Posts Tagged 'cinema'

Interview with David Krentz

Today we turn to David Krentz and a real shift from the more traditional palaeoart which has mostly been covered here. Until recently, David was best known for his dinosaur sculptures – hardly a rare medium, but one that’s barely made it into the pages of the Musings, but his work with moving pictures means he’s also been heavily involved in documentaries and even movies, not least being the director of the recent Dinotasia. I’m grateful to David for his time and the load of his art. As ever, the copyright stays with him and these images should not be reproduced or used without his permission.

How long have you been producing palaeoart?

If you mean how long have I been drawing prehistoric life, than I’d say from around 2 or 3 years old.  I have kept some old books that I drew in the margins of, and they are dated to the early 70s.  By Kindergarten I was in full force already.  I saw the Marx playset and all I wanted to do was make clay dinosaurs.  The teacher realized I was hopeless and did something very innovative.  She took me aside and said “David, for one week you can make a giant display of dinosaurs with clay, and at the end of the week you tell the whole class about it”.  When the week was over and I did my presentation I had found ‘my voice’ and also the power of sharing your knowledge and passions with others.  Of course dinosaurs waxed and waned during my school years, but they were always my first love.  I did know from around third or fourth grade that I wanted to make dinosaur movies though, and that never went away.


What first got you interested in dinosaurs and art?

For a lot of people its the first museum visit.  Growing up in Winnipeg Canada we didn’t have any great skeletons in the museum, I didn’t see a T.rex skeleton until I went to college in California!  For me it was books, movies and toys.  I don’t know about an interest in art, it was never deliberate.  I just wanted to get the images in my head down on paper or in clay (later with super-8 movies) in the best way possible.  It was all self taught and never labored, just executed till it look good.


 
What is your favourite piece of palaeo art that you have produced?

I’m my own worst critic.  A lot of my stuff I can’t stand to look at.  I’d say that my Gorgosaurus sculpture called “Judith” is my favourite (above).  I created it when I was taking many liberties designing characters for the Disney Dinosaur movie.  The piece was therapy.  I’d come home after putting lips on Iguanodons and try my redeem myself with Judith.  It was my first real attempt at a studied and serious sculpture.  I tried to put all of my knowledge of motion and animation in it, because I felt that is one thing I could bring to the world of Paleoart.  I’m also pretty happy with some of the digital models I did for Dinosaur Revolution and feature film Dinotasia (below).

Who is your favourite palaeoartist or piece of palaeoart?

Oh man…I hate this question.  Sin of Omission and all that.  I’d say the most influential would be Bill Stout…his book from the 80’s blew me away.  I was hooked on Doug Henderson‘s work the second I saw it..he is no doubt my favourite artist.  For sculptures I’d have to say Tony McVey.  For all of these artists its hard to name a favourite.
Since I’m also in Dinosaur Movie guy I should name some of the most influential movies as well.  King Kong would be seminal to my imagination. Star Wars ( I know..but there were dinosaurish creatures) for making me yearn to do THAT for a living.  Phil Tippets Prehistoric Beast ( see…he worked on Star Wars!)  completely set me on fire when I seriously considering learning film making.  When Jurassic Park came out I was already a jaded-snob, and I’d still hold Prehistoric Beast against it.  Don’t get me wrong, JP was a game changer, but I was just too critical in my early 20s to really let it move me.

What is your favourite dinosaur / archosaur?

Gorgosaurus, and I also love centrosaurs in general.  Gorgosaurus/Albertosaurus is just plain sexy.  Greg Paul is to blame for that.  He made it look so appealing and athletic to me.

Is there any animal you would like to paint but have not?

Like a lot of PaleoArtists I’d have to say the answer changes daily.  Some days I realize just how amazing a Deinotherium is and then the next a prosauropod takes my fancy.

What do you think is the most important part of good palaeoart?

Getting a personal relationship with the subject matter.  If its a Hendersonian landscape I have a feeling that I’m in the scene hiding under a log an holding my breath.  If its an isolated dinosaur against a white background or a sculpture than I’d say gesture (pose) and character.  Its really important to get a sense of motion and weight and even more so to be drawn to the animals eyes.  I don’t want to know what the animal is as much as I do WHO it is.  I don’t care about the type specimen, I want character.  I understand that maybe is not the most desired answer for a scientific subject yet that my point of view.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – to quote Saint-Exupery – ” If the sculptor has nothing but science his hands will have no art”.

A few thoughts from Saurian Saturday

So as I mentioned a few days back, on Saturday I hosted / presented a full-day event at a London Cinema on dinosaurs in the movies. The idea was to try and combine some history of dinosaur research with their various appearances on film and the changing techniques used to bring them alive. As such we touched on Owen and Mantell, The Lost World and One Million Years BC, stop-motion and rubber suits and everything from the Dinosaur Heresies to Reptilicus. All of this was bracketed by showings o the 1933 King Kong and Jurassic Park on the big screen.

For me, it was exhausting. basically a 12 hour day and I was talking for more than half of that. I’m not doing that again in a hurry, or at least I need to space it out better, but it was certainly an experience and in terms of presentation I think I learned a fair bit. Chatting to various people I do think the pitch was about right for the audience and they seemed to keep up with what I was saying and absorb things. They seemed engaged and I got some good questions (though not too many).

King Kong really hasn’t dated too badly at all. The introduction was much longer than I remembered (and Peter Jackson drew it out still further), with things only really kicking in and getting exciting in the second half with rather too much lead in time. There was also very little chemistry between the leads, or for that matter, Anne Darrow and Kong – something that the Jackson version did improve on massively. The effects were great though – there were some nice details I’d missed before and the way the layers were put together was excellent. Only a couple of moments really jarred which given that this is some 80 years old is very impressive.

On the other hand, Jurassic park does seem to have dated rather badly. Sure I loved it when I first saw it, and have fond memories of it. While for a long time, I’ve thought of it as being actually quite a poor film with some great moments and great effects, I have to say that some of the CGI looks really ropey in hindsight. Sure this it also getting on and it was brand new technology when created, but I did watch JP just a couple of years ago on the TV and it looked fine – in full cinema size, less so. The T. rex attack especially, there are parts where the whole animal seems glossy and with a sheen, that’s only apparent when it’s computer generated, and it looks much more natural and ‘dusty’. In short, I’d probably rather watch KK again tomorrow than JP.

Oh yes, and I got to meet Himmapaanensis too, who brought along a lovely card of a hadrosaur he gave to me which was lovely.

Overall it was fun, but also tiring and stressful. I hope people enjoyed it and learned something, that’s about as much as you can wish really.

 

 

Dinosaurs on Film (again)

A while back I put up a post about dinosaurs in film and got some great responses on films I’d missed or not seen. I didn’t say at the time as things weren’t certain then, but this was for a project I’m doing with a London cinema chain to talk dinosaurs, films and the like for a day. In fact, it’s this Saturday. Anyway, I suppose I should advertise the thing now we’re this close, so here’s the link to the event.

I appreciate that few readers are in London and at least some bits of the talks might be pitched a bit low, but well, there will be dinosaurs, films, King Kong on the big screen, and lots and lots of me. And yes, I fully appreciate that the last part of that is unlikely to be the biggest draw / will be the most off-putting, but at least there will be dinosaurs. So, if you’re interested or know people who are, do sign up.

Dinosaurs on film

I’m currently engaged in a little side project to my research and as part of this I’m trying to make a list of films that feature dinosaurs. This only includes films focused directly on on dinosaurs (so sadly ‘Pterodactyl’ loses out) and things that either are obviously dinosaurs, or are identified as such in the films (so ‘Reptilicus!’ survives despite it really not being very dinosaur like at all). I’m also sticking to those which had a cinema release (bad luck ‘Dinoshark’) and I’ve generally avoided sequels (or this would just include a list of Godzilla flicks) or remakes though some exceptions are made. I’m also trying to stick to things where dinosaurs are a major part of the film (so ‘Journey to the centre of the Earth only just scrapes in and ‘Fantasia’ loses out). I think I’ve actually got the majority of them but if you know of any I’ve missed out on, do please add them in the comments.

Gertie the dinosaur – 1914

The Ghost of Slumber Mountain – 1918

The Lost World – 1925

Creation – 1931

King Kong – 1933

The Cave Dwellers (One million BC) – 1940

The Unknown Island – 1948

The Lost Continent – 1951

The Beast from 20 000 Fathoms – 1953

Godzilla – 1954

The Beast of Hollow Mountain – 1956

The Land Unknown – 1957

The Giant Behemoth – 1959

Journey to the Center of the Earth – 1959

Dinosaurus! – 1960

Reptilicus! – 1961

1000000 years BC – 1966

The Valley of Gwangi – 1969

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth – 1970

The Land that Time Forgot – 1975

The People that Time Forgot – 1977

Planet of Dinosaurs – 1977

Caveman – 1981

Baby, the Secret of Lost Legend – 1985

The Land Before Time – 1988

Carnosaur – 1993

Prehysteria – 1993

Jurassic Park – 1993

Dinosaur – 2000

King Kong – 2005

Land of the Lost – 2009


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