In Memory of Jack Bosson

In Memory of Jack Bosson

JackJohn E. "Jack" Bosson

September 18, 1937 - November 1, 2012

Beloved artist, instructor, animation professional, husband and father, was found dead of apparent natural causes in his Hollywood apartment on Saturday, November 3, 2012. He was 75 years old. Jack Bosson was born in Charleroi, PA; lived in St. Petersburg, FL, and served in the U.S. Navy. He received his Diploma of Design from The Cooper Union; and studied painting and drawing at L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris on a Fulbright Fellowship, receiving his Master of Fine Arts from Cornell University in 1966. In addition, he was awarded prestigious grants in drawing and painting by the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Bosson was a practicing and exhibiting fine artist, freelance illustrator, and educator for over 40 years.

Jack lived in New York City before moving to Los Angeles in 1987. A prolific painter, his work was exhibited internationally and included in the permanent collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Among his commissions, was a series of paintings for NASA. He was a founding member of the seminal 55 Mercer Gallery in New York, and was shown at Tortue Gallery in Los Angeles. Jack was employed briefly by Hanna Barbera as a background painter and was hired as a training manager in Feature Animation at Disney in 1995. In addition he taught drawing and painting at Cornell University, SUNY Albany, College of New Rochelle, University of Southern California, and Otis College of Art & Design. More recently he taught at Gnomon School of Visual Effects where he produced the popular lecture DVD series: "Drawing the Figure;" as well as Loyola Marymount, and Woodbury University where he founded and chaired their animation department for three years. Jack is survived by his wife Kristin Draudt, three sons, Matthew, Sam, and John Henry as well as his sister Barbara and brother Richard. Published in the Los Angeles Times on December 7, 2012.

Wildworks Remembers Jack
By Mollie Hogan

I met Jack Bosson many years ago through one of our Wildworks volunteers. She was taking his art classes in Santa Monica and brought him up to our Center in Topanga to see the animals. It was then he met Envy the mountain lion for the first time. She was still a youngster, just over a year old and, as this new stranger approached her enclosure to get a better look, she meowed and purred like a housecat. Jack was smitten. He wanted his students to draw her and soon we were hired to bring a mountain lion to an animal drawing class!!  That was the beginning of a long career for many of our wild, exotic and domestic Wildworks animal ambassadors.

Although Envy soon “outgrew” her place in the classroom, a smaller African serval cat replaced her as Jack’s favorite.  A Fennec fox, Foxy, Hootie the great-horned owl, a turkey vulture named Harry, Wildflower, a striped skunk and a red-tailed hawk called Tara all enjoyed a long career with Jack and his students.

jackOver the years Jack expanded his teachings and our “wildlife models” (shown right) traveled to several colleges including Loyola Marymount, Woodbury University and Gnoman’s School of Visual Arts in Hollywood. As the ultimate instructor, Jack acquired extensive knowledge about each individual animal. This always amazed me and, in later years, I would introduce myself and the animals briefly to the class and then turn it over to Jack for the facts. He could describe in detail the wing structure of each species of raptor and the hunting ability of the big-earred, long-legged serval. Once, he brought his students to Wildworks and, mesmerized by Moon the wolf, Jack spent the entire day moonsitting in front of the enclosure with his sketchbook. The next time I saw him he had volumes of wolf information to share. Jack Bosson was just so interested in everything!

Jack passed away suddenly of natural causes this past November one week before our animals were scheduled for his class.. Although I was shocked and saddened by the news,  I’m happy now to realize that Jack will live on in our memories and through all his wonderful drawings and those of his students.

He was an inspiration to all of us and I am honored to say that the students of Jack Bosson have collectively made a generous donation to the animals at The Nature of Wildworks in his memory. Samples of his student’s beautiful artwork are featured here.


Mesa the Coyote by Anwar Gant


Don the Dragon (Inspired by Harry the turkey vulture) by Anwar Gant


'For Jack' by Andrea Adams

Shortly before his passing, I had asked Jack if he would write a testimonial for the Wildworks website. He sat down and on the same day of the request sent me these beautiful thoughts:

Jack & Dancer"My name is Jack Bosson. I am an artist and currently an instructor of various drawing classes at The Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood, California.  Among the different classes offered in the Foundation Program at Gnomon, Animal Drawing has been one of my favorites.  This is in no small part due to my collaboration with Mollie Hogan.  Our collaborative relationship has extended over a period of thirteen years at least.  We have worked together at various institutions, including Santa Monica College, Woodbury University, Loyola-Marymount University and, of course, Gnomon.  At Gnomon, as at all the other schools, Animal Drawing is the class all the students look forward to taking.  There is a kind of magic about it.

Mollie not only performs as a handler and transporter of her exquisite charges, she is, in her own right, an inspired and inspiring teacher.  Her knowledge of her animals and wild animals in general is astonishing.  But what impresses me even more is her warmth and passionate, caring love for each and every one of her animals.  Her compound, which I have visited, is a sanctuary, for creatures who have come to her as refugees, in many cases from homes where they have been kept as pets by people who didn't understand how to properly care for them.  Often people will bring her young, abandoned, sometimes injured animals and Mollie, along with her staff and veterinarians, will see to their hurts and bring them back to health and provide a home for them.  When she visits us, she communicates this love and this urgent sense of concern for the plight of all wild things in this ever shrinking environment that they must live in.   Mollie never preaches, or forces her opinions on people.  That's not her way.  She teaches by quietly informing you, telling you a story, giving you information as you need it or request it.

Class with raptorsI have been a teacher off and on for over forty years.  I think I know a great teacher when I meet one.  Mollie is a great teacher because she is a great human being.  Her mission, to care for and bring to our attention the fragility and beauty of wildlife around us, not only informs us of our responsibility to our fellow animals, it forces us to confront our own fragile humanity.

I look forward to working with Mollie Hogan for many years to come."

Jack Bosson

Instructor, Gnomon School of Visual Effects

Professor Emeritus, Woodbury University

Former trainer, Artist Development, Disney Feature Animation

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