May 24, 2023

Dinosaurs at Work

         Allow me to introduce you to two recent small blocks featuring a new theme for me: dinosaurs.  Like lots of people, I’ve always been interested in dinosaurs, but for a couple of reasons they hadn’t heretofore been subjects of my block prints.  One reason is that I could hardly take my own photographs of them, so I’d have to use other artists’ versions as reference, which I usually try to avoid.  (Of course I have to refer to other artists’ work with mythical creatures, but with those I’m also free to change as much as I want to make them my own.  With dinosaurs, on the other hand, I need to stick to reality at least as much as we currently know it - which is shown only by other artists’ work.)  The second reason I haven’t done dinosaurs before is that I didn’t have any idea that would in any way bring something new or contribute something that hadn’t been done before - and probably much better - by someone else.  So, what changed?
        Parasaurolophus is the dinosaur known for having a large hollow crest on its head.  Scientists aren’t entirely sure what these crests might have been for or how they were part of the parasaurolophus lifestyle, but a current leading theory is that they were resonating tubes to give the parasaurolophus a wonderful booming call of some sort.  Parasaurolophus is also the dinosaur that was my son P’s favorite back when he had a more active interest in dinosaurs, and therefore I have a particular sentimental fondness for it myself.  And one day the idea came to me of a parasaurolophus singing… in a smoky nightclub… perhaps in the 1940s… Parasaurolophus Sings the Blues.
        Not too long after, I got the idea of a great blue heron riding a bicycle.  (I can’t break it down any further or tell you where that idea came from.)  But I was also playing around with ideas for a more “serious” realistic great blue heron design, so I was considering other bike-riding options, and that led me again to dinosaurs.  So there in my brain was something like perhaps an oviraptor or deinonychus riding a bicycle… but once again that vintage vibe seemed like even more fun… a dandy dinosaur riding a velocipede from around 1868…  Of course once I thought of velocipede, it had to be a velociraptor.  Contrary to their portrayal in “Jurassic Park,” velociraptors are actually a bit small to ride a human-sized bicycle, but the wordplay was irresistible: Velociraptor Rides a Velocipede.
        These are both small pieces, not quite minis, but definitely “just for fun”-sized.  Will there be more in the series?  I don’t currently have another idea, but I wouldn’t rule it out if something tickles my fancy.  What’s your favorite dinosaur?  And what do you think its favorite hobby might be?
        For more dinosaurian fun, check out these prior posts:

            Words of the Month - Dinosaurs

            Dinosaur Fantasy Books

            A winged theropod

            A robot-ish T. rex

            Where the dinosaurs might live in my neighborhood

[Pictures: Parasaurolophus Sings the Blues, rubber block print by AEGN, 2023;

Velociraptor Rides a Velocipede, rubber block print by AEGN, 2023.]

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