I'd like to take a second to mark the passing of a great artist today.
Stan Winston, while not what many in the lay community would consider an artist, trading as he did in gore and monstrosity for most of his life, was, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest ever.
That's right, EVER.
If you don't know, Mr. Winston was the mind and hand responsible for the vicious dinos in the JURASSIC films, for the bugs in ALIEN, for the 'bots in TERMINATOR and creatures and people from a stack films almost literally too long to list. He was the mentor and teacher of most of the subsequent greats in FX either directly or simply by virtue of his AWESOME and innovative body of work.
I had the honor of meeting him on more than one occasion at his studio and elsewhere, most notably when the lovely woman I was dating was used as the model for Kirsten Dunst's dead mother in INTERVIEW w/THE VAMPIRE. He was a kind, gentle, wickedly intelligent man with that spark they talk about that makes the eyes seem as if there's lightning behind them.
He wasn't a freind of mine. I didn't have that honor. I doubt he would hve remembered me if he'd walked into me at a party. But he did give me one of the best bits of advice I've ever gotten from an artist about making stuff.
I asked him, with the advent of CGI replacing the more old-school "practical" FX for which he and those like him had grown famous, how he was coping. He was coping fine, of course, having just as much fun with the new techniques as he had with the old. So I asked him why he still, despite the sexiness of the computer stuff, continued to use Old School methods at all.
"Do what works best for the job," he said. It sounds simple but it really isn't and, if you think about it, you'll see why. You have to be humble enough to know what's best, after all. You have to be skilled enough to do it. He was both. For decade after decade he was both.
I didn't know him, as I said, but I will miss him and my heart goes out to those who were lucky enough to be close to him at any point in his life.
Sleep well, great man. We are lesser without you.
16.6.08 , Posted by Geoff Thorne at 19:16