I was shocked by the news brought by my friends Julian Chaney and Jenny Lerew informing me of Bob Winquist's passing.
I am speechless. Bob Winquist was one of those people in my life which I thought would be there forever, no matter how unrealistic that thought may be. As a result, to hear of his passing has dealt me a major blow.
I consider myself fortunate to have known Bob since my days at Cal-Arts. I first met him in 1985 and remained in contact with him up until a few years ago when all contact information simply did not reach him. His phone number was no longer his and mail sent to him was returned. He was a mentor, a great friend and my own personal Yoda. He often told me he had adopted me, which caused me to create for him a painting in a copper macaroni frame of The Macaroni King; the ultimate kids craft project to their parent. Of news in my life, both good or bad, professional and personal he would offer me advice beyond that of any parent, followed with his trademark phrase ‘Wonderful!’
Some of my favorite memories of Bob were during my tenure at Cal-Arts. Bob seemed to intimidate many students, not by his actions in any way, I believe it was because of his accomplishments, his amazing talent or maybe even his dark glasses. I however was mesmerized. I would find any excuse to sit in his office and have him tell me stories, so much so I would enter his office and he’d say ‘Story time?’ I guess part of my long reaching bond with Bob came about because although I was in the character animation department, he knew as I did, my strongest skill set was in production design, color, layout and basically everything but character animation. He did an amazing thing; he set up a special course for me to focus solely on developing those skills, which included one or two weekly projects I would work on directly with him outside of the other classes in the character animation curriculum. Maybe this is why we had such a strong bond; maybe that is why our interaction as Mentor and student developed in to strong friendship beyond my years at Cal-Arts.
The inability to reach Bob these past few years makes this news especially devastating. There are so many things I would have liked to say to him, so many thank you’s to bestow upon him. Yet, even though I did not get the chance to say a last goodbye, a chance to thank him for his love, support and virtual adoption, every lesson, every conversation, every guidance from him remains with me. My view of life is dramatically different thanks to Bob Winquist. Every time I see something of beauty in the everyday, which takes my breath away, I hear my friend whisper in my ear ‘Wonderful!’
Thank you Bob for everything.