Dixie Darr

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2006 at 6:52 pm

Art as Business

“Perhaps if we talked of art more as a form of invention and entrepreneurship, we would have more enthusiasm for it as an American enterprise.” Julia Cameron Letters to a Young Artist

Today I visited a man who makes dinosaurs for a living. You can make a business out of anything.

Dennis Wilson wasn’t the kind of kid who could name all the dinosaurs by the age of two. He was an artist, not a scientist. After earning a degree in painting and sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design, he started making art from road kill.

You read that right.

It must not have paid very well because he applied for a job at the American MuseumNew York City as a preparator, sculpting and caring for exhibits. He had no background or knowledge in paleontology, but the museum had discovered that it was easier to hire artists and train them in science than to hire scientists and train them to do art. in

He got good at it, realized that not very many people in the country could do what he did, and moved to Denver to open Pangaea Designs. In addition to reconstructing fossils for museums, exhibits and private collectors, he designs animal-shaped toys for a manufacturer.

Dennis’s enthusiasm for his work is obvious as he describes spending six months placing thousands of individual feathers on a mononykus model.

The next time you hear that little voice in your head shooting down your latest great idea by saying, “You can’t make a living doing that,” remember Dennis. And do it anyway. Remember the Chinese proverb, “The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.”

©2006 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved

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