Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Fossil Hunting on Redbubble
As I recently posted, I've started a shop at Redbubble, a site which allows artists to sell their art and design on a print-on-demand basis while still providing a high-quality product. That's one of my recent additions up above, which has wound up being more popular than I expected. I've been very happy with the site so far, and I've thrown myself into it with more enthusiasm than the other web marketplaces I've explored. Of course, I immediately started scouting for good paleontologically inspired artwork. With prime gifting season barreling towards us, you may just get a few ideas. All images are copyright to the individual artists; click their names to see their shops.
I have to start with Glendon Mellow, since he was how I found out about the site, long before I had a body of work to stock my store. If you're not familiar with his work and writing at The Flying Trilobite and Symbiartic, his Redbubble shop is a good way to get up to speed. His distinctive take on science-art, joining scientific concepts and artifacts with surreal imagery, has gained him many admirers, but you'll also find his wonderful beetle illustrations, his trilobite zodiac designs, and, appropriately enough for our purposes, a couple of charismatic saurians, such as the Avimimus above.
Scott's dinosaurs aren't strict representations of animals in natural environments; rather, he uses bold juxtapositions of color and pop art techniques in compositions that playfully emphasize the pure forms of the animals themselves. I feel a real kinship with him based on our backgrounds in design, and I love the way he spins that in a totally different way. Follow his work at Cyrillic Typewriter.
Like Scott, Raven brings a designerly touch to her dinosaur art, and I love her explorations of historical aesthetics: in particular, her Art Nouveau design of a drinking Troodon. She's also done some mock branding for Mesozoic-inspired products. Like Glendon, she's using the zodiac to structure a project, illustrating dinosaurs that cleverly refer to the zodiac symbol (such as her Cancer Conchoraptor). Check out some great work-in-progress posts at the Caw Box.
I would be remiss if I did not mention Scott and Raven's Indiegogo campaign to support their January Archosaurs and Automata art exhibition. Go there!
Niroot is another recent Redbubble recruit, which may have been spurred my tweeted insistence that he give it a shot. Longtime readers here will know of Niroot's work well, his fanciful take on dinosaurs that nonetheless have a presence as if having been drawn from live models, as in his "field sketch" of an Olorotitan herd. Also: Triceratops on a bicycle (which has the most adorable handlebars imaginable). If you're not following Niroot at Himmapaanensis, you really ought to consider it.
Jaime will also be known to readers as the writer behind The Bite Stuff, but he's also an accomplished artist. As his interest in chompers may suggest, Jaime has rendered some absolutely lovely stippled illustrations of dinosaur skulls, and for the very nerdy among us, his skull cross sections would be a heck of a conversation starter. In the right crowd, naturally.
Another paleoartist with an uncanny command of color, Angie's hadrosaurs in particular blow my mind. Her brushstrokes are bold and add a sense of drama to her work, even when it's just a simple composition highlighting the animal front and center. Also available are some beautiful works devoted to extant mammals. You can find more venues from which to purchase her art at her blog.
Sean Craven's shop includes a mix of the forms I've written about in the other artists' sections: there are pen and ink profiles, skeletals, and simple designs in striking color. His studies of bones, as part of his Bonelands series, are a treat, lit in odd hues. Most importantly of all though, where else are you going to get a print of a crapping Stegosaurus? Follow Sean at Renaissance Oaf, as well.
If you like Julius Csotoni's Futalognkosaurus dukei, which I do, you're in luck! It's the single piece he's got available. Maybe if he sells a few he'll add some more. Julius recently jumped into the blogging world as well, at Evolutionary Routes.
One thing I've heard from my very kind patrons is that they are impressed by the generally high level of artistry found on the site as well as the usability of the site and its good customer service. As a Redbubble customer myself, I'm thrilled with the speed of order processing. I ordered a print last Friday and it arrived on Monday, with care taken. It shipped in a sturdy tube, wrapped in tissue paper for stability, with a band of paper to keep it rolled up instead of tape. So I can confidently recommend patronizing all of these paleoartists. Niroot reports that the cut he recieves from each print sold on Redbubble is less than that of DeviantArt, so do support artists that choose to market themselves there. It's an interesting contrast: the two sites take opposite approaches, with DeviantArt supporting a more robust set of community features and Redbubble presenting itself as more of a storefront. As artists and patrons get used to the on-line marketplace, it will surely continue to evolve.
Still, I can confidently invite others to join this small Redbubble paleo community. As with any online art community, it has its fair share of pop dinosaur art that isn't concerned with staying true to the integrity of the living animals as revealed by paleontological research and informed speculation. And that's fine; I love Yoshi and other cartoon representations, the Jurassic Park raptors, and B-movie monsters. That said, many of us have a deeper appreciation for artwork that doesn't play fast and loose with forms, finding much aesthetic merit in anatomical fidelity.
Of course, feel free to add to this list in the comments.