John Watkiss 1961 – 2017

9 02 2017

john

I just sadly learned that JOHN WATKISS passed away at age 55 on jan.20 this year. he died from cancer. so young. what a loss!
Dick Williams introduced us, we met at one of those unforgettable brunches at hotel Britannia in London, where Dick and his ‘Dick’s Six’ played Dixieland Jazz. from the beginning on it was always a very intense exchange of opinions and arguments about art, life and idiots, most of the time during long pub hours and very often ending in hefty arguments. I never forget when he invited me during my london time working on roger rabbit around 1987 to his studio near Regents Park. the little room was filled with his paintings, and what paintings! we talked for hours, he used to explain things in precise sketches, I still have them all in my collection. his knowledge about anatomy was scary, he would never look at a model or other reference and criticized artists who did. like Michelangelo and Da Vinci, he told me, he had studied anatomy the only ‘real way’, joining medicine students, dissecting muscles and bones in opened dead bodies.
his humor was scary as well, and hurt a lot of people with his acid sarcasm. after London we worked together again at Disney in L.A. next to my office he painted probably hundreds of stunning jungle scenes and Inca temples. all those masterpieces disappeared after a while, to be framed behind the desk of some executive.
what a chaotic and unimaginable talent he was, the best I ever had a chance to meet.