fossils

Permia, the dawn of wearable prehistory

8e6ac47821297aeee8c843e680637dca

Franz
Anthony

Editor and Artist
With holiday season coming up, science-themed gifts have started popping up all over the internet. Meet the siblings behind Permia, who aim to spread their love of paleontology through their line of apparel.

Tell us a little bit about yourselves.

We're Michael and Manuel Fleischmann - siblings who grew up outside of Detroit, Michigan, and who share a profound passion for ancient life! Since we were young, we were fascinated by dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, and that sense of wonder never diminished. As children, we watched all the documentaries and read all the books we could, and our parents instilled in us a respect for reason and a drive to discover.


As you might expect, our childhood heroes were paleontologists like Bob Bakker, Jack Horner, and Phil Currie. In our dayjobs, we're business consultants, having worked together for nearly a decade now; but, we've never lost sight of our first love - paleontology!



What is Permia?

Permia was born out of our dream to make the sort of products that we'd love to collect, but never could find, and to build a brand that we knew we could hold to the highest standards - both in terms of science and art. After months of research, and the luckiest break imaginable in "drafting" paleontologist Scott Hartman as our partner in crime, we decided to pull the trigger on creating the ultimate company for those who share our zeal for ancient zoology! Now, after more than a year of hard work, we're excited to be launching Permia, and we've been fortunate to receive tremendous support and encouragement in the process!


If you're wondering where the name "Permia" came from, we decided to stylize the name of one of Earth's major geologic ages - the Permian - to make it something memborable and apropos of our brand. The Permian was host to a remarkable abundance of life, perhaps the most famous of which was Dimetrodon (hence our logo!).


Dimitri is adorable! How did he come to life?

Thanks very much! Our mascot, whom we've nicknamed "Dimitri," as well as our actual Dimetrodon art, are based upon a brand-new reconstruction that Scott Hartman expertly crafted for us, using all the most recent anatomical data from peer-reviewed scientific literature. To the best of our knowledge, it's the first wholly novel presentation of a Dimetrodon since Romer's work in the early 1920s. Unlike traditional depictions, our Dimetrodon carries itself with an upright gait (reflecting evidence from its trackways), and its spines protrude above the webbing in its distinctive sail. Dimitri evolved as a stylized counterpart to his "official" cousin featured on our clothing and collectibles, and we think that his orange eye and sail give him his own delightful appeal!



What kind of products do you plan to release in the first batch?

One of the most difficult decisions we faced when launching Permia was choosing which creatures we'd flesh out first. While we love the big names, like Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops, we really wanted to get creative and bring to life some prehistoric animals that, while less well known, are equally captivating! So, our "starting lineup" includes Amargasaurus, Bambiraptor, Ceratosaurus, Dimetrodon (of course!), Styracosaurus, and Tylosaurus.


As a clothing and collectibles brand, our initial product lines include our signature Fossil Fusion T-Shirts, our X-Ray Cards, and our Paleoscape Canvases.


Our Fossil Fusion Tees combine into one garment the two essential elements that comprise each of our prehistoric animals: their skeletal (on the back of the shirt) and their matching, full-color life restoration (on the front)! We've selected the softest fabric blend we could find, and ensured that the color of the shirt perfectly complements the hues of the creature it showcases. Also, rather than going for the all-too-common boxy cut you'd find at most museum gift shops, we've chosen a fit that's much truer to size, making sure that both you and the artwork you're wearing look their best! We decided to go completely tagless, making our Fossil Fusion shirts as cozy as possible.



We knew the mainstay of our business was going to be clothing, but we also realized that our artwork was collectible in its own right. While printed paleoart can be stunning, we think it's safe to say that there's only so much you can "do" with a painting, no matter how beautiful. So, we wracked our brains, trying to come up with a novel way to allow you to truly interact with our art, rather than just having it sit there on a flat sheet. Finally, after weeks of experimentation, we had a eureka moment: why not merge the two main elements of all of our creatures - the skeletals and life restorations - into something three-dimensional and touchable! That's how our X-Ray cards were born! Our first step is to reproduce our full-color artwork, in all its detail, on soft-to-the-touch 5"x7" cards. Then comes the really exciting part: on top of that colored print, we fuse a transparent, 3D layer of gloss, following the contours of the animal's skeleton! The effect is incredible - depending upon how the light hits the card, you might only see the fleshed-out animal; but, when tilted or shown in a different light, you see all the bones on top! Even more amazing is the fact that if you run your fingers over the card, you actually can feel the ridges of the skeleton!


Lastly, but definitely not least, we have our Paleoscape Canvases! We've taken each of our creatures and immersed them in their prehistoric natural habitats - or what we've come to term "Paleoscapes." Combining our rigourous science with our commitment to creative perfection, we're really excited to offer these breathtaking and massive (~24"x36") works of art!



From your t-shirts to x-ray cards, you seem to be fascinated by Hartman's skeletals. Why did you decide to do reconstructions based on his work, and how you ended up working with him.

We certainly owe a huge debt of gratitude to Scott Hartman! Not only was he gracious enough to develop our novel skeletal reconstructions, but he also painstakingly crafted the original paintings of the life restorations upon which our artwork is based. We've been big fans of Scott's work for quite some time, and we were elated when we contacted him about Permia back in 2015, and he agreed to be our chief scientific consultant and paleoartist. Scott is renowned for his academic acumen, attention to detail, and unparalleled versatility as a paleoartist; and, quite simply, we wanted to work with the best! He's been incredibly supportive of our efforts, and we've had a blast collaborating with him over the past year!



I can see that you pay great attention to details. The rigorous reconstruction of the animals, the graphics stylization, and even the packaging, everything is beautifully thought out. What is your working process like?

Thanks again for the compliment! Since our process is so integral to our products, we're pleased to share a "behind-the-scenes" look into how we craft our creatures and translate them into their finished forms: After we've identified the target animal, Scott starts by conducting rigorous research, poring through academic literature, and sometimes even studying the fossils directly. Eventually, after multiple collaborative iterations, he develops a skeletal reconstruction of our creature in a dynamic, yet wholly plausible pose. Next, we find an inspiration for the color of our animal, derived from a modern-day species. Then, Scott sets to work fleshing out a life restoration by building upon our skeletal, while integrating knowledge of the creature's musculature and tissue structure. Once this process is complete, we translate both the skeletal and the life restoration into finely tuned and carefully stylized vector forms - preserving detail while permitting almost infinite flexibility of scale. Lastly, we superimpose the vectorized form of the skeletal on the vectorized life restoration to ensure perfect alignment, enabling us to achieve our trademark Fusion and X-Ray effects!


No description of our process or branding would be complete without recognizing Diana Hlevnjak's invaluable role in all of it! Diana is our lead graphic artist, with numerous awards to her name, and she is responsible for the unique look and feel of the Permia brand, from our creatures all the way through to our packaging. Her vision for aesthetic coherence, coupled with her remarkable ability to transform organic paintings into vectorized renderings, is the essence of what gives Permia its distinct and instantly recognizable presence. We can't thank her enough for all that she does to ensure perfection in our work!


We at Earth Archives strive to embrace the love for science. How do you think projects like Permia can introduce the wider audience to the wonderful world of paleontology?


As you probably can tell, we share your love for science (of course, we've been admirers of Earth Archives for a while now)! One of our key objectives in developing Permia has been to ensure that we're not just "preaching to the choir." While we whole-heartedly embrace the paleontological and paleoart community to whom we owe so much, we believe that Permia has the potential for a much broader sphere of influence. Because our artwork is so vibrant and eye-catching, we've been able to capture the attention of those who simply love art or love animals, but don't necessarily have much familiarity with prehistoric life or the science behind its study. Once we've "lured" them in, we find that most people become captivated with our creatures, and want to learn as much as they can about them. Particularly with our X-Ray Cards, we've emphasized their educational potential by taking the back of our cards and turning them into fact-filled snapshots of data about the animal on the front. Featuring details like its length, weight, diet, range, and age, they've become the perfect combination of art and science, without compromising on either!


Once this kickstarter campaign is over, what do you plan to do?

Well, assuming we don't collapse from exhaustion before then, we plan to hit the ground running! We have our work cut out for us on the manufacturing front, ensuring that the color renderings on our shirts are as accurate and vivid as possible (often, more than 300 distinct colors in a single creature!) - a process we've been in the midst of for months now, and that finally seems to be nearing perfection. Then, we're really eager to start fleshing out more creatures! We're actively working on a Stegosaurus, and we're basing his coloration on a Green Thornytail Iguana. What makes him special is that he's the first rigorous reconstruction of a Stegosaurus to be based upon the remarkably complete British Museum of Natural History specimen. That specimen has upended much of what we previously thought about Stegosaurus anatomy, including its neck length, plate configuration, and even the articulation of its thagomizer!


Then, if we're fortunate enough to hit our Stretch Goals, we're hoping to start fleshing out an even more diverse array of animals, including Anzu, Diplocaulus, Euoplocephalus, Uintatherium, and others! Of course, we're actively looking into new garment and collectible concepts, and we've begun research into zippered hoodies and specially-made sticker sheets featuring our trademark Permia style! We really feel that the sky's the limit, and we're committed to maintaining our focus on the science behind our art, throughout!


Visit and back Permia’s Kickstarter campaign now!

8e6ac47821297aeee8c843e680637dca

Franz
Anthony

Editor and Artist


http://sulc.us/tj0k3
http://www.eartharchives.org/articles/permia-the-dawn-of-wearable-prehistory/