Interview: Edith Hillinger: Building a Life in Art June 2006 When I first met Edith Hillinger several years ago, I was quickly charmed by her openness, intelligence, humor and her quiet, but obvious, inner balance. Born in Germany, her family fled the Nazis and made their way to Istanbul where her father, an architect, found work with Bruno Taut who also had fled Germany. Hillinger grew up in Istanbul and later, at the age of sixteen, immigrated with her mother to New York City.       Besides having been an architectural project manager for UCSF, Hillinger taught both at the School of Visual Arts in New York ... Jun 24, 2006, 23094 reads


Art and Ethics: Phil Chan I met Phil Chan by accident in 1995, give or take. I'd gone into a small restaurant in Alameda, CA, where I spotted Gale Wagner —one of the founders in the early 1980s of the Pacific Rim Sculptors group. He invited me over to join him and his friend, whom I hadn't met, Phil Chan. Chan was passing through town. I could have made nice and been none the wiser, but instead, I sat down and started asking questions. Soon I was intrigued.      Chan was working on an ongoing series he called Fallen Angels. What did he mean by that, I asked? Thus ... Sep 14, 2001, 30250 reads


Cevan Forristt: On Gardens and Taking Chances Photo: R. Whittaker In a San Jose neighborhood of single-story cottages and bungalows one may encounter the anomaly of a dense stand of forty-foot high timber bamboo reminiscent of Southeast Asia. The stand effectively obscures any view into the lot which lies hidden behind it. The bamboo and a berm of earth hide the forward garden wall of massive granite blocks of various sizes and finish behind which lies one of the most amazing private gardens one could hope to find.      Cevan Forristt’s garden is not open to the public, but not unsurprisingly it's ... Mar 2, 2000, 18518 reads


The Meaning of Proportion: Terrance Galvin Photo: R. Whittaker I met Terrance Galvin at Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown’s symposium, The Oakland Table, in September 2000. The topic of the first symposium was "space versus place" and addressed questions about the distinction between a sense of place and the merely abstract idea of space. Specifically, how did this distinction play out in urban planning? The two result in very different urbanscapes.      During 1988, Galvin lived and worked in Villa El Salvador, a low-income residential district on the southern outskirts of Lima, a ... Sep 18, 2004, 77026 reads


Interview with Sa√Źd Nuseibeh: The Bond of Mystical Beauty One afternoon I got a call from DeWitt Cheng - there was some interesting work at the Scott Nichols Gallery—photography by Saïd Nuseibeh. A few days later I went over to see for myself. DeWitt was right. Nichols was there and I asked him how to contact the photographer. He picked up a phone, dialed a number and handed me the receiver. A week later I found myself standing outside Nuseibeh’s front door high in the inner Sunset District of San Francisco. It was foggy and there was a chill in the air. We'd already met a couple of days earlier ... Aug 1, 2005, 54886 reads


Interview: Carl Worth: Birth of an Art Center, May 19, 2007 In 2007 the Berkeley Art Center celebrated its 40th year. Amazingly, soon after it opened its doors in 1967, the place became one of the most exciting and popular art venues in the San Francisco Bay Area. For the keynote of that evening's program, founding director, Carl Worth, talked with me about those years of creative energy and high spirits. - Richard Whittaker.   Director Jill Jimenez:  Hello, everyone. This is one the events I was most looking forward to here at our 40th Anniversary Celebration. Richard Whittaker has been doing our Berkeley ... Sep 28, 2007, 25626 reads


Two Jewelers of New Mexico: Interview: Rod & Andree Moen, Jemez Springs, New Mexico Last August my wife and I were in Jemez Springs, about an hour west of Santa Fe, for a family get-together. After a few days of family catching up, I started exploring the local scene with the intention of striking up a few conversations with locals. I’ve seen over and over how, with just a few questions and an attitude of sincere listening, amazing worlds can open up. The interview here is the result of going against the uneasiness of striking up conversation with strangers.   It wasn’t more than five minutes after walking into the little gallery, Shangri ... Mar 6, 2008, 36821 reads


Kilo Charles Six VHU: I received my first Amateur Radio licenses in January of 1991 at the age of 49. As a kid in the mid-west I had a radio shack in the wash house, an outbuilding where the women folk did laundry; it was filled with old Atwater-Kents, Philcos, Crosleys and whatever else I found in the junk yards. I'd go there at night and sneak cigarettes. I could bring in WSN in Nashville, Tennessee, XERF Del Rio, Texas and other far off stations. I could bring in some DX (foreign stations) on 41 meters and some hams on 40. The aerial was a run of wire I thumb-tacked to the peak of the house ... May 18, 2008, 19015 reads


Conversation with Ruth Braunstein: A San Francisco Doyen Aug. 5 2004  San Francisco I met with Ruth Braunstein at her house in San Francisco. Before taping a conversation I was treated to a tour of Ruth’s extensive art collection accumulated over forty plus years. She is perhaps the senior art dealer in San Francisco. Braunstein/Quay Gallery was founded in Tiburon in 1961 and by 1965 the gallery had moved to San Francisco where it has been ever since. Although Ruth represents artists working in all mediums, she has always had a very strong base with ceramic artists and represents the late Pete Voulkos as well as Robert Brady and ... Jan 20, 2005, 19982 reads


Interview: Ed Johnson: Beauty and Science Jemez Springs, NM —Aug. 13, 2007 The opportunity to interview Ed Johnson, a renowned molecular biologist, appeared almost by chance on the occasion of a family get together. To my delight, thanks to an invitation from my brother, John, Ed was there with his wife Becky. Ed and John go back over forty years to their Pomona College days. Both are passionate fly fishermen, and the friendship between fly fishermen is something like a family link.      I knew Ed had been Nobel Laureate, Paul Greengard’s, first graduate student at Yale and had ... Jul 10, 2008, 25192 reads


Live/Work/Play: Interview: Kevin Nierman (Berkeley, CA 2002) John Toki first introduced me to Kevin Nierman. Some twenty years ago, Nierman founded a program for teaching children how to work with clay as a creative medium. He called his program Kids n Clay. As usual with friends whose work John admires, he was enthusiastic about Kevin. And it was John who introduced me to Nancy Selvin, also, another friend and fellow clay artist he admires. Nothing impresses John more than the spirit of generosity and especially when it's combined with creativity. And so, when visiting Selvin not long ago, I discovered she'd interviewed Nierman, I thought that ... Nov 25, 2008, 7032 reads


To All Artists, Known and Unknown : I remember seeing a threadbare individual sitting in the cafe of the San Francisco Art Institute in 1992. He was very different from the rest of the students and staff personnel. He was old; old in hard years, not with the mellow patina of the well ensconced. He was in the cafe every day I came in, always sitting alone, always smoking and nursing a cup of coffee. Most striking in his appearance was the discrepancy between his physical, and what seemed to be his psychic, circumstances. He was worn, his physical being was worn, his clothes were fragile, almost brittle, garments different ... , 31625 reads


Night Shift: It had been a long, hot August day. We'd driven over six hundred miles and it was nearing 11 pm as we entered Kingman, Arizona. We pulled off and picked a motel. Much to my surprise, it being mid-week, the deskman informed me they were full. Next place, same story. This time, I asked the clerk for suggestions.      "Try the Hampton Inn."       At the Hampton we were greeted with, "We're booked. Sorry."      "What's going on?" I asked. "Is there some kind of convention in ... Oct 5, 2009, 22555 reads


A Miracle Cure: Interview with Richard Lueker, M.D. I met cardiologist Richard Lueker at Karma Kitchen one Sunday afternoon in Berkeley where he was doing service as a volunteer waiter. The moment I'd stepped into the restaurant, that day's volunteer maitre d', Viral Mehta, said, "It's great that you showed up today. We were going to call you because there's someone here we want you to meet. Be sure to ask him about his story."       I looked around the restaurant—always lively on the Sunday afternoons it's taken over by Karma Kitchen volunteers—and spotted ... Dec 25, 2009, 124809 reads


Why Write?: Mud Pie The feel and look of mud pies in the summer, in Colorado. Cool and wet, thick, with the sweet smell of damp clay I'd later experience as a novice potter. Sitting on the ground in shorts and sleeveless shirt, maybe five years old. Pure happiness, because these wet pies were perfect for the hands to form. You had to make sure there were no dry spots. And made well, they looked exactly like thick, shiny, irresistible chocolate. They had to be not too thin or too thick--about 3/4 inch thick was just right. They could be enjoyed and imagined about only as long as they ... Oct 3, 2010, 17211 reads


Music Outside the Music Box: Interview: Cheryl Leonard by Mary Stein, SF, October 15, 2010 photo - r. whittaker I first met Cheryl Leonard more than ten years ago when she joined the martial arts dojo I belonged to and began practicing aikido with us there.  She caught on to aikido quickly, and I soon learned that she was already an experienced rock climber, often leading weekend expeditions into the mountains.  A little later I learned that she was a musician and composer with an unusual interest in making music with pine cones, feathers, sea shells, bones or any other of the myriad objects she found on her excursions into nature. Since then ... Feb 23, 2011, 35486 reads


Interview with Paul Reynard: Beyond Beauty I remember the first time I saw Paul Reynard's art. It was sometime in the late 1970s and I had not known that side of him in any direct way. Our personal friendship had developed mainly around our interest in the ideas of the spiritual teacher, G. I. Gurdjieff, and around our beginning efforts to offer public workshops dealing with art, philosophy and everyday life. Certainly it did strike me as unusual that he spoke so little and in such abstract terms about his own actual work as a painter.       My own experience with serious artists - and ... Oct 10, 2011, 29372 reads


Transcendental Vision in Sand City:   "This an exhibit you might be interested in" the email read - Transcendental Vision. And there was something else I noticed, too. The exhibit would take place in Sand City.      Sand City?      As I paused to take all this in, the metaphorical possibilities were irresistible. Memories of “Ozymandias” peeked out of the shadows. "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair! - round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare the lone and level sands stretch far away.” And another memory came up, ... May 11, 2012, 20780 reads


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