|Feb. 3, 1952 - Aug. 20, 2015|
I first met Richard in the summer of 1984 at Sheridan College. At the time, they had a 14 week summer course in computer graphics. Richard was already an established illustrator, having done covers for Heavy Metal magazine. He had also hung around Ohio State University, one of the hotbeds of cgi development at the time.
|One of Richard's illustrations|
Richard and I stayed in touch after the course and he was hired almost immediately by Pacific Data Images in San Francisco. Later, he worked for ILM on films like Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Death Becomes Her. Other work included matte paintings on The Hudsucker Proxy, Starship Troopers and The Santa Claus 2. His IMDB listing is woefully incomplete, as so much of the early days of cgi were spent on company logos and TV commercials, work that IMDB doesn't track.
By 1999, Richard was teaching visual effects at Sheridan College, the same program that he had taken 15 years before. He also taught painting in the Art Fundamentals program.
Richard had amazing taste and a strong sense of design. He and his wife Ria bought a house on the Niagara escarpment in Grimsby, Ontario, that was something out of an architectural magazine. It was the kind of house you'd see pictures of but never expected to see in person. It was also exquisitely furnished.
In addition to art, Richard was heavily involved with woodworking, making guitars and furniture that were professional quality. He was intensely focused when he found something he was interested in and stopped at nothing to get the results he wanted.
|Richard in his workshop with a guitar in progress|
In December of 2009, Richard had a stroke which resulted in a limp and losing the use of his left arm. As you can imagine, that was a major blow for someone so interested in creating both digital and physical things. In more recent years, as a result of the stroke, he developed chronic pain which no medication seemed to control.
He was an outgoing, boisterous guy who, as I said, could be intensely focused. My wife and I shared many dinners with him and Ria and it's hard to believe that he's gone. I'm going to miss his booming voice. He's survived by his mother; five younger brothers; a daughter, Mara, from a previous marriage; and his wife Ria. He's to be buried in San Francisco.
In 2001, Richard's special effects students collaborated on a film called The Artist of the Beautiful. Richard was the artist in the film and it's the way I prefer to remember him.
THE ARTIST OF THE BEAUTIFUL from Noel Hooper on Vimeo.