A presence, but someone who made you feel comfortable and never less-than; a man who regularly brought his son along to conferences, sharing his world. This is what I think of when I remember Hillman Curtis.
Hillman passed away last week, surrounded by his family, succumbing to a hard-fought battle with cancer. He was only 51, and leaves behind a wife and two children. He also leaves behind a generation of “new media” designers like myself who found inspiration and guidance in his work.
In the mid 2000’s, my friend and I read his books voraciously, guiding our web consultancy using the principles he outlined in MTIV… and watched with curiosity and awe as he reinvented himself, leaving the Flash world — where he was a rockstar — to make beautiful and evocative films. I was thrilled, and humbled, as I began speaking at conferences where he was also speaking. I got to know him as a kind, gifted person and really cool guy. Someone you just feel energized and inspired having spent time with.
Hillman was above it all. And I don’t mean he acted superior; he was just someone who got it. He wasn’t entangled in technology or platform wars, he focused on the act of creation, on doing what he loved. Everything else followed.
Thank you, Hillman, for being yourself, and sharing your genius with all of us. And thank you for reminding me to do what I love, and just leave the rest behind.