Maurine Y. Starkey
Developer BIOEarly life for Maurine Yvonne Starkey was ‘stark’ indeed; an Army brat in family housing stationed Fort Richardson Army Base, Alaska. Not in love with ice and snow, she shared the dank and cracked cinderblock room under the basement stairs with the usual stacks of forgotten treasures in tired boxes, two weeks of Korean War C rations, and a once-bloody caribou head.
After being introduced to acrylic paint, no surface was safe. Even in this macabre setting, she painted scenes of flowers and circus tents rather than the darker fantasies some would have embraced. When it came time to move back to the lower 48, her father was fined for the happy circus mural brightening the ugly cinderblock basement. Maurine was blissfully unaware.
In Woodbridge, Virginia, she met Anton Benson. Anton was a fine sculptor and alumni of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Drawing was one thing, but to be taught how to think in 3d was a revelation to this young artist. It was through Benson’s instruction, and the camaraderie of other students, that her work began to thrive with its own life.
Eventually, Maurine Starkey (now known as Mo) became a paid professional artist in her early teens and an art instructor before she was twenty. Being a creative person, and desiring no other career, she was determined to make a living at her art while taking large stabs at a full college education.
Moving from the Washington DC area, to Florida, Los Angeles and then to Las Vegas, she worked at a number of jobs: from a builders’ supply yard administrator to two racetracks, Craig Road speedway, and the Las Vegas Speedrome. She even did a stint working construction sites during the big building boom of the early 80’s. But she continued creating and selling art or art instruction, including paste-up work for small papers and graphics for casinos. Mo was an active participant in Southern Nevada’s prestigious art shows—though not without some controversy when a judge from the University of Arizona chose to show her painting of a nude male with a camel’s head!
When she became a part-time art instructor for the community college in North Las Vegas, she gained higher scores for her work than full-time instructors with MFAs.
It was at this time she fell into the world of computers. Mo was contracted to do product graphics for a small software company in the Liberace Plaza. There she met Brett Sperry and Louis Castle, two young guys with a passion for computers and computer games. One look at their methods of generating animation and creating games, and her lifetime puzzle-solving side clicked with the challenging graphics. From the founding of Westwood Studios to present day Scrub Jay Studio, it’s been a twenty plus-year career in the computer game industry. In 2006, Mo was selected as one of a hundred most influential women in the game industry.
In 2007 Maurine is involved with casual games for the PC and mobile portions of her industry, entwined with teams of other artists and designers, guiding and mentoring them through the pitfalls that come with all projects.
For relaxation, she enjoys illustrating, painting, and creating the occasional graphic novel. “Artists never retire,” Maurine says with a soft smile. “They are always working. I can’t image myself not wanting that next project.”
Also Known As
- Maurine Starkey
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