Remembering Bruce Bickford

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of animator Bruce Bickford on April 28, 2019.

Remembering Bruce Bickford (1947-2019)

Bruce Bickford was the most original person I‘ve had the good fortune to know. He was a brilliant, dedicated artist in the purist sense, his entire life revolving around the act of creation. His was the most potent and fertile of imaginations, and he breathed life into his astonishing visions with delicate skill in every medium he pursued. Some of my favorite pieces were masks he had crafted from wet, freshly cut grass!

 His sculpted, animated, and illustrated worlds were wild, magical, surreal, mysterious, absurd, hysterical, dynamic, and often violent streams of consciousness. Paradoxically, Bruce himself was a quiet soul, a gentle pacifist who believed wars, violence, and all the ills of the world could and should be solved artistically. He knew this because he had battled his own personal demons, the same ones we all face in one form or another, and exorcized them through his art.

 He loved nature and was a courageous defender of the environment. He was deeply principled, believed in karmic forces, and possessed a fine-tuned moral compass. With an unyielding sense of justice, he fought for the underdog, the “little guy” in every facet of life. In his animations, the bullies always received “their comeuppance, and quite swiftly,” as he put it.

He was an iconoclast, an autodidact, and an original thinker who was self-educated in myriad fields of knowledge, from mythology to cinema, from conspiracy theories to world history. He had a near-photographic memory, was an attentive listener, and could instantly recall conversations – verbatim – he had witnessed decades earlier.

 He eschewed materialism, hypocrisy, greed, and waste. He cared nothing about the acquisition of wealth or material things, only about creating them, and usually, from next to nothing. Never a person of great means, Bruce could stretch a dollar further than most people can even imagine. He performed most of his creative activities sitting upon a sturdy, comfy chair he made by gluing together many layers of cardboard!

 He was also the most honest person I’ve ever known. If you asked for his “honest opinion” on anything, you knew you were going to receive just that. If he wasted one of his precious moments on this planet, I’m not aware of it. Bruce lived with intention, undertaking each daily task and choosing each word he spoke with careful, thoughtful deliberation.

 Every conversation, interaction, and outing I enjoyed with Bruce over our three decades of friendship was an adventure unto itself, an unpredictable journey to a place where standard rules no longer applied, where time ceased to exist. I’ll miss that mischievous twinkle in his eye, our long phone conversations in the middle of the night, ranging in topics from Big Foot to Attila the Hun, from an incident he witnessed in junior high school to a scene from a favorite Kubrick film. I’ll miss sipping Yerba mate and eating fresh cherries together, and I’ll especially miss his deliciously dark and wicked sense of humor.

 Bruce inspired me, motivated me, and taught me much about art and life. He will be profoundly missed. The world is a much duller place with his departure.

 May our dear friend rest in richly deserved peace.

 Brett Ingram

Director, Monster Road