Artists Pay Tribute to Spongebob Creator Stephen Hillenburg

For a generation that grew up with the perpetual presence of a yellow sponge and pink starfish on the television screen, the news of Stephen Hillenburg passing was felt like a significant loss. It is difficult to even imagine the number of ways that a character as popular as Spongebob Squarepants has come into our lives.

We’ve gained a lot from a small sponge. From little life lessons on friendship and imagination to celebrating values like optimism and passion, the impact has been monumental. For some, he’s given even more. 

A vast number of today’s artists and animators probably would not be where they are without Stephen Hillenburg. He inspired them to dream and to reach for a legacy just as striking as his. To them, this warranted a little more than a fleeting moment of sadness.

Creatives all around the world chose to pay tribute to Hillenburg by continuing to breathe life into his creations. We’ve compiled some of their works to celebrate the simple joy Hillenburg was able to bring into all our lives: 

@LemymLyme‘s witty reference to Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen (he was number one) reminds us of how iconic Hillenburg truly was.

@georgemager expresses gratitude for “making my childhood brighter”, a feeling I think we can all relate with.

These nostalgic works from @toriisu@phonemova, and @cerealkidman evoke a bittersweet sentiment.

@_itsjackielee follows up her post by saying “I think I speak for a lot of animators when I say we all aspire to create something just as remarkable.”

But the core message of most, as @hamtarto, @gothmeatloaf, and @potajos express, is something we have to come to terms with: good bye 

And @baylee_jae sums everything up with two simple words.

There’s a story from each one of you out there on a time a cartoon sponge has gotten you to laugh, or cry, and helped you grow up in the process. What’s yours?


Related Stories