Given that we've had the finale time capsule gallery, both myself and Peter thought we'd share a couple last thoughts about the site before we pseudo retire from blogging (for the time being).
We went with the terribly unoriginal format of 10 interview questions. We would have loved to come up with something a bit more creative, but time is not a teacher's friend in September... As we are both teachers that was that.
So I give you our exit interview...
|ART Evolved's founders Peter Bond and Craig Dylke way back in the year 2004...|
1. Why are we stepping back from AE?
ART Evolved simply deserves more time invested in it than
either Craig or myself can commit.
Growth is inevitable and both of us have evolved into full time teachers
- lesson planning and marking instead of updating galleries and writing
ARTicles! There is just no room for ART
Evolved right now.
With these new time commitments, I found it harder and
harder to dedicate the time to develop my art.
Even the creation of a sketch for an upcoming gallery became a
chore. Without the time to immerse
myself into the wonderful palaeoart blogshere – reading, commenting, discussing
– I began to feel disconnected. I
stopped blogging in September 2011, and really only participated in the AE
galleries after that. It stopped being
While there are multiple reasons, they all combine into a lack of time for what this site needs or deserves. When both myself and Peter started this site we were young freelance substitute teachers, with oodles of energy and time at our disposal. As we both made the upgrade to proper permanent teachers, the energy and time dried up.
Personally I’ve also found that my own real attachment to the site (and its galleries in particular) has diminished too. In the early days I was still working on my artistic skills in 3D software, and the regular dead lines of the galleries gave me a challenge to strive and push myself towards. As I’ve matured as an artist (in no small part thanks to the encouragement, feedback, and support of Glendon, Matt, David M, Bond, Trish, Sean, and Albertonychus to name some I owe an artistic debut to but NOT all, sorry if you’re not mentioned), I’ve found that these deadlines are no longer motivating me the way they once did.
2. Why did we start ART Evolved?
It is just a funny thing how these “great” ideas begin. It
all began with a
drawing of Centrosaurus by Manabu Sakamoto.
Myself and Zach Millar while commenting/discussing with Manabu all said it
would be cool to set up a fun Ceratopsian drawing challenge amongst the three
of us. The rather successful palaeo-art
Boneyard had been held at The Flying Trilobite not too long before this
discussion, and it got my brain thinking. There were a lot feeling that
palaeo-art was a rampant but under represented aspect of the palaeo online
community at that time. I thought why not expand this Ceratopsian drawing
challenge into something bigger, and so I enlisted my usual partner in crime
Peter Bond to help me out.
ART Evolved started its conceptual life under various other names (I recall me and Bond spent a good 3-4 hour Skype conversation working on the name… sadly none of the old names survive, not that they were any good :P) originally envisioned to be a travelling blog carnival. However in looking at the hit and miss nature of the Boneyard at that time (it has since gone extinct not once but twice after a brief resurrection), we started to think a more permanent base of operations for these palaeo-art galleries would be a better idea. So the blog ART Evolved was created!
ART Evolved evolved (ha!) from a concept Craig had to build
upon the Boneyard Festivals (monthly online roundups of all things palaeo). Craig and I began blogging in 2006, sharing
art and making friends with talented artist/bloggers (Glendon, Zach, Mo, Sean,
Brian, David(s), Darren, Manabu, Mark, Scott, Raven, Trish, Dinorider, Emily,
Nima, Blacknick, Angie, Jenn, Rachelle, just to name many – sorry if not
mentioned!) What a wonderful world!
By mid-2009, we realized is that there really wasn’t one
place online where amateur and professional palaeoartists could come together
and share their work, ideas and techniques.
We wanted to create such a site! I
remember spending hours on the phone with Craig discussing this new
blog/carnival/site idea, trying to come up with a meaningful name. After going through tons of ideas (none of
which we can recall!), we chose ART Evolved: Life’s Time Capsule. With invitations to many of the above
artists, we launched AE with the Ceratopsian Gallery!
3. What kept you coming back to the site/project of AE every
We tried hard to create a real community feeling, and what I
loved most about the site was the discussions that grew out of the community
commenting on posts. Personally, I also
loved the concept of the monthly galleries, and seeing many artists’ different
interpretations of a single subject was thrilling!
For me it was a twofold appeal. The first was I had a new artistic goal/challenge every two to three months, and you can see my art really develop and improve for the most part over the 4 year run of the site. The second was the interaction and discussions I’d have with other artists. For myself the gold age of AE was the live blogging art in progress period, we enjoyed in the middle of the site’s existence.
4. Describe highlights of your AE experience.
Pink Dinosaurs was a very special and epic achievement for
myself and Bond, ART Evolved itself, the online palaeo-art community, and even
just Dino lovers everywhere. We had such a tremendous response to this event,
and we raised a little bit of money to boot! Thinking back on this project
still brings a smile to my face.
Becoming a Blog of note relatively early in the site’s
existence was an awesome achievement, and speaks to the quality of all our
Finally being featured in Earth magazine was another early
highlight of AE’s run.
The number one highlight for me was the Pink Dinosaur
campaign in 2010. Over 60 artists
submitted 250 drawing of pink dinosaurs, raising $500 for cancer research. I was so proud of the palaeocommunity for
jumping onboard with the cause and making the campaign work!
Rallying the AE community to defend one of our own from an
evil Art Thief on DeviantArt was incredibly satisfying! We were really a force for good.
Craig and I had always hoped that ART Evolved would become
well-known, so I am also proud of our featured article in Earth Magazine and being
listed on Blogger’s Blogs of Note.
5. What was your favorite piece of art you submitted?
One of my favorite submitted pieces of art is Archaeopteryx
Pair in the Featured Dinosaur Gallery.
I’m proud of my Burgess Shale and Arambourgiania Family Unit pieces too.
As I’m typically not happy with my older work, I have to say
Karoo Sunset was an early achievement in my AE art era. Beyond that I was quite
happy with the marine pieces I did for the Dan Varner tribute.
6. What was your favorite gallery?
I was a big fan of
the palaeo-environment galleries as they let people do almost anything they
wanted, and still be in the theme.
I love the Pterosaur, Ceratopsian, Feathured Dinos, and
7. What did you feel was
Involvement from more and more contributors, both amateur and
professional, plateaued about halfway through ART Evolved’s four year run. I would have loved to see the site expand
bigger than it is.
I had always hoped we would get more things written on the
site by authors/artists than just Bond and myself. Now we certainly did have
many members post the odd thing here and there (especially during the Gregory
Paul incident), but I’d always hoped it would be a hub site that people would
post about work on their own sites, and thus link everyone to both the group
and individual’s work.
I also wish I’d figured out a way to get more researchers
involved, and have actual scientific input into the mass palaeo-art process. I
completely understand that scientists have incredibly full plates, and that
this was a mad man’s dream. However I dare to dream, oh yes I love to dare to
8. Where do you see your art evolving in the future?
Personally I’ve been finding I’m drifting into working for
the board gaming industry. I do hope to return to palaeo-art one day, but at
the moment the ability to make some income from my art has allured me away from
my palaeo-art obsession (I also probably burnt myself out on it, having been
doing palaeo-art almost exclusively since 2006).
I see myself focusing more on technique and colour theory as
I try to improve in painting. I look
forward to doing plein-air painting and experimenting in oils. Somehow, I need to find a better balance
between work and art.
9. What do you think of the online PaleoArtCommunity in
general? How it has evolved?
The community is amazing and wonderful, generous and
inspiring. I relish any chance of
meeting face-to-face (Glendon in Toronto, Mo in London, Craig in Vancouver)!
There seems to be a definite move towards facebook and
DeviantArt, and away from traditional blogging.
I see it in myself as I slowed down, and finally stopped, blogging. There is more and more amazing art online,
and protecting the rights of the artist (as Craig writes) is the new
I love it. I’m glad that for a brief few years to have been
at the forefront of the movement. In the last couple of years I’ve noticed that
the community has moved to various art focused websites rather than blogs, such
as Deviantart. The only negative trend I’ve noticed, is due to the low demand
for official palaeo-art, there is a very high edge of competition between the
ever growing pool of artists out there. I don’t feel this if the fault of the
artists, but more reflecting on the sad trend in society to demand more art
than ever but disregard/undervalue
artists’ efforts to make it.
10. What are your parting words? How do you feel after ending the galleries?
Thank you for real fun run everyone! This site has played
such an instrumental role in helping me hone and develop my own art. I hope
others benefitted from the fun and interactive pool of artists as much as I
A part of me feels rather sad that this era has come to an
end, but yet it feels like the right time to bring things to a close. I’m a fan
of the concept end things on a high, and AE certainly has been one big art rush
for 4 years. So on the one hand this is us saying goodbye to AE, in reality
there is nothing stopping us or someone else from bringing the site back to
life someday. We are not actually shutting down. It will be some business as
usual here, just no galleries.
Who knows, if the demand builds back up, or me and/or Peter
suddenly find we have the time to organize them, the galleries may yet return
in the future.
Until that hypothetical day though, once again my thanks and
well wishes to you all for creating this fantastic site! May your art reach
back to eras long ago, and your futures be full of prehistory!
It is bittersweet to step back from ART Evolved. While the run has been fantastic, it has felt
more of a burden in the past few years.
Craig and I are super proud of the site and its many amazing
contributors and I will miss the lively discussions on therapod lips and arm
feather arrangements! While the entire
site isn’t shutting down, the galleries will be ending for now. ART Evolved will remain online, but mostly
It has been an
amazing 4 years, and I want to thank everyone who contributed their art and
themselves to ART Evolved! Keep your
passion of palaeoart alive and take that journey to the Past as often as you
So what should we make next, Craig? J
|Craig and Peter in July of 2013|