Thief turns hypocrite?

Readers and contributors to the Artists UK DotNet blog are well aware of the controversy surrounding the AVATAR film by James Cameron.  Roger Dean fans all over the world have been clamouring for some kind of justice over what they see as the theft of Roger Dean’s ideas and designs by James Cameron for his AVATAR film.  Now it seems that Cameron is getting attacked as a hypocrite as well.  His seemingly bold environmental stance portrayed in AVATAR and in other ventures appears to be totally out of step with his high carbon footprint lifestyle.  Are we surprised?  Not really I guess.  But if  David Attenborough, who has done very good environmental documentaries, clocked up masses of air miles in the process at least it was for his professional work and not just for fun as it seems to be with Cameron.  What do you think?  Should we hold all celebrities accountable for thier lifestyles or just those like Cameron who are telling us we must do with less while they keep piling up more?  Read all about Cameron being a hypocrite and watch the video here.

Should Roger Dean sue over Avatar film?

As far as we know Roger Dean was not involved at all in the Cameron film Avatar but clearly his influence is there and has been recognised by a lot of people.  Some outraged long-term Roger Dean fans searching in vain for a credit at the end of the film are calling for Roger Dean to sue Cameron.  Others are are asking why he wasn’t honest enough to acknowledge Roger Dean’s influence or involve him in the project. You’ll find all this and a lot more in the discussions and articles on these links –

Digital Spy – designs in Avatar seem remeniscent of Roger Dean but not ready yet to call for Roger Dean suing Cameron. Then there are blogs with stuff like this starting to think there is an issue that needs addressing.

Stupid Future – Roger Dean wants his floating islands back – now it is getting a bit more serious.

Plus of course, the long-term YES fans (Roger Dean did many of the band’s covers and designed their stage sets) have their say here and they are rather more unhappy about their favourite artist being ripped off.

There was also a mention on Roger Dean’s own site but it appears to have disappeared. 

The Artists UK Roger Dean section is here.

What do you think?

Picture of the Month

Well given the controversy over the new film AVATAR and the alleged wholesale ripping off of Roger Dean’s ideas I guess it is only appropriate to make Roger Dean’s ‘Floating Islands’ our Picture of the Month for December.  Here it is:

This image of it is from the Roger Dean Floating Islands poster published by Pomegranate

This image of it is from the Roger Dean Floating Islands poster published by Pomegranate

The thing to remember is that Roger Dean was painting fantasy landscapes before most of those watching the film AVATAR were even born!  If you are under 35 years old then while you were gurgling and attempting to spray the entire room with your latest meal he was out there making amazing art like this.  Roger Dean is thought of as one of the greatest fantasy artists but he thinks of himself much more as a landscape artist and designer.  As is often the case, the works that Roger Dean is so famous for are not necessarily what he considers to be the main areas of his interest or expertise.  Whatever, his influence is tremendous and his surreal floating islands along with his waterfalls under water have captured the imagination of many people including it would now seem a film director called Cameron.

Isn’t the computer spellcheck wonderful !

Some curious things happen to the names of many of the artists whose prints or original work are featured on Artists UK

For instance, Brian Froud hangs up his brush and becomes the relative of a famous psychologist as Bryan Freud whilst rather more appropriately Peter Pracownik becomes Peter Peacenik. Patrick Woodroffe only has to suffer his name being unintelligently mis-spelled by the spellcheck as Patrick Woodruff. Whilst Rodney Matthews becomes the grand master Rod Ney Maîtres. Stuart Dilley finds himself with a problem as Stuart Dilemme and Ed Org perhaps has rather more fun as Ed Orges!

This is of course of no interest whatsoever to John Howe, Alan Lee, Jim Burns, Robert Gould and Roger Dean whose names are entirely unaffected. Well, I hope you enjoyed that. All the best from Kish Savary :-)

Draconian Times indeed

Cover art of Paradise Lost album Draconian Times

Every once in a while there comes along a really new style in art and rock, goth and metal bands have often been the first to pick up on the new art and commission an artist to produce a cover for their latest album in that style. Very often the art is so associated with the band that more than one cover ends up being done with a similar style or even by the same artist. This was the first cover commissioned by Paradise Lost from artist Holly Wurburton but has some similarities to the style of Dave McKeane who did the earlier ‘Shades of God’ and ‘As I Die’ covers. It was also the last one in this style as they changed their style musically and artistically quite radically after this album.

Probably the earliest artist-band symbiosis and also the most long-lived one was that between landscape surrealist Roger Dean and the progressive rock band YES (although Roger Dean did plenty of covers for many other bands too).

If you are looking at the cover for Draconian Times above and puzzling over the names of Holly Wurburton and Dave McKeane and particularly wondering why the latter seems so familiar (possibly because you have been living on the planet Pluto for the last ten years or ended up on this blog by mistake whilst looking for knitting patterns) then Dave McKeane was the artistic genius behind the covers for Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics and the designer for the incredible film Mirrormask. If you love McKeane’s art then you must see that film! It is to large extent Dave McKeane’s art come alive and it is wonderful to see his creatures come alive like that.  Holly Warburton has had perhaps less involvement in the fantasy horror comic genre than Dave McKeane but has produced a fabulous array of fantastic art that you can see on her website.

Returning to the Draconian Times cover, the music, providing it is a genre you are into, is excellent. The first track Enchantment has the most incredible melody that seems so familiar that you feel you must have heard it before. No-one here has managed to figure out where it comes from if it is not original though. Any guesses? There was a large poster of the artwork of the Draconian Tiomes cover produced by the record company but sadly they’d all disappeared before we could lay our hands on any of them. Oh well, you can’t win ’em all …

Holly Warburton art here and Dave McKeane art here

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