Geoff and I met in September of 1982, at the Experimental Animation (a.k.a. Film Graphics) department of CalArts. Our friendship was forged immediately. Given his polite, easygoing and completely unpretentious nature, it was virtually impossible to find anyone who didn't like Geoff.
He had a way of making the work at hand seem easy, though creating a hand-drawn animated film is rarely if ever easy. Countless drawings flowed as naturally from his hand as a river from a mountain spring. He worked tirelessly (at least, it seemed so), but he also enjoyed occasional breaks to take advantage of Southern California's cornucopia of natural wonders— the ocean, the mountains, and the deserts.
One of our most memorable outings from that era was a visit to the tide pools of Newport Beach. Having grown up near the ocean, Geoff nurtured a love of its mysterious inhabitants and its infinite complexity (i.e., its fractal shorline.) Aquatic creatures populated several of his artworks. The tide pools were an apt reflection of his own, inner micro-cosmos; whether intentional or not, some of Geoff's mandala paintings reminded me of them.
After graduating from CalArts we visited when we had the opportunity, and when he visited my place he would almost always bring a stack of new artwork to show. He often had several pictures in progress; his pace rarely slowed.
On the philosophical side, Geoff would speak of a need to work on himself, to strive to be a better person. Some of our favorite books were those authored by Carlos Castaneda, and we compared notes on the elements that most inspired our lives. It mattered not whether the books were authentic anthropological accounts of a Yaqui Indian, what mattered to us was the content: the techniques of lucid dreaming, the mysteries of worlds within worlds that lay hidden from, and within, mundane reality. An important goal was to strive toward being an "impeccable warrior" as described by the author's mentor, Don Juan Matus. Geoff often manifested many of those ideals in his life.
When Geoff moved to Boise I was happy for him, though I missed our visits. I was delighted to hear about the variety of artistic opportunities his new environment presented, though he would occasionally speak of his frustration due to a perceived need to exercise self-censorship. He was concerned about possible public backlash for displaying his works containing nudity and erotic elements, in a city known for its religious and social conservatism.
During the final year of his life, it was heartbreaking to witness a great person being ravaged by cancer, the scourge of our time. Despite his pain and uncertainty, Geoff maintained great optimism and a positive attitude in the face of it. With each day since his passing, I realize more how good a friend he was, and the process of building this memorial tribute for his website has made me appreciate him all the more.
Geoff, I hope you'll consider this a fitting tribute to an impeccable warrior.