A film in production by John Korty

Arthur Okamura was a longtime resident and active citizen of the Bolinas Nation. He was also a good gardener, a great family man, an impish trickster and an internationally-known artist. Ignoring fashion and commerciality, he moved from large oils, to small bronzes to paper-mache fish to serene water-color landscapes.

He also managed to have time for a lot of friends, playing ping-pong with them, improvising jazz or just hanging out. He died in his own way, walking his dog and lying down by the side of the road in 2009. Born in Long Beach in 1932 and relocated to an internment camp with his family in 1942, he survived to attend the Art Institute of Chicago and Yale School of Art. He also taught at the California College of the Arts for 30 years and through private classes in Bolinas.

Arthur was one of the first people I met in 1963 when I moved to West Marin. That was the start of a 47 year friendship. Overcoming his modesty, I put him in two of my films, FUNNYMAN and FAREWELL TO MANZANAR and his pastel artwork in THE PEOPLE.

For the film I want to make, there is a great quantity of artwork to draw from and a network of people to interview. Various short videos also exist and sections of them show Arthur at work and in discussion.

The video should also include professional assessments of his career. Art critics, gallery owners and other artists can contribute to the total picture. In the DVD, the bonus features can preserve more artwork and longer interviews that may not fit in the basic video. A small brochure may also be designed to go with each DVD.

Arthur spent little time on self-promotion and as a result, he is not as well known as he should be. The DVD will be distributed to museums around the country and international art magazines and galleries. It will also be marketed to art schools and colleges, sold by the Japanese-American National Museum and offered to the wider public. Distribution in Asia is also possible.

Tax deductible support can be made to Commonweal, the health and healing center he was active in, (specify Okamura Project) PO Box 316 / Bolinas, CA 94924. Suggested increments are $50, $100, $250, $500 and $1000 or more. Supporters at the two highest levels will be given screen credit. Funding will also be sought from foundations and other non-profits.

For more information, contact me at

For information on my past films, go to: