In 2014, visual artist and paleoartist Brent Hoekstra spent seven months creating a collection of “flyby” prints for a university program: The Virtual Art Gallery. He asked his subjects to “fly off” their paleontology knowledge to depict some of the most interesting facial features of late Jurassic dinosaurs. Rather than using a model, Hoekstra created three-dimensional dioramas using the paintings of these dinosaurs. This, he says, enabled him to appreciate the complexity of the color scheme involved in a larger scene: the “color production of later-period dinosaurs was no simple white spots.”
The colors and pattern play on all the bones in the setting: Hoekstra asks his subjects to paint something by putting their hands into a clay pot, but later, when the pots have been thrown away, the palms are covered in reptilian-like pellets. Hoekstra’s paintings refer not only to the complex patterns, but also to their show-and-tell approaches. “They frequently use myriad tools, colors, and materials to explore and explain the composition,” he says. One of his works, The Coast, depicts a six-armed dinosaur in an Ootan hongu, with its fingers, the lowest of which is painted in black. The artist calls the snake-like head part of a crude costume. “The face looks like something you would see in an ape movie,” Hoekstra says. The feathers on its wings appear to be 3D-printed.
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