Thursday, March 20, 2008

Justin Wright 1981-2008

The Loss of an Artist and Colleague

Yesterday, I came to work to discover that one of the young artists on our story crew had collapsed in his cubicle and died the night before. Justin Wright was 27, and a happy, energetic, and talented guy. I can't say he was my friend as I barely knew him on a personal level. We had talked about music a bit, shared some cd's, had some amiable debates about the aesthetics of video games (about which he clearly had strong opinions). I watched him give a story pitch a few weeks ago, and was really entertained by his timing, drawing prowess, and ability to stage shots and blend humor and action... He was a talented young artist who was just digging into his work.

Justin was only 7 years older than my own son, and it put me in the position of the parent contemplating that loss, as well as that of the co-worker, whom you may or may not have gotten to know so well. The interview he gave to his former college alumni assoc.:

http://alumni.puc.edu/index.php?id=20,231,0,0,1,0

I think explains not only the reason for Justin's short time on Earth, but why he was happy to be alive. Anyone, any age, can learn from this. Life is short for all of us. Tragically short for some. Fortunately, Justin lived long enough to realize his desire to work as a story artist at a studio he admired. Some of his dreams came true.

My heart goes out to his family and friends, as well as his colleagues here at work who will miss his spirit and contribution to their lives.

Justin's blog:
http://justincwright.blogspot.com/

4 comments:

LHolzer@thereporter.com said...

Bill,

Just found your site. Boy, I really admire your art. Hope all is well with you, Tia Krater, Bob Pauley and everyone at Pixar.

It's really sad about Justin. Pixar has lost too many talents at far too young an age. I know the company I work for is smaller than Pixar -- but I can think of only one real shocking death in my 18 years there.

I understand how one would take such news about Justin and reflect on their own mortality or the mortality of a son.

Joe Ranft's death -- and some parallels to my life -- certainly led to my own period of examination and questioning.

Anyway, take care of yourself. Live, laugh, love with passion and intensity always. As Joe said, "the journey is the reward" and I try to remind myself of that on a fairly regular basis.

TJ said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your colleague. As a mom to a soon-to-be 27 year old son, your post is a jolt. Justin sounds so similar - that zest, the urge to grab everything by the horns and go for it. So sorry to be gone so soon . . .

I found your blog through Robin Purcell's blog. Enjoy so much your portrayal of your landscape and thoughtful writings.

Shari said...

I stumbled upon your website while searching out watercolor artists online. I was drawn into your art and also reading about Justin. I read the article on Justin and have been touched by both your creativity and his. Your work is beautiful and I'm so sorry about your friend.

Anonymous said...

I was Justin's youth pastor from 94-99 in Napa. When I met him he was short and plump and his face was ballooned up from reaction to the anti-rejection meds for his new heart. After he finally got off of them, it was a joy to see him grow tall and slim down. He just blossomed. But his joyful and fun-loving spirit was always there from the first day I met him. On a side note, his mother who taught at our church school, knowing my love for reptiles, gifted me the classroom pet. It was a leopard gecko named Lizzie. Lizzie was lost in the classroom for 5 months. When she was found at the end of the year, she was skin and bones. Mrs. Wright said if I could nurse her back to health, I could keep her. That must have been around '96 or '97. Well, Lizzie is blind in one eye and can't see out of the other so I have to feed her crickets and mealworms by hand, but she's still alive! I often think of the Wright family when I care for Lizzie. My heart aches with them now for their loss, but rejoices with them in the hope of the resurrection when Justin will receive a new body with a perfect heart. Eagerly looking forward to that great day of reunion, NLK