‘Tis the season to list the do’s and don’ts of paleoart, and Andrea Cau has just posted a simple but interesting list of commandments at his blog. Beyond the potential of taking googlithic translations to seriously, here the list polished in English slightly by myself (which does not exclude misinterpretations):
I – Science is the source of paleoart
II – Thou shall take no reference beyond living creatures, as these represent the closest kin of extinct beasts
III – Thou shall not make any idol, model or inspiration paleoart between the past and living, but you will always be inspired by the only living creatures
IV – Thou shall not call a work “paleoart” in vain
V – Thou shall honor anatomy and ecology
VI – Thou shall not plagiarize
VII – Thou shall not create mythology
VIII – Thou shall not create false reconstruction
IX – Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s techniques
X – Thou shall not desire to impress others
Okay, not sure if google was adept enough to take a swig at nr. III, (anyone able to translate that?) but I think the others were fairly close. I, II, IV, V and VIII all seem very straightforward, though I suspect any attempt to concretely define what they mean would lead to some interesting discussion.
IV has been a subject of some contention at artEvolved, with a polarization between the ‘illustrators’ such as myself and those who defend more artistic liberties such as Glendon – resolved at least for now as an issue of semantics.
Until last week, I would have said VI is clear-cut as well, but – well, now I’ll pass.
VII is an interesting formulation. I’d interpret this as a call to resist seeing what you wish to, and allow your work to be driven by what’s there. As such it echoes the others, but I like the way it rings out on its own.
With IX and X the peace fest ends, however…
why should I not covet cool techniques? Why shouldn’t I be driven by them, to learn and improve and inspire the next guy or gal? Particularly in an age of digital toolsets that offer little precedence, of 3D technologies that are perceived as ‘cold’ and expensive, but which offer an efficiency explosion? The science is so complex, the toolsets are so complex… I only see one chance of making all this proceed at a rate which is rewarding and fun… cooperation. I propose: IX – Thou shall open thy tool shed, and wield the tools of thy neighbor with respect, credit and reflection. (And no, I don’t mean those tools.)
And X is an alien thought to me, but this may well lie in the depths of google’s Italian… I’m in this to impress others. Unequivocally. I can understand a scientist being content to study bones, publish papers and dodge public opinion. But I have no chance of becoming a great paleologist, and am really not in it for that. I want to infect others with the impressions I’ve been given. I want kids, adults and aliens to look at this stuff with the amazement that I feel. So I weight this and push that and try to make a story out of it. I’d change this last one to something like: X – Thou shall tremor with excitement and endeavor to endow others with this same infliction.
I’s also probably ditch the biblical tone. Your thoughts?