690. Bill Witherspoon

Bill Witherspoon is a life-long visual artist, serial entrepreneur, and lover of sky. In his six decades, living on and off in the High Steppe desert in southeastern Oregon, he has painted watercolor skies, practiced ancient art as spiritual discipline, and weathered that pristine geological expanse.

As an artist, over the last four decades, Bill has mounted 40 one-man exhibitions of paintings, prints, and sculptures (1968 – 2020), in addition to desert public art projects. He is also the founder and Creative Director of The Sky Factory, a fine arts, digital technology, and cognitive science studio that designs and manufactures the world’s only research-verified virtual skylights—Luminous SkyCeilings and Luminous Virtual Windows.

His first book, Enter Space—Stories from the High Desert, lays witness to a life surrounded by that rare, unsummoned vastness; one that those of us steeped in the ceaseless churn of urban life can now imagine living through the faithful record of the artist’s experience.

Book: Enter Space: Stories from the High Desert

Transcript and Summary of this interview

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group

Interview recorded September 3, 2023.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

YouTube Video Chapters:
00:00:00 – Introduction and Background of Bill Witherspoon
00:04:49 – A Life of Adventure and Silence
00:09:25 – Being Swept Away by the Waterfall
00:12:52 – A Life-Threatening Water Rescue
00:16:34 – The Near-Drowning Experience That Changed My Life
00:21:02 – The Transcendent Experience of Meditation
00:24:35 – Climbing the Radio Tower and Facing Danger at Sea
00:29:01 – Seeing More Deeply
00:32:33 – Healing the Eye of the Heart
00:36:42 – The Burning Shell
00:40:15 – Learning and Growth through Perseverance
00:43:50 – The Sri Yantra: An Instance of a Law of Nature
00:48:10 – The Bindu
00:52:38 – The New Kind of Seeing
00:57:00 – The Essence of Memory and Love
01:01:06 – A Slideshow of Photographic Events in the Wilderness
01:05:39 – Living in Harmony with Rattlesnakes
01:08:46 – Witnessing Violence and the Impact
01:12:55 – Encounters with Rattlesnakes
01:16:22 – The Strange Book and its Contents
01:20:36 – The Presence of Divine Intelligence
01:24:30 – Accessing Deeper Levels of Consciousness through Meditation
01:32:35 – The Horrors of Being on Death Row
01:35:35 – The Influence of Human Presence
01:40:37 – “Goodbye,” when we went looking for wild horses
01:44:58 – Reflections on an Interesting Life
01:49:33 – Going Deeper in Consciousness
01:53:02 – Building a Beautiful Corporation
01:56:56 – The Skill of Self-Reflection
02:00:18 – Gratitude and Farewell