Interview: Jacob Needleman: Art & Philosophy, Oakland, CA 11/21/00 I visited Jacob Needleman at his home. We sat out on his deck in the sun and talked...      Richard Whittaker:  Not too long ago I heard Lobsang Rapgay, a psychologist and Tibetan Buddhist from Los Angeles speak. One thing he talked about was "a tremendous fatigue of thinking that prevents us from thinking aesthetically." He said this way of thinking makes it possible "to transform a numinous experience and share it"... To be shared, he said, "it has to be transformed in a way that someone else can understand and learn from." He said ... Sep 21, 2001, 17519 reads


Interview: James Melchert: Getting There Is Half the Fun December 1991 As part of his doctoral dissertation at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley CA, Svare conducted interviews with several prominent Bay Area artists. The question of "self-indulgence" had come up in a discussion of particular American cultural and religious views which are practical in nature and value social service, but which regard art-making with suspicion as a self-indulgent activity. James Melchert:  There’s something I've thought about that's tied in a little bit with what you're saying. It stems from a visit I made to ... Jan 12, 2018, 6296 reads


A Conversation with Ann Weber: Enough, Not Enough Sometime not so long after this magazine had been launched, I remember a conversation I had with Ann Weber. I knew her work, but if we’d actually met, the word acquaintance would suffice. The conversation began well, and quickly became quite friendly. In recollection, I was surprised by its warmth and can remember feeling emboldened. Before long a proposal was put forth—by whom, I don’t recall, but I suspect it was Ann. “Why don’t we begin a series of dinners with artists? We’d each invite two or three artists. It could be at my studio and I’d do ... Oct 15, 2017, 1950 reads


Interview with Painter Michael Beck: by Razi Mizrahi Sunday In The Park, oil on canvas Sometimes life gives us with a chance to reconnect with a harmony once heard as a child and, as an adult, explore variations that the mature self can hear and appreciate. Reconnecting with Oakland (CA) painter Michael Beck, a long-time family friend, has been just such an experience for me.      Michael was a teacher at my mother’s preschool more than four decades ago, when I was a child. Over the years, I enjoyed glimpses of Beck’s work as his career and vision developed through reports from family and friends, ... Nov 30, -1, 52343 reads


Interview: Enrique Martinez Celaya: Self & Beyond Self It was several years ago when I first heard of the artist Enrique Martínez Celaya. John Evans, founder of Diesel Books and a poet as well, suggested I’d find him worth looking up. Two years were to pass before we met. I’d learned that Martínez Celaya was teaching at Pomona College and, one afternoon, on a visit to Claremont, I decided to look for him. I got lucky and arrived at his classroom just as his students were leaving; the timing was perfect.      To my surprise, Martínez Celaya was already familiar with works & conversations. We ... May 2, 2003, 21607 reads


Portfolio: William Fuller III: Richard Whittaker The work of William Fuller III came to my attention by chance, as seems to happen with so many good things. My wife and I were passing through Trona, California, when she spotted a hand-painted sign. "Hey," she said, "I think there's some art over there." I’ve learned not to expect much in my travels whenever I run across an art moment, whether it’s at a gallery or private studio. At the same time, I’m always ready to be surprised. And coming across Fuller’s work in Trona did surprise me—no disrepect meant to Trona. The place is a ... Dec 1, 2007, 3638 reads


Livia Stein: A Visit To India: For over thirty years India has held a strong attraction for Stein. [As an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, she completed a degree in Indian History.] “I always feel more alive there,” she told me.      We talked at Stein’s Oakland studio surrounded by her recent work, large canvases and prints inspired by her most recent visit—her fourth—to India earlier this year, where she spent three weeks as a visiting artist at M.S. University in Baroda, Gujarat.   Richard Whittaker: I’m interested in your Gandhi series. What attracted you ... Dec 1, 2007, 3982 reads


Conversation with Jim Barton: A Certain Mathematics I turned off the street onto a dirt road and down a sharp embankment to wooded bottomland. Alongside the road I began to see carved statuary: buddhas, cranes and tree trunks encircled with carved salmon heading skyward. I knew I'd arrived at Jim Barton's property. Up ahead I caught sight of a large structure, actually a tent with open sides, Barton's work area. It was filled with carvings in various states of finish: statuary, wood screens, table tops, carved doors, special projects, commissions and miscellaneous other pieces along with massive slabs of redwood that Barton ... Nov 25, 2008, 18777 reads


Grandmother Gypsy: The webby neon sign in the store-front window read, "Psychic Readings $5" and below that, "Advice on All Matters by Madam Laura." Checking my finances I find seven fifty and a half-pack of cigarettes. Taking my cue from the "Open" sign, I go inside and am announced by the jingling of a little bouncing bell, which the door strikes as I enter.      No one is present, but the room is inviting, if a bit shabby. There's a Louis XV style fauteil chair that had seen better days, a round table complete with crystal ball and cards, a small leather ... Oct 5, 2009, 12714 reads


Nipun Mehta: A Journey to Service: [An edited version of this interview first appeared in Parabola Magazine -- in volume 34 number 4, Winter 2009, "The Way Ahead"]   Nipun Mehta was born in Ahmedabad, India in 1975. When he was twelve, his family moved to Santa Clara, California in the heart of Silicon Valley.      I met Mehta in 2007.  Having heard several amazing stories about him from Paul Van Slambrouck, retired editor of the Christian Science Monitor, I asked for an introduction. The three of us met one afternoon at a taqueria in Berkeley. In no time I felt a close connection with ... Jun 9, 2009, 68627 reads


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 716126 views

The Dumpster      “We can’t use these. They look like ... Read More 138938 views

Cotton and Silk Vorbeck quilt, detail I’m working on the last panel of a pair of ... Read More 7028 views

Remember to Remember - Nicholas Hlobeczy I had the pleasure of getting to know the late Nicholas Hlobeczy over a ... Read More 88678 views

A Conversation with Silas Hagerty I met Silas, a young man in his twenties from New England, at a ... Read More 57526 views


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 716126 views

Interview with Bill Douglass—Jimbo's Bop City and Other Tales At the time I'd first gotten to know the widely respected jazz musician Bill ... Read More 360563 views

Greeting the Light It was thanks to artist Walter Gabrielson that I was able to get in touch with ... Read More 291649 views

Interview: Gail Needleman Gail Needleman teaches music at Holy Names University in Oakland, California. ... Read More 184857 views

Interview: Stephen De Staebler John Toki encouraged me to interview his old friend and mentor, sculptor Stephen ... Read More 149448 views