justinwright.jpg justinwright.jpg

Justin Wright (1981-2008)

Justin Wright

Sad news out of Pixar. Story supervisor Ronnie del Carmen reports on his blog that newly minted Pixar story artist Justin Wright passed away Tuesday evening at age 27. The cause of death was a heart attack; this article about Justin says that he had health complications as a child and had received a heart transplant. I’m not familiar with his work owing to his nascent career but his personal illustration blog offers a glimpse of his drawing talent.

Here are links to some of the tributes appearing online from friends, family and Pixar co-workers:
Nate Wragg
Austin Madison
Kyle Shockley
Phil Rynda
Ted Mathot
Scott Morse
Bill Cone
John Sanford
Jeff Pidgeon
James Robertson
Enrico Casarosa
Nick Sung
Kate RW
Michael Wright
Kelly Matten
Alex Woo

  • Dan

    Truly sad to see such a young man taken in such a way. My condolences go out to his family and friends.

  • A very sad news. And as usually it’s a hard experience to read the blog of someone who left us: in front of these lively pictures and articles, the absence of this young talented artist is more cruel.

  • I agree with Dan. So sad to see such a young guy go.

  • Erica

    Wow. Poor guy … and his poor family.
    It was seriously saddening to read that …

  • Nichole

    This IS very sad. Who knows what great things the future could have had in store for him? Only 27… I feel for his family and friends. . .

  • It’s tough to understand these things. I remember losing talented young guys at Disney because of accident or illness.

    Though limited, I hope he enjoyed the time he had at Pixar.

  • A transplant patient’s life is a complicated, continuing hassle. That’s impressive that he accomplished so much but still sad that he had to stop so soon.

  • greg m

    I’m glad to hear that he got to realize his dream of working at Pixar! RIP young Justin, you brought alot of happiness into many peoples lives.

  • K.Borcz

    Oh NO! :(
    My condolences. That sucks, but he did a lot of awesome in his short time.

  • Bummer. Another Pixar artist dies. And so young, too.

    Rest in Peace, Justin.

  • This is very tragic news, my sincerest condolences to Justin’s family & friends.

  • Everyone should go right now and look at the work on his blog. I wish I’d known of him sooner. While his drawings are no doubt but one part of the man, they’re so sensitive and expressive, beautiful stuff. A strong impression of his gifts.

    His photos show an irrepressible guy who must have been a blast to be with. All that, and living with a serious health issue, for years. Incredible. Deepest sympathies to his friends and especially to his family.

  • brett

    I’ve known Justin Wright since child birth. He was the best life long friend that myself or anyone could have had. All my love to the Wright family. We’ll all miss you Justin Charles Wright.

  • Bethany

    I knew Justin briefly during my freshman year at CalArts. He was generous, talented and sweet. My sympathies to his family.

  • Justin was a huge part of my life for two years while at Calarts, he is someone to be missed. All my love and prayers go out to his family and friends.

  • Jonathan Thornton

    Justin was my cousin and best friend. Thanks to all of you for the kind words and memories I am able to relive vicariously with all of you. Please know that you all had such a profound influence on Justin. He thrived in your midst and those of us in his family could see it. I thank you all for loving him, enjoying him and making him laugh and laugh.

  • Matt Sullivan

    Oh. Oh no. This is awful. Godspeed Justin. I didn’t know you, but if you were working at Pixar, you undoubtedly had real talent.


  • Ben

    How incredibly sad. My thoughts are with his friends and family. What a shame to lose such talent to prematurely. RIP, Justin.

  • Lloyd Wright

    Justin is my son and it is heart warming to read these comments from all of you. Thank you for taking time to remember him. This picture truly captures the “essence” of Justin’s outlook on life. Justin tried to see humor in every day things and was always excited about what tomorrow could bring. Justin loved God and trusted him complellely. Justin has simply put his hand in Jesus hand now. I know he is at peace.

    Justin was my little boy, my adult son and my best friend all rolled up in to one incredibly loving and woulderful young man. I will miss your smiles and teasing. You always knew how much I loved you, but you could never know how much I will miss you. I LOVE YOU JUSTIN, I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU! Thank you being such wonderful part of my life for all these years. ALL MY LOVE, DAD xoxoxo

  • Caryn & Steve Boggs

    God Bless you Justin for your strength, courage, & enthusiasm during all the years before & after your heart transplant. Such an inspiration to all of us. We thank you, Justin for sharing your tender loving heart & touching our lives with a plethora of treasured memories. Your love for Jesus Christ shines from you in life & your love for people. Most of all, thank you, Justin for being so real in my son’s life. We are better people because you manage to enlighten every person’s life along the way. You are our Hero, Justin. Praise God, for you have won the Victory in Him.
    His Love & Blessings,
    Austin’s Mom, Caryn & Steve

  • Holly Wright

    Justin Charlie was the BEST brother any sister could ask for. My last words to him were I Love You and his last words to me were I Love You. Even at the age of 27 he was never afraid to tell me he loved me in front of others…he would even have me call him when I got home from visiting him so he knew that I had gotten home safely. I will miss my brother the rest of my life but I know he is in a better place now. In fact he is looking down laughing because this is the first time I have ever posted a comment online he was much more technological than I!!! I love you Justin Charlie…

  • Justin was in my Graduating class at Cal Arts and will be greatly missed. I have a few memories of Justin, but one that sticks out in my mind was one specific day when he had his guitar at school and I was spouting out random Dave Matthews songs (and a few curve balls) to see if he could play it on the fly. He didn’t disappoint. Justin was full of life and such a great man and artist.
    Rest in peace Justin! Although I did not know you as well as I would have liked, I do know, and feel, the seeds of change which you have planted. You were a great person in life and will continue to grow and live inside of the hearts and souls of those people you have touched and affected. And so life’s eternally beating heart now beats for yours that has stopped, and you will for ever be alive! You will be missed by many. Rest in Peace.

  • Nathan

    I was Justin’s youth pastor from 94-99 in Napa. When I met him he was short and plump and his face was ballooned up from reaction to the anti-rejection meds for his new heart. After he finally got off of them, it was a joy to see him grow tall and slim down. He just blossomed. But his joyful and fun-loving spirit was always there from the first day I met him. On a side note, his mother who taught at our church school, knowing my love for reptiles, gifted me the classroom pet. It was a leopard gecko named Lizzie. Lizzie was lost in the classroom for 5 months. When she was found at the end of the year, she was skin and bones. Mrs. Wright said if I could nurse her back to health, I could keep her. That must have been around ’96 or ’97. Well, Lizzie is blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other so I have to feed her crickets and mealworms by hand, but she’s still alive! I often think of the Wright family when I care for Lizzie. My heart aches with them now for their loss, but rejoices with them in the hope of the resurrection when Justin will receive a new body with a perfect heart. Eagerly looking forward to that great day of reunion, NLK

  • zac moncrief

    I’m still finding this hard to believe- I just found out through one of those weird things that happen to people. I opened my email planning to thin it out a bit when the first one I came across had a link to a pretty cool design blog.. I clicked it (feeling drawn to check it out) and saw the horrible news… I’m so sorry to hear this.

    I had Justin as one of my students while teaching at Calarts and thought he was one of the most talented in the bunch. He and I shared heart surgery stories, and a few laughs, too, but I never EVER thought that there could ever be any complications with his health. We briefly stayed in touch after Calarts, I followed his path as he traveled up to Pixar, and was just waiting to see him shine like no other. This news has me stunned…

    For what it’s worth, Justin will be greatly missed. I had hoped to work along side him someday, and to have a few more laughs. He took his art path very seriously, and I’m so proud to see that he had made it to a dream place of his.

    Please pass on my condolences to his family and please… anyone reading this right now… pick up that phone right next you, or start typing that email and tall that friend/student/coworker that you think you might want to grow closer to, or share more laughs with, and make it happen now… don’t wait for that right time because it might get taken away from you.

    what a loss…

  • John Denney

    I took my family to see the new Pixar movie “Wall-E” and while watching the credits saw the memorial for Justin Wright. Felt compelled to go home and look for information. Our deepest simpathies to his family and friends. The Denney Family, Hamilton, Ohio

  • Honest Mike

    My girlfriend & I saw the Credits at the End of Wall-E……

    Sorry about the loss.

    His sketches/drawing that I have seen on line have inspired me to pick up my old sketchbook and get back to drawing……on pen and paper.

  • ColdCedric

    I didn’t know him till today and I am sorry about the loss

    At a young age it suck to see good person die so early

  • Parre

    I just saw Wall-E and i saw the name Justin Wright on the Credits.
    My heart goes out to his family and friends
    R.I.P =(

  • Marc Pandone

    I am so sad to hear of Justin”s passing. It has been a few years but he took figure drawing classes from me at Solano Community College. He was just a super guy and a great student. He worked so hard to render the forms and capture the various gesture poses. During breaks he would sometimes have his guitar and sit and practice, often playing Dave Mathews songs. He must have just gotten the internship at PIXAR when he was in my classes and was just thrilled. He knew it was very special but never flashed it around and was just a humble diligent person. I would periodically wonder where he was and how he was doing and hoped that he was still working at PIXAR.
    I also hoped that some day while teaching he would pop in and just say hi and tell me all the great things that were going on for him. So here it is late and I just finished watching Wall-e and decided to really watch the credits and just see if by chance Justin had a credit. My joy for the film sank though when I saw the “In Memory of” with Justin’s name. My google search brought me directly to this blog…..I am sad for his lose but pleased by all the wonderful comments people have made. It helps me to reflect on the time I got to spend with him as a teacher and watch the joy he had in art making and being a creative person. I will think of him often.

  • massimo Galli


    I never personally knew Justin: I just happened to be watching WALL-E when at the end of the credits I noticed the film was dedicated to Mr Justin Wright. I Googled his name and discovered an amazingly talented
    artist. I am in no way an artist, just someone ordinary who’ s been affected by this tragedy
    Rest In Peace Justin….
    Live forever……!

  • Student of Inspiration

    like a few people on this site, i was “introduced” to justin by the ending credits of wall-e. words can not even come close to describing how touching his life’s story is. the entire movie had endless underlying messages of hope in a day and time where every bit is needed. the most important being, if two “heartless” pieces of metal can find love for the earth and each other, then maybe humanity has a chance of learning to love one another once again.

    i’ve known about justin’s story for a few months now but after watching the oscars and with wall-e winning for best animation, i can’t help but think how proud he would be knowing he was a part of such a masterpiece. wall-e is honestly the best movie that i’ve seen in the last ten years or so and justin’s life story is beyond inspiration.

    so i guess my main purpose in writing this is to ask -how many of us really follow our dreams? in a strange way justin’s life seemed like a movie with an abrupt ending. his dream to work at pixar came at an early age and with his drive and determination, his dream was not only achieved but conquered! on a side note, i was introduced to numerology a few years back and if you believe in it, the number 27 ( 2 + 7 = 9) translates to the number 9 meaning a state of completion. knowing justin died at age 27, suggests his work for this lifetime was done on earth. i just read some of the previous posts and the ones from his father and sister were beyond touching. in many ways he reminds me of my own loving and concerned older brother. our last words in every conversation are always”i love you” and i feel so blessed knowing that simple statement is so rare among families today. my heart goes out to his family and if they ever read this, please realize that justin’s life’s story is more inspiring than you’ll ever know! may God bless you guys now and always!

  • Eric Perez

    I went to high school with Justin–he was our class president the year we graduated. Our 10-year reunion is coming up this April and it saddens me greatly to know that he wont be there. Remember to live every day of your life to the fullest.

  • Des Bunworth

    Thank you to the folks at PIXAR for including the message for Justin.
    Like a lot of others I didn,t know him personally but following the links I feel I have been introduced to a talented and all round nice guy.
    I am very saddened at how cruel life can be at times but gladdened in the fact that some of Justins spirit lives on by way of his drawings and photos on the web for all to enjoy.
    My belated best wishes to his family and friends.

  • Seen Wall-E.. seen this man on the credits that he passed away don’t know much about him but.. heart transplant and heart problems i got those too crazy shit young age.. and boom gone.

  • alicia

    Justin was such a loving wonderful, witty, and funny person. He had such a wonderful personality and really cared for others. He was the best man at our wedding. My sisters said he couldn’t make them laugh enough. I think he touched many lives which he came into contact with. God be with those whose lives he affected so much, his family, and my husband Brett who was just devestated the day he found out. It was so sad and such a shock. God be with you Justin Wright where ever you are now, it was a blessing to be able to have you in our wedding.