Sep 12, 2008

Robert A. Winquist, "Bob" 1923-2008


Wearing a typically bemused expression. This is the only picture I have of Bob that I took myself, circa 1990. Proof he didn't always wear the shades!

I've just had the news that Bob Winquist, mentor to many, many artists and friend to all, a gentleman, teacher and brilliantly talented artist, has died.

I don't know why this is such a shock, given his age. Perhaps it's because if anyone could figure out the secret to immortality, it'd be Bob(or he'd know someone who could).

His niece and great-nephew sent this message to share wth you:

Dear Jenny;

By way of introduction, my name is Joyce Snyder, the niece of Robert A. Winquist, and it is with a heavy and saddened heart that I am writing to you. Our family wishes to inform you of the passing of Robert this afternoon, September 10, 2008. He passed away peacefully today as his body simply said, “Bob it is time to go home.”

Uncle Bob so often spoke of the multitudes of people that were part of his life, the fellow artists, imaginers, designers, students, etc. There were no classifications or hierarchies when it came to Bob’s acquaintances, just friends. From Chouinard’s to CalArts, Disney to Pixar; even a quick search on the Internet reveals the many artists that give claim to the influence that Bob had upon their artistic development.

Although Uncle Bob has left us this day, he will always be with us as his love of the arts, willingness, and dedication to teach, has embedded a piece of “Bob” into each and every one of his students. It is these same students who are now creating and passing along the ingenious insight and creativity that Uncle Bob so loved and dedicated his life to.

At this time the family wishes to thank you for being an important part of Robert’s life experience.



They're hoping to compile a list of those who should know, and obtain contact details for them, I'd imagine a memorial will be planned but have no idea what shape it would take. If anyone would like their information passed along to his family, please send if to me here: jlerew@earthlink.net.

And please, share any memories or thoughts on Bob here if you like. I know there are a lot of people who'd enjoy reading them.

Bob's influence was prodigious and spread ahead of him into the world, and his roots ran deep. It's impossible for me to do him justice on the fly having just heard this news.

He'll be so missed. How lucky we all were to have been able to know him a little, enjoy his company and glean his hard won and always joyfully shared wisdom.

Fare well, Bob.

Portrait by Tom McGrath

EDITED TO ADD: The Los Angeles Times ran an article on Bob in the paper on Wednesday, September 17th (it's also online).



27 comments:

Tom Pope said...

Jenny- Thanks for posting about this. I have frequently wondered about Bob's situation in recent years. I am fortunate to possess an original work of art by Bob; doubly so because it was created specifically for me. One week in my second year of his design class (Char Anim '89-'90) he asked if I cared to teach our class the next week. I could give any assignment I wished, and I asked if he would do the assignment as well. Of course, he said, and it is terrific. I framed it and it's hung on the wall whereever I've lived since. The pushpin holes are visible and it's signed and dated. I looked at it an extra time this afternoon. What an honor. What a guy.

Pete Docter said...

Hey Jenny,

Thanks for passing along this news. It hit me surprisingly hard, considering I hadn't seen Bob in 18 years, and in retrospect barely knew the guy other than the head of the CalArts Character Animation department when I was there. But I think of him often, and still consider him a seminal person in my development as an artist and a person. What an inspiration he was! His approach to design still serves me well in many ways each day. And his enthusiasm for us students and our work, along with his amazing stories of life in the big wide world, made me feel like I could do anything.

He was the Mysterious Design Teacher who seemed to know everyone, been present at every major historical event, and designed half of the world. Bob Stories are legend: He designed the tide logo. The Coke swish. The McDonald's french fry container ("You know why we put yellow stripes inside of the box?" No, why, Bob? "Because it looks like more fries in there!"). He was present at the burning of the MGM backlot as they filmed "Gone With the Wind." He "babysat" Marilyn Monroe to keep her sober during filming of "Some Like it Hot." It seemed as though he'd worked on almost every film or product, or at least had a story about it. And these stories were inevitably and inexplicably turned into proof that we could do it all too.

Bob was a remarkable person. And he made the world a richer place for many of us for having been a part of it.

Jeff said...

Wow. This is sad news indeed. I met Bob on my first trip to Cal Arts during the Christmas break in 1989. I was wandering around the Character Animation department and ran into Bob. Luckily I had my portfolio with me and he wanted to take a look. He flipped through it and then wrote a note. He said to take it up to admissions and tell them that I was accepted into the department. I was shocked and not really expecting this because I heard it was a hard department to get into. I didn't know what to say except thanks and practically ran upstairs to admissions. I showed them the note feeling especially proud but came to find out that Bob did this on a regular basis. I did have to submit a formal portfolio and they begrudgingly honored the note when I applied. Thanks Bob!

The last time I saw Bob was in Valencia 2001. My wife is Maurice Noble's co-executor and we were having his estate sale at our house. Around mid-day a short guy with silver hair and sunglasses (sans triangle) hopped out of a car and began to look around. I did a double take. "Bob?" I said unsure. "Oh hi...." he replied in that way his voice trailed off at the end of each sentence. "Hey remember me? I was in your class at CalArts!" He said "Oh yes I remember you!" (I don't think he did) We chatted for a bit and then he said,"Boy you sure have alot of stuff here." I paused for a second and then said,"Yeah this is Maurice's Noble's stuff. He passed away a few months ago." This news caught him off guard. Since they were contemporaries it probably hit him harder. He said goodbye rather abruptly and made a B line to his car a drove off.

Bob was a great teacher. He always made you think about your choices and critiqued assignments only with positive observations. He would never say no and would participate in any student's silly film project. Present company included. He was also an enigma. I've heard all of the fables surrounding Bob's illustrious career and especially the ones surrounding that curious gold triangle on his sunglasses. He made the Character Animation department feel warm, interesting and mysterious. When I think of Bob I will always hear those words of gentle encouragement, "It's wonderful! I love it!"

Thanks Bob.

mark kennedy said...

Jenny -
Thanks for posting about Bob. I am sorry to hear that he is gone. I have to admit that I rarely (if ever) talked to him at CalArts outside of Design Class but he had a huge impact on me while I was there. I still remember our first day in his class, and how all of us were intrigued and curious about the little gold square on his sunglasses. He certainly cultivated that air of mystery and loved to encourage people to be inquisitive about everything, including him. Remember one of our classmates asked him, in that first meeting, to remove his sunglasses? And he did, for a moment.

He once told us a story that he was surprised in his garage one morning by two men with a gun that told him to get into his car. They got in alongside him and told him to drive. As he was pulling out of his driveway, his neighbor was jogging by and Bob rolled down his window and said to his neighbor "Say hello to your wife for me". Well, his neighbor had just gotten divorced and he knew Bob knew this, so the neighbor knew it was code for something being wrong and called the police. The police were able to pull the car over pretty quickly and save Bob from being kidnapped, and Bob never really found out what the kidnappers intended. Was the story true? I don't know but it was entertaining and certainly added to his legend.

Bob taught us a lot about design, of course, but I also remember a story he told about having his own design firm and dealing with a difficult client. This client was rude to Bab and his staff and so Bob told the guy to get out in the middle of a meeting and dropped the account completely and refused to have anything else to do with the guy. He taught us to stand up for ourselves and to not accept being treated poorly by the people we work with. He also taught us not to be prima donnas, not to treat other people in a way that we wouldn't want to be treated.

The limitations he set for us when he gave us assignments taught us to enjoy having limitations, to embrace them and work within them to create great works of art. But he also taught us not to put limitations on ourselves, on our talent or on what we thought ourselves capable of. I know that sounds corny, but it's true. The only shame of it all is that so few of us were ready to hear all of his great words and know what to make of it all, back when we were just starting out. If only we could have kept going to his Design Class every year for the next ten years or so after we left CalArts, then maybe we would have really started to understand all that he was saying to us.

I'm sorry I didn't say it back then, but I will say it now: thanks for everything Bob.

Ralph Eggleston said...

Terribly sad news. I was lucky enough to be in Bob's very first class at CalArts in 1983. He was dressed very sharply, and very conservatively. He had dark shades on, which he kept on for the entire class. He calmly and deliberatly walked around the class talking about design, and he was was VERY serious. Only later did he tell me he was SCARED TO DEATH. Lucky for all of us, the very next week he showed up wearing cowboy fringe decorated with metallic tape--and really became the "Bob" we all know and love.

Bob took over the class at CalArts as a promise to his good friend--and the previous design teacher--Bill Moore, who was ill and shortly thereafter passed away. Bob's style of teaching was about as far from Bill Moore as could be, which seemed a bit odd to some of the older classes who had been taught by the brilliant Bill Moore. Bob was an optimist to the extreme, and was one of the world's best cheerleaders to a bunch of green film students.

Bob's wild stories and enthusiasm are the stuff of legend. From his days in the old Studio System (sneaking around watching Greta Garbo-his idol-as she entered and exited her dressing room), to his attending and then teaching at Chouinard, his design firm, Winquist & Hammond, in Atlanta Georgia, his work in film, and his tenure at CalArts, Bob was a whirlwind of energy and ideas-and was never hemmed in by so-called design "theories" or staid convention.

He's going to missed terribly, but he's happy, I'm sure, to know how many people he's influenced and that he'll never truly be "gone" as long as those who knew him continue to do the best they can.

I think I'll eat some guacamole.

Anonymous said...

I loved how positive Bob was and how he said that a students' assignment was no different than a work done by one of the Masters.

He found delight and worth in all levels of design and art.
And that's why he had a students' drawing displayed at home right next to a Picasso.
He claimed to have them on display in a room where he could look at them and enjoy them every day...the bathroom. :)

barry johnson

The Adventure of BeeBao said...

thank you for spreading the news, as i have received a lot of emails attributed to your sharing this. i have not seen Bob in many, many years, but have always thought of him, as he had a lasting impression on me, and so many other people i know. while at CIA, he helped me through a couple tough times i was dealing with, and gave me a sense of feeling that things would work themselves out, and, he was right. he was the first educator in my life, who i truly looked up to, and was inspired by. just sitting in class, and listening to him talk about the most simple of subject matter was always a treat, as he spoke about things with concern, passion, and such a gentle outlook.

having a design guy like Bob running the char. animation dept. was a smart move by CIA, as Bob had his hands in so many fields through out his career, that he could speak to virtually any design culture and know what he was talking about. this of course, added fuel to his stories of professional life, being in the trenches, and the horrors and hilarity that came with it. there was nothing like a tale, from "Uncle Winky".

once, as we were all waiting for him to come into the classroom, he walked in, stood in front of the class and said "egg"..........then said, "see you guys next week"......(something along those lines)......everybody chuckled, looked at each other puzzled, and a week later, the class came back with some of the most absurd, inventive approaches to the requested subject matter. everybody rose to the occasion, just to please Bob.....everybody always wanted to please him, because it was truly rewarding to receive any sort of praise from him, and he handed it out like he truly meant it.
Another class, he just had us watch the laser disc of the film "Diva", as he thought i was important for us to see the art direction of the film (he was right)......then, later that year, required us to all go see "Blue Velvet" while it was still in theaters, offering to buy the tickets for anybody who could not afford to go to the movies that week.....again, he was right.
i would have never thought it possible, learning so much from someone TALKING about art/design, let along making it such a engaging experience. but he truly delivered, and in all my years of schooling, and professional life, i have yet to meet anybody who could do it as well, or with the same grace.

i have to say a late THANK YOU to Bob, here, as its the only way i can now. i just wish i would have had the opportunity to, in person, to let him know that it all worked out, and that i appreciated his guidance, and influence. the slice of life that i had the good luck of having Bob be a part of, will forever be a highlight for me.

my positive thoughts to his family, and to all who were touched by Bob.........

miQ willmott

Anonymous said...

We really have no way of giving back to those who taught us, but to help those coming up now.

Ash Brannon said...

Jenny,

What an incredible trip down memory lane, reading all of the posts here of old friends and classmates. Not only the great stories Bob used to tell, but all those amazing design lessons that we use everyday without even consciously thinking about them.

I got in touch with Dale McBeath, who hadn't heard the news. But he told me told me that Bob, for whatever reason, had been on his mind for the past week.

Like a lot of us, I tried to get in touch with Bob several times over the years. And everytime I saw a buttery yellow Mercedes, I'd look to see if the license plate frame read, "I'd Rather Be Flying." Always hoping Bob would be behind the wheel.

I'll probably keep on looking.

Ash

Howard E. Baker said...

Having attended Cal Arts Character Animation from 1982 – 1986, I and my classmates were witness to an incredible change in a department that had for lack of a better words, deteriorated into a mock Disney training camp. If your animation was not Disneyesque, not just in quality but in subject matter, you were not supported. With the departure of a few key players at the end of the 2nd term in ‘83 and the addition of a few new teachers, namely Bob Winquist, the department was shocked into a new era of exploration in the art of animation that blossomed into the current wave of animation that exists in tv, film, and the internet today. Bob’s nurturing allowed students to feel free to experiment with this limitless art form and become artists in the craft of animation. Those students wishing to be Disneyesque were supported and given the kind of instruction they needed but those who were looking for an independent spirit were also given the go ahead to unique.
The last time I saw Bob was in 1991 with my good friend Ken Bruce at Bob’s home in Valencia. He spent the afternoon showing us the art work of his partner, as usual, showing off someone else’s gifts. I’ve spent a lifetime in animation hoping to stay true to myself as an artist and filmmaker and it was Bob Winquist who gave me the gift of allowing me to be me. Bob, it was WONDERFUL.

Rick Snyder said...

Hello everyone;

My name is Rick Snyder, the Great Nephew of Robert (Bob) Winquist. On behalf of the family I would like to thank you all for the wonderful stories and memories of Uncle Bob, it is so nice to see that Bob had such an impact on all of the students that he so loved.

Does anyone out there by any chance know who the student was that created and gave to Uncle Bob a sculptured bust of a "Deranged Mickey Mouse," with fangs? My mother would like to put the artist's name with the piece.

And to Ash Brannon, if you are ever in Ventura County, keep your eyes open for that Mercedes. Uncle Bob sold it to me Two years ago and I am still driving it, along with the license plate frame, "I'd rather be flying."

God Bless You All.

Sincerely,

Rick Snyder

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Bob was a superb human being and a terrific catalyst for the creativity of others. His passing is an immense loss.

I wish I'd kept up with him during his last years. I'd have visited him and tried to cheer him up. As someone else said, I guess the only way we can pay tribute to him now is to help other artists on the way up.

Tim Myers said...

He's not gone! Bob is not dead and gone! He lives in all of us.

That's how he found the secret to immortality.

He will always be the youngest man I've ever known and the closest thing to an Angel I will ever experience while I'm on this earth.

My God if I could only grow up to become half the inspiration, half the man Bob is.

I Love you Bob. And God how I miss you.

Dave Fulp said...

Jenny, thanks for this blog.

That first class in 1983 was unforgettable. Every day we had design class at CalArts there was almost full attendance, unusual in that so many people were working so late into the night on their films that they couldn't wake up in the morning. But for Bob's class, well it was an event. You could never ever ruffle Bob's feathers, he always welcomed anyone's comments. His stories of his days in Hollywood working on the sets of Gone With The Wind and The Wizard Of Oz, and working with Howard Hughes, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Michael Jackson, and so many others, and his experiences as a ball turret gunner in WWII, kept us green kids riveted.

Bob was an incredible mentor to me, he was warmly reassuring at all times, and never gave me any negative feedback. I loved talking to him early in the morning before class. He said that if he could do it all over again, start from scratch, he would welcome the opportunity. He opened our imaginations to seeing the world in fascinating new ways, his lessons were much deeper than just analyzing form and structure on a page.

Some of us were concerned in the early 80's that the emerging computer technology was going to leave us without a career, because at the time we were learning to draw and animate the old classic traditional style of the masters at Disney. Many of my colleagues were already pushing the envelope of hand drawn animation, but we were mostly doing it the old fashioned way. Bob reassured us that we would be the creative leaders in this new era of computerized fimmaking, and that it would be, as he so often said, "WONDERFUL! MARVELOUS!"

Bob was a maverick innovator in the CalArts Character Animation Department. He was our champion at a time when funds were being diverted to other departments without our knowledge. Apparently, the Character Animation Department was bringing in most of the tuition money for the film school, and historcally our members have had the highest rate of employment in the school. His efforts brought support from Hollyood directly to the department in the way of money, grants, scholarships, and equipment. He had many connections, and he profoundly helped in the advancement of talented young people to produce the remarkable animated and live action movies we watch today.

Bob was "wonderful", and a breath of fresh air in our education process, there was so much pressure on us. He lives in our hearts, and we CalArts alumni talk about our memories of Bob and his classes every time we gather for social events. His enthusiasm will never be forgotten, we will always keep him alive in our hearts.

John S. said...

When I went to CalArts back in 1990, the Character Animation department was a special place. There was an energy there that you could feel the second you walked into the department. That was Bob.
Bob's class was more than a design class. In Bob's class, I learned color, design, film history, hollywood history, philosophy, sociology and important life lessons on how to conduct my self as not only an artist but as a human being. I mean, it was Bob who taught me how to talk to girls!
How many design teachers teach that? Not to mention the cool Judy Garland stories.
We lost someone valuable.
Rest in peace Bob.

-John Sanford

Chris Merritt said...

Wow. I am quite saddened. I too haven't seen Bob since the mid-90s, but he had a huge influence on me during my Cal Arts days. The whole "mystery of the gold sticker" on his glasses had the freshmen Char. Animation class bamboozled... I'll never forget the support he gave, especially when I was thinking about dropping out. It was rumored that the had a pair of Marilyn Monroe's underwear, and Humphrey Bogart's hat from Casablanca! And he always saw the good in any student's assignment - he was always able to come up with some constructive criticism, even if your work wasn't very good.

We need more teachers like him.

Thanks Bob.

- Chris Merritt

Adam Burke said...

As an artist, Bob was certainly in a league of his own. As a teacher and a mentor, his value is impossible to measure. Bob had a wonderfully impish way of making you feel like he knew the secrets to the universe. What's more, is that he had a magical way of making you feel like you knew them too. Thank you Bob for everything. I hope I'll see you again.

Ken Bruce said...

When Bob swept into CalArts Character Animation in 1983, at the height of the departments 'trade-school' mentality, his sly and somewhat flamboyant sensibility was a breath of fresh air. Though there was still value in the old-school rules of color and design, Bob's insistence that every effort mattered had great value.

When Bob became head of the department a year later animated student films ceased being endless reels of cute ducks climbing up trees or fuzzy bunnies chasing butterflies. Students could now dare to say things about religion, drug abuse, depression or pop culture in their work that they hadn't been allowed to before. The Disney purists in the department may have bristled, but Bob's influence made for the perfect balance in a curriculum desperate for more 'color'.

I loved Bob's endless yarns, his sly naughty laugh, his support when I most needed it.

Always generous, always available, always sympathetic and loving. Bob's legacy will live on with every bit of encouragement we pass on in this industry to the dreamers of tomorrow.

Love you, Bob -- and pass the tortilla chips.

- Ken Bruce

Kurt Nielsen said...

Bob is one of those people who never quite leaves you. The things he taught us, the stories he told us -- all are alive in his students. He gave so much, too -- there's imprints of Bob Winquist scattered all over the world.

He was kind, caring and supportive. But I think the thing that Bob gave me that I most appreciate is not taking things so seriously, and doing what your heart tells you whenever possible. Yes, we are professional artists, but that does not mean our sense of fun and wonder needs to die with becoming "adults." Bob's sense of rebellion gave me the courage to go against the grain, and helped define who I really am.

Bob always seemed to me like an enchanted child, and I've aspired to have many of his wonderful qualities in my life.

God bless you, my friend. You will surely be missed.

With love,
Kurt Nielsen

Jordan Reichek said...

Very weird. I was just recently speaking with a friend about the whereabouts of good ol' Bob.

He sure was a swell guy. Bob was one of those generous few in education system that really took the time and effort to understand the underlying potential of his students rather than where they are at the moment. It's such an important part of the education process...especially in art schools.

We used to call Bob "the new and improved Commander McBrag" due to his incredible stories and laid back swagger! Am I wrong in thinking he occasionally sported an ascot?!? If not, don't tell me...I wanna remember him that way anyhow...

He'll definitely be missed and from the sounds of it, not underappreciated....

Cheers, Bobby!!!

Greg Manwaring said...

Well, what can I say that hasn't been wonderfully said by everyone above??!!

The first impression I had of Bob was one of fear, this is because he walked into the class and asked us "What is Design?" - and then proceeded to shoot down everyone's response to his question! I think he even cut that first class short, making us all wonder what we were in for! Well, thankfully this was a false impression of Bob, as his only goal was to awaken our creative souls and push us to explore and to always push beyond our own limits! "Wonderful!"

Another memory of those early days was Bob walking up to a pinned up assignment and asking "And who's is this?" only to have it once again be Butch Hartman's homework!

I could, as anyone else who knew him could as well, give you a hundred stories of this amazing man - but I'd rather read everyone elses, as they make me chuckle in that he was exactly the same person with everyone else as he was with me!

Oh, and I've got dibs on that pair of panties that Marilyn Monroe gave him!

Love you and miss you Bob!!

Greg

Anonymous said...

WOW- Thanks Jenny for posting this blog. I am saddened by the fact that after popping Bob's name in the google search year after year, waiting to find some of those wonderful nuggets of Bob's life, the one that finally does show, reveals his passing.

Ya know, after reading all the wonderful comments by so many of the people I secretly look up to in this industry, I felt quite intimidated to write ANYTHING to go along with this post. I read all the great stories, and smiled along (teary eyed at times) to the memories of Bob and his lessons, and then it hit me. One of the biggest assignments/lessons Bob left me with taught me that even I have something to offer. Yes, me... the kid from NJ who sat in class wondering "When are the secret cameras gonna come to reveal the joke watching me flounder along the likes of these incredibly talented artists", and then it would happen. Bob would stop at one of my assignments, and find that one special thing , that one positive part of the low confidence "me" trying to express itself, and say something "wonderful" about it. That truly is what kept me going. He helped me to learn to trust MY way of expression, and to feel comfortable with what I had to offer. He sent me on a path that finally did discover that we all had our own stories to tell and not to be afraid to tell them.

I obviously still struggle with that lesson today, but still have Bob's kind words and warm heart living in my soul to remind me today.

As someone above pointed out, Bob DID find the secret to immortality, he's living through all of us. If you're like me, you've have already walked the halls at your work and shared a Bob story with someone he's never met, or explained to a loved one just how special Bob really was. Not only that, you've hopefully helped to inspire someone else with the same kind of lessons Bob shared, thus allowing him to continue to live on forever.

Ya know, I guess I did finally get some of what I've been searching for on Google here in these posts, thanks for sharing everyone.

"Today's assignment.. Breath Mint.. see you next week:)"

Thanks Bob

Zac Moncrief (sorry, can't remember my login)

Jim said...

One thing that has always stuck with me - which I didn't realize until now where it came from - was his comment that he never drove to work the same way. He'd always find a different path even if it meant it took him longer to get there.

Now whether or not that was true or not (he only lived about 1/2 a mile from the school) mattered not - the point was made: He took every opportunity to be inspired by something new.

I'm sure there are countless other ideas of his that have seeped into my subconscious but it's this one that has really stayed with me all these years - I always try to change up my commute every week or so.

Thanks Bob!

Sue Nichols said...

I began at CalArts the year Bob started, in 1983 (mentioned already in several blogs above). This was still in the era where women in animation were rare and treated with indifference. A pat on the head, and a patronizing "that's wonderful" from people who knew you were doomed to not much of a career in a male dominated industry was the rule. Hearing "that's marvelous" was an insult to me because I knew my work needed help. Bob was the first person to be respectful enough to show me where my work failed. I don't remember his dark glasses because he always spoke to me honestly, with nothing to hide. Because of his critiques, his were the first compliments I actually believed, and in turn gave me faith to move ahead with my work. My first design teacher, my first professional critic, my first .. and forever... art idol. Bob started me and keeps me walking down that path of inspiration. Truly "marvelous"!

Charles Keagle said...

Bob literally admitted me to Cal Arts. As a P.A. on FernGully, I knew Ken Bruce. Ken helped me with my portfolio and after many months he must have seen some progress because he arranged for me to meet Bob. My interview lasted all of 5 minutes - Bob flipped through my work, smiled and said, "you're in." I walked up to admissions in a state of shock.

What a great and supportive teacher. I teach animation now and try to incorporate Bob's openness, curiosity and sense of fun as much as I can. Hmm, maybe I need a gold triangle too....

God bless you, Bob. Thanks for everything.

Criminal Lawyers Los Angeles said...

Jenny,
thank you very much for this, you have our heartfelt condolences. May he rest in peace. One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure its worth watching, and his was. If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them. Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever.

God bless,
Ruth

Jeff said...

Good afternoon,
I wanted to pass along my condolences and share a memory or two with you.

Such a great loss to the artistic community. I only had Bob for a year but his teachings and influence still affect much of my work today. (Still have all my notes and they are just as cryptic now as they were then:) When I was first applying to Cal Arts in 1990, I was told that my work, although good, needed some polish and that I should definitely reapply in a year. A little disappointing and I was a bit bummed out, but good to know I was on the right path. I was then taken into the Character Animation department to mull around and look at the amazing student work on the walls.
I had my portfolio with me and caught the attention of a very distinguished looking gentleman who looked a lot like Colonel Sanders back then:)lol

He invited me into his office and asked if he could see my work. Not knowing who he was, it seemed a little odd but I said sure. It was a ton of stuff(as I had no idea how to assemble a portfolio at 17) But bless him, he looked at everything and listened intently as I described the thought process behind it all. When I was all done he said, "So you're interested in attending Cal Arts eh?" I replied, "absolutely!" He said, "Well, you're in". And that was that:) My parents flipped out and couldn't have been more excited when I told them. Didn't know what I was in for, but very eager to jump right in. So began 4 years of some of the toughest, most frustrating, and enlightening artistic training I had ever received. But, however challenging Bob's classes may have been, there was never the level of stress I encountered in others. I think it was due to his ability to get his students thinking in different directions. He brought out work in his students, they didn't know was there. Sometimes the kids would skip classes or not show up in other departments, but Bob's were ALWAYS full! If that isn't a testament to his ability, I don't know what is.:) We all had theories about the gold triangle on his glasses, but my favorite was,"It's used to distinguish him from the Evil Anti-Bob, come to deceive us all!":)


I have Bob Winquist to thank for so much. I used to enjoy coming by his office at the school to bug him for stories or anecdotes and a bunch of other idiotic things:), and to his credit, he never turned me away. It's heartbreaking to know that he's no longer with us, but his pearls of wisdom will continue to be handed down by myself and others. In that way, he'll never really leave us.


Bless you Bob and your gold triangle:)
Jeff Plamenig