Monday, October 20, 2014

The Big Squeak Toy in North Beach

My wife and I used to spend weekends at flea markets, junk shops, and antique stores, anywhere interesting stuff was to be found.  We had our favorites like the Tail of The Yak in Berkeley and especially Aria's in North Beach.  The owner Bill Haskell has the same off beat aesthetic we have and a great eye.  He travels all over Europe to buy.   When he asked me to put one of my paintings in his shop he chose the Big Squeak Toy. The model was a 8" tall German toy I bought decades ago from Alice at Tail of The Yak.  It fits in with the paper maché bobble head bulldog, old prints, posters and other  craziness he offers.  Check it out when you are in the City, it's on Upper Grant a block or two above Union.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Berkeley Art Center Featured Artist - June 2014

"Richard Whitlock's oil paintings of toys are at once humorous and nostalgic, while empathetic in their almost human gaze - lovingly painted with accomplished realism.  His treatment of the subject, set in dreamy atmospheres lacking a background, lends a warmth that leads one to see these objects as entities, turning still lifes into portraits.  At the same time, one may find their set gazes unsettling. In an age where the ambiguity between object-hood and personhood are at an all time high, Whitlock reminds us of our time-honored affection for, and distrust of, facsimiles."

Amanda Kilmek
Program Coordinator
Big Big Boy    

Oil on canvas 36 x 48"

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Thank you Amanda Klimek

for your introduction of my work as Featured Artist on the Berkeley Art Center web site.  Your insights are helping to direct and inform my painting.  One of the reasons I show my work is to get thoughtful feedback like yoursIt motivates me to paint and challenges me to develop my ideas. 

Here is a link to the Berkeley Art Center web site.

 My show at Ohmega Salvage was in every way a success plus a good party!  Now I've got a clean studio and empty canvases ready for paint! 


Sunday, December 15, 2013

This is my new large Pinocchio painting.  
In this work I'm  questioning what figure painting in our century is and my belief that a portrait of a toy figure resonates with us as much or more than real people like the Queen of England and other rich & famous folk.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Moving Right Along -

I've been working on my still lifes trying to get enough paintings for a show.  The painting of "Billy & Minnie" sold to a graphic designer in San Francisco who also is a set designer so I know it has a good home.  My new series are like sets in a way.   In the theater the cast follows the action of the script and the story unfolds.  For a story I use images I find in newspapers, magazines and books.  My paintings echo the photographs but use toys to replace the people in the pictures.  I don't change the dolls and puppets to look's a still life... they are what  they are and the script changes from viewer to viewer.
Here is one of my paintings from last year that uses size and your expectations of what should be.  It's a 3 feet by 5 feet, oil on canvas of a 5 inch tall squeak toy.  The toy makes the tiniest of noises!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A new series of paintings

These guys were in a show along with 200 other pieces at the Berkeley Art Center that was reviewed by Kenneth Baker January 5th in the Chronicle.  His review "'Wonder'-small scale submissions provoke big curiosity" invited the reader to imagine the "onerous dilemma" of contemporary artists' in choosing a piece for the show. No dilemma here. I thought it was a strong painting that represented a new direction for my still life's..... and it was the right size!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


New Year and new work on the way!  My painting has been slowed by the world around me but I have a new confidence and the energy is back.  My still lifes have taken a back seat to the portrait & figure painting I do on Thursdays at Brian's studio.  I'm starting to get the paintings I want (they aren't good enough to show but I'm encouraged) so I'm back painting  Mickey, Minnie and all my characters again with renewed vigor.  Plus I have some Bosch action figures in the works.  I hope to keep updating this blog although I admit I'm not to good with computers.

Thank you,

Richard Whitlock