Welcome to my Web page! My goal as a paleoartist is to create images that bring the creatures and environments of the past back to life, and in this page you will find examples of my work, as well as getting a glimpse of my background and of my reconstruction methods.
With its new format, this page is now better prepared to keep track of my ongoing projects in various fields, from publishing to exhibits and audiovisual. You can also check related contents at my blog www.chasingsabretooths.wordpress.com and at the online store www.megantereonstore.com.
A Note on Science and Art in reconstruction.
When I started my professional career as a paleoartist in late 1980s my background was essentially artistic, but my long interest in prehistoric life pushed me to learn much more about the science of paleontology. For this task I have counted with the invaluable help of many scientists, a process that in turn led me to become involved in research. Now I cannot conceive my work without this scientific component.
This way of bringing together science and art is enriching, but it is not without difficulties. Conceptually, it implies a sustained tension when combining the approaches of research (which requires accuracy and objectivity) and of artistic creativity (which requires intuitive vision and subjective judgements of value). On the other hand, it is difficult to lead a “dual” professional life as implied by the speciality of reconstruction, while living in a system that favors the extreme specialization of individuals for the sake of productivity. In the practice, professional artists (especially visual artists) and scientists today live in environments that are worlds apart in terms of goals and working phylosophy. In contrast, the blend of science and art in paleontological reconstruction is intimate and inseparable, and it requires that the practicioner devotes lots of time and effort to both aspects of this work, even though most likely only one of those aspects will provide for a living.
My approach to reconstruction is not new, I just try to continue the line started by pioneers like Charles Knight, which in turn relates to the naturalistic attitude of Renaissance masters. The basic premise of this approach is that if you want to recreate the life of the past, you need your artistic tools but you also need to know enough about the anatomy and biology of the animals so that you can make the right choices during the process. A general knowledge of ecology, landscape and vegetation will also help in the depiction of believable environments for these creatures to inhabit. Reconstruction is a discipline in itself, and to expect that other specialists will decide on every aspect of a reconstruction and leave for the artist only the technical execution and aesthetics is not the most reasonable or efficient choice, but too often that is precisely what is done. The process becomes much more efficient when the reconstructor has the biological background to put in perspective the contributions of the various specialists and when he knows in detail those aspects of paleobiology which are more pertinent to his work, such as functional anatomy and muscle-skeleton correlations. Such a working modality is the only one that will ultimately allow this discipline to evolve and to yield results worth of the treasures of the fossil record.