A miscellany of weekly ramblings on comics, art and film by Ted Mathot, storyboard artist and writer/artist/self-publisher of graphic novels and comics

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Justin Wright

On March 18th, Pixar story comrade Justin Wright passed away due to heart complications at the age of 27. I saw first hand Justin's dedication to his craft as he worked his way through a summer internship to become a full fledged story artist at Pixar; a goal he had had for a long time and through hard work and tremendous spirit, achieved.

Last summer, we worked closely together on the short film PRESTO, for which there were just three members of our story squad. It's a surprise we got any work done, because most of the time we were howling with laughter at each other's gag drawings, each one topping the next, flowing like water. In one of those sessions, Justin humorously declared he had drawn the "worst drawing ever". We debated him, but Justin insisted on bestowing the honor to himself. Much to his chagrin (and amusement), director Doug Sweetland framed the drawing and presented it at our next meeting, where it presided for all our future sessions. Justin's attitude combined professionalism with an eagerness to please and brought tremendous spirit and humor to the productions he was a part of.

In a few months he will be credited for his work on "WALL•E" and "PRESTO", the short that preceeds it. A mighty achievement.

My thoughts go out to all his family and friends.

You can see Justin's work on his blog.


Thomas Huxley said...

This is really sad news. 27 is far too young. My condolences to his family and friends. :(

Anonymous said...

Janet, no parent should have to bury a child. if you are following the thread, know that our heart is with you. i wish i had gotten to know him more. truly an artist whose light we've all experienced!

john grys

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 in so many ways. 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

fototaker said...

it's amazing how some people can come, make an impression on everyone they touch, thehn leave so unexpectedly.

Anonymous said...

Clearly Justin was a gift and blessing to our world. Wall.E is such a sweet tribute to him. My son and I always see Pixar movies together. Each one is our "best movie ever", until the next one. Each is so fun and great. And, we have made the habit to wait throught the credits, for the unexpected animation. Also, we especially love the "Production Babies" names.

At the same time, we have noticed the "In Memory of" credit... now of Justin Wright...We take the time to find out who is being remembered by their friends and coworkers. And now, we are so touched by what a truly great person has been there, to be so loved by his friends, co-workers and family.

Although we aren't part of Justin's world, we are touched and inspired by him, and the love of his friends and family.

With Love,
JT & AJTM, San Pedro, CA

Anonymous said...

My prayers go out to Justin's family. I just saw WALL-E with my daughter and had to look up Justin's name to see how someone so young could die. God bless you and wrap his arms around you. Based on what I read about Justin his life was full of laughter and creativity, what a gift! Joni

Anonymous said...

Today my family and me went to see WallE. It pulled from me a great bandwidth of emotions, starting with Presto and ending with the WallE credits. These latter moved me to find out about Justin. I'm grateful to him for sharing his talent and inspire me in many ways.
C.G. Mexico

Anonymous said...

Just saw WALL.E today, and I was so moved when I saw the dedication and found out the story behind it. May God bless all who knew Justin and keep you all safe until you are reunited.

Eben said...

As with the last poster, I saw Wall-e tonight for the first time and was surfing about his life and accomplishments. It's very sad as I am only a year older than Justin and he accomplished far more than I have or may ever will. His works will stand as a monument to those who wish to leave something behind, what a perfect example is found here.
Shine on you crazy Diamond, Justin, shine on.