about a self indulgence like ‘palaeo-art’.
But ‘ay, there’s the rub’ – I say self indulgence because, from my point of view, that is what it is. If I were a palaeontologist or scientific illustrator 'palaeo-art' would be a tool for communicating fact and self indulgence would be a dirty word (or two). My work would be a way to construct a creature or environment that has long gone - a way to use the evidence as a resource to illustrate a picture of the extinct with accuracy and educated guesses.
As an amateur palaeontologist and artist, ‘palaeo-art’, is a love affair. It’s an all consuming passion that people on the peripherals may think rather odd. Like a tiny god of retrospect I can re-create our prehistoric world or use it to stimulate a new one.
There is joy in research - the gathering of clues to make the work complete. Super- sleuthing in glorious details, where even the most minute creature is as intriguing and miraculous as the giants :- moulding and embracing a landscape where extinct creatures may hunt, play, mate, scratch, let off wind, dream and chase flies.
For me it’s like bringing back the dead. But there are compromises in my work that wouldn’t appear in a serious text book illustration. I will substitute scientific accuracy for composition and drama. Sometimes colour will rage through my work with no relation to reality and sometimes humour will twist facts in order to engage.
(Just a blink of scientific accuracy in this camarasaurus eye. Self indulgent all the way, even though I did extensive research into this amazing creature.)
So there we have it. My philosofossilising waffle for the day.
Definition: ‘Palaeo-Art’ - A pictorial or sculptural affair with the prehistoric dead.
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