What is it that you dig about dinosaurs?

cool_garyIs that a pun? “Dig” about dinosaurs? Oh dear.

That’s hard to answer. There’s so much loaded into my whole concept of dinosaur. But if had to try:

I feel a little thrill every time I remind myself that these were real animals. Not the rampaging, bellowing, artist-created monsters of books, TV and movies (though those are awesome too), but actual creatures that were born, lived, ate, pooped, made more little dinosaurs and died. My childish glee doesn’t come from imagining a T. rex and Triceratops squaring off for a duel; it comes from thinking about how they were just as real as a cow or tiger or ostrich. I get a buzz from remembering dinosaurs sometimes sneezed, or got sick, or had fun wallowing in a pool of rainwater, or maybe sat in funny ways that – if we could – someone would snap a pic of to turn into a internet meme.

But we can’t snap that pic, and that’s the second thing I dig. Dinosaurs are ultimately unknowable, despite our best efforts. We see shadows of them, echoes, the traces they left behind. But like empty bottles, a broken hammock and a small pool of vomit might help you imagine the party, it’s not the same as being there. I think dinosaurs hit the same pleasure center of our brains that conspiracy theories and fan dancers do: the part that imagines if you could just get one more morsel of information, one more peek, you’d finally see it all. So you try and try, lean in and peer around, but all for naught, there is only the tease. So our love is based, in part, on longing.

How did you get inspired to make your art?

il_570xN.615057065_g53aI used to draw dinosaurs all the time, well into college. And I still buy books about them, read the latest findings. For a time I even wanted to be a paleontologist, but life has twists and turns and I pursued other things.

Julia approached me about a year ago, asking if I wanted to sell art prints at the first-ever Phoenix DinoCon. It sounded like a lot of work, so I only wanted to do it if it would be something fun for me. I pitched, fully expecting rejection:

“I’ll do it if I can, I dunno, draw dinosaurs fighting robots or something.”

Without even blinking, she said “Alright! Yeah, do that!”

Now I work on or at least think about DINOSAURS vs. MARSBOTS every day. I don’t know what the hell happened.

What will you be bringing to Phoenix DinoCon this year?

il_570xN.614936592_88jiDINOSAURS vs. MARSBOTS

DINOSAURS vs. MARSBOTS is the story of the most astonishing and devastating conflict you’ve never heard about: the Dinosaur-Martian War. Only a few decades ago, Martians decided they had learned everything they could from abductions and finally invaded. The world’s governments were on the ropes when our greatest supercomputer, the Phantastictron 5000, suggested a crazy course of action: recreate dinosaurs to fight off the alien invaders.

It’s been kept top secret for years, but I’m telling the world about it via art prints and an activity book filled with illustrations, games, puzzles, and highly classified documents – consequences be damned!

P.S. I’ll also have a Phoenix DinoCon exclusive print for sale!

Where is the best place to see more of your work online?

Anything else you’d like to add?

By telling you all this, I’ve probably put your life in danger. Sorry about that.

We are THRILLED to have Gary as part of Phoenix DinoCon’s Velociraptor Vendor Hall on August 2nd 2014 A.D. Get an early peek at DINOSAURS vs. MARSBOTS on Gary’s Etsy page.