I saw “Monster’s University” tonight. (No spoilers, I promise.) I settled into my seat, popcorn balanced on one knee, and prepared to be delighted (again) by a Pixar short. It starts out slowly, making you wait, teasing the curiosity out of you, making you lean into anticipation. My first thought was: what kind of magic will they make this time? My second: no one anthropomorphosizes inanimate objects like Pixar.
Just then, the character we are meant to identify with appears (really? they can make me care about this?! Amazing!) I’m pulled in, like everyone else; but this time, I have a different reason for becoming engaged with the story. For me, this character reminds me of some of your work. It stands out: a colorful, optimistic playfulness against a canvas of heads-down, by-the-book grey. One blue splash and associations flash through my mind, too fast to count. I can’t resist; this exuberant hopefulness is a common theme in your art and I smile, remembering some of the pieces. Then I’m aware of something deeper happening… a radiating joy, as gratitude rises up with the realization that it isn’t just the artwork I’m remembering. It’s you. How grateful I am for you… You are the kind of person who paints inspiring bright spots in grey days, not just on paper or canvas but in life. So, thank you, my dear R, for the color you brought to my life in so many ways. Even, unexpectedly, in the dark in a movie theater in the middle of a Pixar short.
I love you.