Saturday, November 22, 2008

Jonay Bacallado And The "Avatar" Concept Art

**SAME DAY UPDATE: Just got another email from Jonay - he states: "The images were created before anyone at costume department was hired... These pics were my passport, just to prove I could handle the job, they gave me freedom to create".

You now understand my motivation and how these images first appeared. BAH.

You may have recently seen posts related to concept art from Jonay Bacallado - I have received a couple of emails from this guy and here is his last one:

"I'm Jonay Bacallado, the author of the images. They are part of my artwork, my personal artwork, and it has nothing to do with the actual concept art of the film. The interview will be removed from as well, I've spoken about his incident with responsibles of the program, becuase information it's not accurate, and things can be misunderstood. Please, I have to ask you to remove this information, because the images shown are part of my own portfolio, no one has asked for authorisation, and of course,and most importantly, those designs have nothing to do with the real concepts and designs. I spoke during the interview about my experience, images were taken from my website, and they asume they are real concept art, but is not. Just to emphasise what I'm trying to explain mention that the design of characters have been done by another team, and we only get invlolved in costume, and as I said before, Avatar is far from this personal creation of mine included in my portfolio. This would get me into trouble, and without a reason, because this is NOT AVATAR CONCEPT ART. So please, people who follows Avatar news deserve to know that this concepts are FAKES, they are my creation, but have nothing to do with the work done in pre-production. Thank you, Jonay Bacallado."

Here are my comments: Firstly, from my point of view the video (Spanish?) showed Jonay being interviewed on television with supposed authorized images of his work as a concept artist. I mean, what network doesn't get permission before showing an interview? Isn't that part of the due diligence of a television network? It was from this video that the original images were screen captured (by myself and apparently IO9) and this whole commotion started. One would assume that an NDA expired or he has permission from Fox.

Secondly, he is clearly listed as an Illustrator and Costume Designer for AVATAR on his IMDB resume page. Clearly he had access or even designed for the movie so why would these images not be real or at least heavily influenced by them? They would be.

Thirdly, the images did not have any text on them saying that they are fake, representations, fanart, or anything of the sort. To the contrary, they had text on them saying "First Concept", etc. Hardly the terms used for fanart by someone actually working on the movie.

Lastly, I am at a loss as to why someone who worked on AVATAR with obvious access to the creatures therein, took it upon himself to create creatures that in no way represent anything to do with AVATAR, yet are clearly from AVATAR.

I think the situation stinks quite frankly. I think Fox forced him to contact everyone under threat of a lawsuit to state that they are fake. In my opinion, they are not fake, but early representations of the Na'vi. I will stand by that statement too. Sure the final creatures in AVATAR may look slightly different - heck maybe quite a bit different given that huge sinister behemoth discovered in our exclusive AVATAR set photo - but the point is they started out looking like what we had the opportunity to look at.

Frustrated? You bet. Disappointed that Fox can't get their act together to appease their would be audience with at least teasers - so that young aspiring illustrators and designers don't have to worry as much about making a mistake and get sued? You bet. Your target market is hungry for material - it's time. Really.

So we are back to hoping that their is teaser material at the 3D Entertainment Summit in LA in early December and/or in front of DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. Great.

As far as Jonay is concerned I have no ill will toward him - he is just doing what he is told. I wish him Godspeed.

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Jim Dorey
jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

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