Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Adios Ricky

The incredibly gifted Rick Garduno has died.

My first reaction was anger. Damn it, Ricky, this is way too soon. And you were such an extraordinary talent. What a waste! Anger at myself for ignoring his last message asking to meet so he could apologize over our last argument. I'll be taking that regret to the grave. But the anger in me is long gone and now I'm just sad.

Thanks to Gabe Swarr, I met Ricky back in 2003. We were both young artists from Mexico City trying to make it in the industry. We connected instantly. He joked that I was too Mexican. I shot back that he wasn't Mexican enough. And for some reason, even thought we were both natural Spanish speakers, we only spoke in English.

While we were both working on Mucha Lucha I fell in love with his mischievous and subversive boards. I really loved designing for him. We got into huge fights but we always made up, like real friends. As soon as I had my first pilot at Disney, Ricky was the first person I asked to help me board a chunk. When he turned in his part, I was crying and laughing my ass off. Ricky, like usual, had done way more than I asked. And he completely poured his heart and soul into it. He just couldn't help himself. After that, I swore than anything I ever worked on, Ricky would be my wild card.

Years later, and after working together on other shows and pilots, El Tigre was greenlit for series at Nickelodeon. I asked Ricky to board the first episode of the series, which was very difficult. It would be his first digital board. We were still trying to figure out the show, the writing and the crew. He jumped in fearlessly. Like before, he did way more than anyone asked and he poured his heart and soul into that massive board. He was under a microscope. The board was a mess with genius ideas sprinkled all over it. He was almost fired after that one. But he kept at it and worked his ass off. Ricky kept pushing the envelope. His Tigre episodes are some of the most beloved, inventive, subversive and mischievous we made. He was so good, writers would request him to board their scripts. In 2008, El Tigre won the Annie for best show. It was for "The Grave Escape", a Day of the Dead themed two part episode Ricky boarded (with Eddie Trigueros). Ricky had come through yet again.

As time passed, we began to grow apart. He was fed up with the industry and turned me down when I asked him to board our last Disney pilot. He was done with the studios. The last time we had dinner, he scared me with some of his new radical and extreme ideas. He insulted everything we had worked on together. This was very painful to hear. He implied I was a sell out for selling the studios my personal stories, art and heart. I was furious and I said things to him I will always regret. When the bill came, he paid to mock me and we went our separate ways.

By this point, his personal comics got sadder, hilarious and heartbreaking. He was baring his soul. We should have all seen this coming. Maybe he wanted to meet one last time to say good bye. I'll never know.

All I know is that the Ricky I loved, the funny mischievous genius, the one that changed my life, that Ricky will stay with me forever. I will always tell his story and keep his memory alive.

Adios, hermano.
We will meet each other again some day.
I swear.


Salomon Fenix said...

Ricky was a great artist, gave his all but was very sensitive seems a great shame what has happened, I hope that somewhere in this .......... is calmer, Greetings Jorge .

Mr.Kone said...

Se me llenan los ojos con algunas lágrimas. Abrirse y compartir un poco el detrás de nuestras vidas, no es sencillo, se que estas pasando momentos difíciles. Si te sirve de consuelo, gracias a estas palabras me has hecho recordar un poco mi amistad con Robotsoda y situaciones similares, y no dejar para mañana cosas que valen la pena hacer.
Animo Macho, y que la tranquilidad llegue pronto a tu alma y corazón.
Un abrazo desde acá.

R. Laney said...

This news really gutted me. Ricky was so talented and funny... Thank you Jorge for the sweet remembrance.

I will always cherish my time working with him. He always put the most funny background drawings in his boards. I always tried to get assigned his episodes whenever I could.

I am so sad this has happened. My thought are with his family and friends.

-Roman Laney

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting such a candid letter . I knew of his work , but didnot get the chance to meet Ricky . My heart goes out to all <3

Peggy said...

Yeah, I've had my share of anger at him over this too. I was planning to swing by LA sometime this January, and he was at the top of my list of people I was looking forwards to seeing again.

I hadn't realized how badly he'd estranged himself from the animation community on his way into the depths of depression. The black dog's nasty that way - it makes you cut yourself off from the herd, and then strikes.

Better luck next time, Ricky.

Mr. Kim said...

I never heard of Ricky Garduno until today but even still, while reading this, my heart was immensely moved. Maybe it's because I could relate about losing someone whom you once shared a deep passion with, or it also could be that I share the same name as Mr. Garduno.

Talented and good hearted people leave their mark in this world one way or the other and I think Mr. Garduno has done just that.

May Ricky rest in peace.

Paul J. Sullivan said...

I am very sorry to hear of your loss Jorge.

Miska said...

when a friend leaves, left a great void, but fondly remembered and did good things keeps him alive in our hearts.
cordial greetings, Maggie Simmons