Monday, June 12, 2006

RIP Tim Hildebrandt

Well, twice in as many weeks, it's eulogy time again.

I found out this afternoon that Tim Hildebrandt passed away at the relatively young age of 67 due to complications from diabetes.

Tim and his twin brother Greg are both internationally renowned fantasy artists. Their most famous works are the original Star Wars poster and the hugely popular series of J.R.R Tolkien calendars they produced in the 70's. Technically, they worked side by side, easel next to easel for most of their professional lives. Occasionally, one would finish whatever painting the other was working on.

On a personal level, I didn't know Tim well but he was my painting teacher in my third year at The Kubert School. I remember him as an easy going fellow, very laid back in his approach to teaching. If you approached him for information, he would gladly share from the reservoir of knowledge he had accumulated over a lifetime of work. If you didn't want to learn, he wasn't going to force it on you. He didn't waste his time with people who weren't interested.

Tim would often come into class and set up 10 or 15 original paintings in the front of the room at the beginning of class, usually whatever he and his brother were working on at the time. They were always gorgeous. Being broke at the time, I used to half-heartedly wish that I could steal one and sell it.

The last time I saw Tim was at the San Diego convention in, I believe, 1994 or 1995. He was signing autographs at the Topps booth next to the Barbi Twins of all people. He graciously pretended to remember me and smiled, shook my hand, and listened politely as I updated him on what I was doing at that time.

I always found the way Tim described his relationship with his brother to be...charming? Beautiful? I don't know the word. They were best friends, creative partners...and they had that psychic twin bond thing you hear about from time to time. It was sort of fantastic and otherwordly and it seemed to fit their roles as fantasy artists.

My heart goes out to his brother most of all.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Hildebrandt.

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