Monthly Archives: December 2010

In Memoriam: Alan Nathan Yost (1972-2010)

Darkness visible
An artist and dear friend lost
Shining in memory

Alan was the kind of guy who could simultaneously drink a cold Miller, discuss the merits of Helvetica as a typeface, and rant about dreams of rabid space monkeys overtaking Walnut Creek in an orgy of inter-species uprising. And have it all make some kind of crazy sense. As a result, you can see why trying to capture this complex, multi-faceted, brilliant, and creative spirit is ultimately a doomed venture.

With that as a given, I’m going to try anyway…

I met Alan more than 10 years ago while working at Sapient, along with about 600 other insanely talented and creative people in San Francisco. He shared an office with two other graphic designers with whom I had worked on projects. I’d drop into their office from time to time, check in on project work, shoot the proverbial shit, talk trash about our clients, look at their latest design inspirations, and then trek back upstairs to my den of technology. Alan and I would talk and joke (me the former, he the latter), and over the course of time, we built up a bit of a rapport.

At the very least, during those initial months, I developed a huge respect for Alan. I realized pretty quickly that in the glint of his eye, the tip of his little toe, the curl of a nasty hangnail, Alan had more creativity and skill as an artist than most people I had known. Certainly more than I would ever achieve. It was an ocean of creative energy, and anyone who spent time with Alan felt the crash of those waves and smelled the salty, yet quiet, spirit behind them.

In an odd way, Alan was a man of few words and yet a soul with many. I suspect that most people who didn’t know him would characterize him as quiet and gentle. He was both of those things, in spades. At the same time, Alan could hold forth at length about any variety of things, familiar to him and otherwise. He had a gift of gab that could make most feel comfortable, even if you weren’t exactly sure about the results of his Calculus. It made sense or it didn’t matter. It was simply a joy to be in Alan’s presence.

I will remember a lot of small, unusual things about Alan, which seems somehow fitting. He touched and transformed my life in many small, yet meaningful, ways. He was a collection of beautiful and inexplicable traits, the whole greater than the sum.

Most of you will never know him. The world is worse as a result….

You will live on in my memory Alan. I will always remember you, and always miss you, as will all of those who counted you as friend, lover, father, human. Rest in peace.